This book is right up my lane. New worlds, characters with engrossing intros, strong female lead…it has all the ingredients for a blockbuster fantasy read. However, it falls short by just about 2 inches.
This is the story of a world which is ruled by kings who are concerned too much about their power struggles and too little about the struggles of their subjects. In such a scenario, we are introduced to the rising rebellion from the inner islands (of the 1001 islands) and the attempt made by those in power to infiltrate it. But, the most carefully laid plans can be toppled when faced with the question of freedom vs security; love vs loyalty; and the excitement of new ideas vs the comfort of old rules. A host of characters color this story with their individual hues of personality and the result comes together like as the 1001 Islands.
What I liked about it?
Snappy beginning that draws you in from page one; it is a single sitting- read that holds your attention and the story just flows right through with time. Main characters are vividly painted and their personalities are described in not just words, but also in action. Most importantly, the world is amazing, well-planned, well-built and with so much potential that can still be tapped.
Speaking of potential to be tapped, I really hope she writes a sequel. Because, not only is the writing style easily enjoyable and very natural, but, as I mentioned before, that world and those characters (Nala, Lina, the elementals) have so much rawness to them that they deserve a second story. A lot of things (like Amarel’s story) felt unsaid and overlooked in this book and I would very much like to see the author expand on them. However, all this excitement aside, my biggest issue with the book is its ending. Such an incredibly rushed ending! Abrupt and kind of anticlimactic, I didn’t realise the story had ended until I turned the page and found no more story to read!
Another thing I didn’t like was how the romance between the mains kind of detracted from the fantasy element. It, to me, felt unsurprising, but incongruous. In spite of the secondary romance being happily cliché and making for quite a guilty pleasure, having two romances in a book with so much material felt like overkill.
BOTTOMLINE: Read it! This book is a breath of fresh air in the current scenario where the fantasy genre is overrun with vampires and werewolves and love triangles. This might just turn out to be that long-awaited original work of magic that you’ve been saving a space on your shelf for. It’s a well-written book and I’m looking forward to more from Ms. Munson.