I’m probably in the minority of people who didn’t love this book because it has a lot of high ratings but for me – it didn’t blow me away. I liked it for the most part but the first 60% or so was not fun for me, it dragged and it was boring – yeah, I get the whole world building part and the setting up of the relationships etc but it moved so slowly and like an historical book instead of a fantasy and the last 40% is the only reason I’m giving this 3.5*s and not 2.5.
I liked the premise of the book, I like the idea that a whole nation of people were conquered and forced into slavery because you know that you are going to get an uprising and that is what kept me reading. I found that for all Kestrel was seen to have a privileged life, she too was sort of oppressed with her choices of who or what she could be – military career or marriage aren’t very good choices. She came across as very aloof and spoiled but we could also see that she had a sympathetic side too. I liked the way she and Arin connected, it wasn’t a love at first sight thing but she felt some sort of pull to him which spurred her on to buy him and as the story progresses they draw ever closer but neither will admit what they feel because they are enemies. When Arin’s secret is revealed I would have thought that Kestrel could have seen his intentions for what they were and what he tries to do for her but again, she is indoctrinated to think and behave in a certain way.
As I said, I liked the premise and that it was screaming that an uprising was on the cards but it was a long time coming. Saying that, I didn’t mind the getting there, I just wish it had been more exciting and less of a slow build. The way they lived was very militant and was all about how they had conquered and enslaved these people, it was sad to read about the people enslaved in their own former homes and made to obey the people who took everything from them – of course you are going to get rebellion, I’m surprised they waited so long. Once that rebellion kicks off then the story became a lot more interesting to me, I liked how it came about, I liked the battles, the strategy that was used and ultimately what conclusion it came to. I loved that Kestrel finally came through for the greater good and I could feel that change in her and I’m curious as to what will happen next. I only wished the pacing and action had been more consistent throughout the book to keep me interested from the start, I understand the build up but it has to grip me and at times this felt like a chore to read but hopefully now all that ‘getting to know you and your world’ is out of the way we will get more of the good stuff in the sequel.