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Nile Greysik of Ashing isn't a typical princess. Nearly the last of her siblings in line to inherit the throne, she's been training since she was eight years old to be an officer in Ashing's respected naval fleet. Her dream is to be appointed to an Admiral position, and with her discipline and training she might someday achieve it. But a battle at sea causes Nile to lose her position and the respect of Ashing's allies.
Returning home, Nile's only solace is her twin brother Clay. Clay is Gifted, able to attract an element to him, but at a horrific cost to his mind. When Nile learns that her only value to her kingdom is as a brood mare, she decides it's time to find a cure for Clay. She enlists as a seaman on the warship Aurora.
THIS BOOK WAS BLOODY AMAZING!! I'm trying to write a review and the only coherent thought sloshing around in my head is how awesome this book was! It kept me so enthralled that I finished it in one marathon listening session. The plot was action packed and fascinating, but I think it was the author's writing style that had me hooked. Her pacing was perfect, and the elements of action, magic, character development, world building, and the little bit of romance were all there in perfect proportions.
Nile was a strong female lead who consistently stood up for those around her. She didn't achieve things too easily, each small victory was hard won and more worth it. She'd make a powerful role model for teens, and the misogyny shown by several of the characters (and the patriarchal countries) would make great talking points for teen readers. The magic system was interesting. Rather than a trope that could be used to get Nile out of bad situations, this magic took its toll on the user.
I absolutely loved Nile and Domenic's connection. It was so subtle it couldn't even really be called a romance. So many books rely on the female character's inner dialogue gushing about the male character's looks to build a semblance of romance with no true foundation. This book was different, Nile didn't dwell on Domenic's looks, and she didn't even think or wonder if she's attracted to him. That's just not how she's built. They had a connection built on mutual respect. It was really well written.
The narration was expertly done. Kaitlin Bellamy performed dramatically and with an animation in her voice that kept the action fresh. She performed different speaking voices for each character, as well as accents that were consistent for each country. It was a really impressive performance. I requested a copy of this audiobook, and I'm voluntarily leaving a review. I'm going to resist picking up the second book in the series now, and wait for it to come out on audio, because this narrator/author combo is worth the wait!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
I was all set to play a Critical Role and give this audiobook a lower rating due to the fact that this is the first audiobook for both the author and narrator, but was denied the opportunity by how well they both did. Alex Lidell did a great job. She told an incredible story that made me care about most of the characters and not just to main characters. She did an awesome job of making a runaway princess trope into a story about someone who clawed and scraped her way TO THE BOTTOM so she could fight her way back up. I didn't expect to be as moved by Nile's development. I think I'm going to have to get the prequel novella so I can learn more about her time on her first ship.
Alex Lidell also did a great job with the magic system she employed. So many times authors use it as a crutch and make the whole story about the magic. Alex used the magic the way a chef uses salt, in just the right proportion and at the proper time. She also did something that a lot of young authors forget. She made magic have a consequence. In fact, the consequences were arguably more important the story than the magic was. Incredibly well done!
As for Kaitlin Bellamy's performance, all I can say is WOW!!!! The story was very good, but she truly brought it to life. She had a cast of characters to deal with and somehow she was able to give each one a unique and (most importantly) consistent voice. There are narrators with much more experience that have a hard time with that feat. I can't wait to listen to the next audiobook she narrates. If Matt Mercer were to listen to her performance, I'm sure he'd ask Kaitlin, "How do you want to do this?" because she killed it!
If I had to give the book any criticism, I would say it felt like it was 3/4s of a story. The hook at the end of the book was unexpected and absolutely vital to the story, but it felt like the next part of the series should have been part of this one. But then again, I'm going to buy the next audiobook as soon as it comes out, so maybe Alex Lidell knows exactly what she's doing and I just need to not be critical. :-)
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
The story is fabulous, with a kickass heroine in Ash and a simply gorgeous world. Kaitlin's narration was excellent and easy to listen to. Highly recommended.
I listened to this as an audiobook, narrated by Kaitlin Bellamy, and she was an excellent narrator, really bringing the story to life. It's a great story, well-written, with characters that really help to drive the action, and full of drama. I really enjoyed the book, and would definitely recommend it to others who like fantasy books, or are just looking for something a bit different. And I'll definitely be reading or listening to the rest of the series as soon as I get the chance!
NB I received a complimentary copy of this book, but I always give an HONEST review based wholly on my own opinions