My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Oh wow, the quality of this book was unexpected but it blew me out of the water while reading. Michael Sullivan has proven that he is well-crafted writer who can manage writing the best intense fighting scenes that I have literally ever read in a long time. They took my breath away, and made me feel like I was standing right there in harm's way. I will definitely be rereading the climax scene of this book just to once again immerse myself in the world that he has built, just because it's out-of-this-world amazing.
This book was harder than I thought to be judged by the star system. For the first 30%, I felt like it deserved maybe a 2*, and I was ready to DNF it. Oh boy, am I so glad that I didn't or I would have missed this jewel. But then, once I decided to give it the dedicated time that it deserved, it absolutely captured my attention with the world-building which was densely created and the character relationships which just seemed so right. They are a group of misfits, outlaws, passionate individuals who have a common goal(s) that were shown throughout the book. And every time someone new was added onto their close "squad" my heart just leapt with the appreciation of the common thread that Sullivan skillfully weaves because each of these endearing characters.
“Success,” he continued, “is achieved most consistently through cruelty and deception. Determination of the spirit certainly helps, but faith in Ferrol is a currency as valuable as a pair of shoes two sizes too small.”
The most refreshing thing, was that this book took a twist that I didn't AND did see coming. It showed lessons like humanity and pride can get in the way of your better judgement and the way that you treat people. It showed us how some character craved power while others craved security, and for those reasons I would consider this book to have slight morality themes and issues that were underlying in it, of course with the way that Sullivan wrote it were very subtle though.
After reflecting, I realized that the reason that I related with this book so much was because it actively displayed the meaning of my one my all-time favorite quotes:
"Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about recreating yourself"
“Mystics were about as common as two-headed unicorns. The few who existed lived apart from the world of men, remaining untainted by influence and corruption. Having a wolf as her best friend demonstrated the sort of wisdom he appreciated.”
Suri really did seem like a two-headed unicorn, in the most enchanting way possible. She was probably the reason that I liked this book as much as I did, because once you get you know Suri, she becomes your favorite character who I cared for deeply and rooted for her on every step of the journey. She made the story colorful, she and Minna really just brightened Seph's life infinitely and it was absolutely heart-warming and also bone-chilling to see that. All the feels man.
All in all, if you push through the first bit, (which didn't personally hook me), this book is just a phenomenal start to this 6 book series. This is the first book that I've read by Sullivan-who has proved to be competent- and been introduced into the world of Elan, and this seemed like an excellent starting point.
*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
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