In a sweeping fantasy that award-winning author Franny Billingsley called "fascinating and unique", debut author Kathy MacMillan weaves palace intrigue and epic world building to craft a tale for fans of Rae Carson and Megan Whalen Turner.
Raisa was just a child when she was sold into slavery in the kingdom of Qilara. Before she was taken away, her father had been adamant that she learn to read and write. But where she now lives, literacy is a capital offense for all but the nobility. The written language is closely protected, and only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn its very highest form. So when she is plucked from her menial labor and selected to replace the last tutor-in-training, who was executed, Raisa knows that betraying any hint of her past could mean death.
Keeping her secret guarded is hard enough, but the romance that's been blossoming between her and Prince Mati isn't helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance - an underground rebel army - to help liberate the city's slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries - one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.
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Hormonal Teenagers in the middle of a Slave Revolt
I haven't read the print version. Thus, I can't make a comparison. Though I did notice that some parts of the audiobook seem to interchange Linea and Lorea(?) who are different characters
Definitely when Raisa finally finds out the meaning of her Heart Verse. And when she manages to save people with it
I could have done without Raisa and Mati being hormonal teenagers. Or Raisa having to ponder constantly on her relationship with Mati. To be honest, I find the book a LOT more interesting when it has little to nothing to do with Mati. In other words, when the book focuses more on Raisa's stints with the Resistance and the book's mythology.
Readers/Listeners who don't care much about the heroine pining a lot about her beloved might have to bear with it in order to appreciate the book as a whole. Because I've noticed a lot of pining. And I feel that some readers/listeners would have issue with the romance as Raisa was very naive going into a relationship with Prince Mati, who is technically her owner and expected to marry some noble girl to bear the next heir.
This is not to say that Mati is the worst guy ever. Because he does do some redeeming actions. However, that back and forth of that relationship as well as Raisa thinking so much about Mati (and thus, focus being turned away from the Slave Resistance and the current political turmoil -ie the more interesting bits of the book) makes me even more unsympathetic of their love.
But personally, I think the book makes up for it by introducing that universe's mythology and how much it actually bears relevance to the things happening to Raisa's world. Unfortunately, I just had to go through Raisa's tale in order to finish the mythology (which I think is totally cool and awesome).
So in short, If you love an interesting mythology within the book's world but don't really like spending hours listening to the heroine angsting about how her love shouldn't be...you might have to think twice about this book. But in my opinion, it's worth going through it to get to the ending. Because I really love the ending, which to me was VERY Satisfying
- Natalie C