First Lines: Today, three girls would be doomed to die an honored, royal death.
I checked this book out from the library when I found it because, hello, fantasy AND death as the crux? Sign me up. (Yes…I’m aware of how that last part sounds.) I was already keeping my eye on this book before it even came out because I was excited for it.
Kammani’s life goal is to be as great a healer as her father is, even if he was cast out of the palace and forced to live in squalor after one mistake. With the ruler of Alu, her walled kingdom, on death’s doorstep, Kammani’s younger sister Nanaea is chosen to be a Sacred Maiden, a beautiful girl who will join the ruler in the after-world. Nanaea is proud to honor her family in such a way, but Kammani sees it for what it is–not an honor but a death sentence. Desperate to save Nanaea, Kammani comes up with a plan to heal the ruler. But the palace is a dangerous place and there are secrets some will kill to keep secret…
This did not quite live up to my expectations. The beginning was really slow for me. Well, the first three chapters were fine, but after that it felt like nothing happened for a really long time. And when they did happen, I immediately pegged what was happening when the characters couldn’t figure it out. So it was slow and predictable.
I felt in the story like really nothing got resolved. I know it’s part of a series, but it felt like all these big things we were waiting for seemed to be sort of glossed over at the end. They were mentioned and briefly solved, but it was anticlimactic.
The characters were fine, but they weren’t terribly exciting either. Our main character is supposed to be this smart, although young and somewhat inexperienced, healer, but she wasn’t as smart as I was hoping she’d be. I kept rolling my eyes at how she kept missing obvious signs. Or at least they were obvious to me.
I will say that there’s about a chapter or two near the end that was incredibly exciting and suspenseful and well written. I was kind of glad I’d hung on until then, but I was a little disappointed it had taken so long to get good. I had contemplated quitting the book on at least one occasion.
So this wasn’t what I was hoping it would be. It was a slog. There were parts I enjoyed, but there more parts that I just could not get into.