This book. This fuckin’ book. I knew it was gonna be good and I’m in love with the cover. Look at the cover. Love it. Anyways, my thoughts on the story itself. The narrative itself is lighter. That’s not a bad thing. It sets things up with its basic premise of “a rebellion is building among slaves.” From there, it delves into the lives and interactions of the main characters. The interactions between the characters is fun. Everyone has their own little quirks but all share a love of snark and sass (just a matter of how much). Friendships and romance build up in a way that feels wonderfully natural while this big war brews in the background. Lex and Dodd come into their own once they get their hats. Allegra has a nice arc that ends in the place you hoped for. And Stanton is there being wonderful and charming and heroic.
I’d say the two biggest aspects to note about the story is the use of various mental health conditions and the topic of identity. The effects of fear and anxiety are on full display, there’s talk of PTSD in a realistic way, there’s a huge point about gender identity with Lex and that was done very, very well and felt real. Choices and consequences and grief and all of it feels very genuine and well done.
And as I write this, the next two books aren’t out and it’s THE WORST. But if you like snappy dialogue and magic and want a world that feels familiar but different and a different sort of adventure in politicking, read this book. You will love it.
In addition, if you love anything Musketeers, you’ll definitely love Lex and Dodd and Stanton. And I know for a fact that if you like Dragon Age Inquisition, it will pique your interest. And seriously, the dialogue is so good.