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Unlike the previous reviewers, I think that Hekat is appropriate for the culture, which is strangely consistent with early human cultures. The land of Mijak is cruel and harsh and utterly subservient to their deity. Hekat reminds me a great deal of Joan of Arc, though her temperament is more consistent with a badger... though perhaps slightly less pleasant. I can sort of picture their own culture, centuries later, trying to puzzle out whether she was a lunatic or a zealot... or perhaps both.
Hekat is the major character among a cast of primarily static characters that manage to produce a very dynamic history. She is never (in her mind) a slave, though she is sold as a slave in the beginning of this book. Her strong will finds her defying the expectations of all who surround her as she does what she believes that 'The god' wills of her, attending to no words other than those internal words she believes that she can hear and interpret.
'The god' is a rather barbaric and yet attentive god, that seems to offer great reward and punishment both self inflicted and manifested divinely among its people. This deity awards the 'god speakers' with the power to smite the wicked, which in turn is virtually everyone. This close relationship between the god and the people seems to have a variety of affects both on the culture and the people individually, ranging from a greater level of civility to outright insanity.
This book details a grand design of 'The god' for its' people, which uses our heroin to manipulate the powers of the land to make way for a new era. Though she seems to serve the plan zealously, she seems almost autistic and sets herself apart from all others, be they friend or foe.
This story is new and original. You will not be reading events that take place in every other fantasy that you have read or heard. I can see why people seem to love it or hate it :)
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
If you're looking for a safe, Tolkienesque fantasy world, this is not for you. If you like the clear fight between good and evil, this is not for you. If you like your characters to be perfect, with minor flaws that are easily overcome, this again isn't for you.
However, if you're bored with the all too frequent tropes of genre fantasy, enjoy a more gritty world, and are willing to feel uncomfortable, then this book is stellar. The reason I'm writing this is because I was going back through my library to see if there were any series with a new release, and noticed the 3 star review. This is wholly unfair. It's akin to hating an actor because they played such a brilliant villain, you can't help but hold a grudge.
While I was perusing my library, I often had to play excerpts to remember what the plot even was for many of the books (one as recent as only a couple month prior). Not this book. You will remember this book.
It's not safe, but it is brilliant. You will feel... something.
The performance is fantastic, and I can't think of a book that has lingered in my thoughts more than this one.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful