Author: Emily A. Duncan
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Something Dark and Holy #1
”A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.Goodreads Synopsis
A prince in danger must decide who to trust.
A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.
Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.
In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light.”
For centuries a holy war has raged between the two countries Kalyazin and Tranavia.
Kalyazin is a country who’s people is devoted to their gods, while Tranavia’s people broke from their gods to be free and develop their own blood magic. Kalyazin is currently loosing the war, but that might change because of a girl named Nadya, who has enough power to potentially end the war by herself.
This story is full of dark and twisted gray areas, both as a world and emotionally. And I, the sucker for a dark and gritty tale, lapped it all up in one go! I also liked that the romance was not actually the main focus of the book. It definitely there in an obvious way, but not chapter after chapter of gooey eyed blah story. It’s a slower burn that over time becomes more and more important, but never becomes overbearing.
And you should be warned, this story have the power to potentially break you hard.
The two countries Kalyazin and Tranavia each have their own distinct culture and feel, and the world is sooo beautifully crafted with some Russian inspirations. But what I can’t stop thinking about is how much I adore the magic system of Tranavia!! No surprises there really, since I do have a thing for blood magic in general. But I really loved how well thought out it was, how it worked and how ”wrong” and gory it could become if it was taken far enough. If I’m given something that’s well written and this dark and twisted, you can be sure of that I’ll be obsessed for months.
We get to follow two POVs of Nadya (powerful acolyte from Kalyazin) and Serefin (crown Prince Tranavia). And then there’s the third main-ish character Malachiasz, who does not have any POV chapters. Yeah.. That’s about it.. There are so many (fantastic, horrible, cute and bloody) things I want to word vomit about these people, but I’m not going to. Almost anything I have to say is a potential spoiler, and this book is too good to deserve that. But what I will say is that they are wonderful to follow trough this tale. They really are beautifully complex, and feel all to real and alive!
Even the supporting characters are fantastic! Everyone with their distinct personality and thoughts. And only one felt like he/she was put there as a road sign saying ”Go this way to complete the story”. But I do have a strong suspicion that there will be more to this person in the next book.
The pacing was a bit too fast to me. I enjoy a slower pace when there’s multiple POVs so I can really get into each characters minds and hearts. Of course that would also make the books longer, which I would not have been against at all. I had to rehydrate constantly because I was constantly drooling over this books aesthetic.
It has been a struggle to write anything about this book. It really has that je ne sais quoi, and I had to really sit down for weeks(!) to calm myself down to look at it objectively. Otherwise this whole review would have been these words; ”Wonderful, fantastic, mind-blowing, OMG!!! READ IT NOW!” The only fault I can see for me is the lack of a stronger emotional connection to the characters. But as I said, that’s just because of the multiple POV’s in this short amount of pages. I do like them, and their journey will stay with me.
And the aesthetic and magic system is something that will surely have me returning to this world time and time again. 4.5 stars! Let the countdown for Ruthless Gods begin!! But the wait will probably feel like an eternity..
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