I enjoyed this book on multiple levels. First, it's a tale full of palace intrigue, good dialogue, sharp young characters that are coming to their own, and a smattering of daddy and mommy issues that really propels the drama forward. Seva, the main character, has a mysterious origin she's trying to find more about as the queen calls a Conclave of all the major factions and races in her realm. Her over-protective grandfather has kept her sheltered for most of her life after her mother's equally dubious death, concealing a lot of important information about who her father might be. See, Seva has wings, a characteristic of the race of "flyers" in the realm, even though her mother and grandfather are human. Naturally, she assumes her father must be a flyer, but once all the races gather for the Conclave, answers are illusive and Seva's origin becomes further obscured. Perhaps she's a chosen one meant to fulfill a prophecy, or perhaps not. In either case, as the Conclave plays out, there's an important intergenerational struggle between the young adults heirs of each faction and their older peers, often with diametrically opposed viewpoints.
It all explodes when the Queen unfurls her sinister reasons for calling the Conclave, nearly at the same time as Seva stumbles into powers that might be the key to it all. If it seems very vague in review, it's only because I'm trying to keep from spoiling a real page-turner with a lot of plot twists, character development, and a rich fictional universe. That brings me to the other level on which I enjoyed this book.
As a writer myself, I think Kyra Dune teaches a master class in world-building here. Any writer who writes fantasy should read this for how effortlessly she shows and not tells and puts together an intricate realm and mythology in so few pages, while also giving it breathing room to question and upend it's own "lore" pages later. I appreciated that her protagonist Seva is vulnerable but her arc is very much HER arc. She grows, not just in maturity but in power, and does so with a little help from the many new friends she gathers in the narrative. Ganamere, one of these new friends who emerges as somewhat of an Anti-Villain, is a character I continuously think about. Introduced as a torturer with mommy issues, Ganamere grows from there to someone with conflicted loyalty. He does terrible things and great things, and somehow it all seems within the confused core of a young man who doesn't seem sure about what he wants to be. Someone who feels conflicted and guilty about his past and future.
Any lover of fantasy, YA or otherwise, would love this book and should pick it up.
I was blown away by this beautifully crafted story! Kyra Dune is definitely an author I will be reading more from.
I was sucked right in from page one and didn't let up even at the end. I am highly anticipating the next book! Each of the characters were unique and interesting. My favorite characters were Valdor and Seva.
Kyra created an unique world of different and original creatures.
There was action, mystery, drama, magic, power and romance mixed into one epic journey.
If you enjoy YA fantasy you'll love this story.
Kyra Dune has created a vivid, credible world populated with a variety of different races. These include flyers, blood witches, humans and the Gari-Za, each with different needs and vices, their coexistence filled with tension. When the queen calls for a conclave, something that hasn’t been held for decades, all are suspicious as then tenuous peace between them hangs by a thread. The imagery and character development are strong, the suspense gripping as various hidden agendas and legends come to light. The main character, Seva, is endearing and you relate to her reticence easily as she is plunged into the middle of it all when she already has enough issues of her own. It’s best to plan to read this book in one sitting and have its sequel handy because by the time you reach the cliffhanger ending you have more questions than answers.