Another of the many books I read while laid up following my recent hip replacement – which, by the way is going very well. I’m now 3 months post op and aside from pulling a muscle (too enthusiastic with my PT exercises, surprise, surprise), it’s pretty much fixed. 4 months is the magic number for full recovery, and I’m well ahead of the game.
The second one is scheduled for the end of September, so I guess I’ll be reading a lot more books than usual this year!
And so, to my latest review:
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sora’s life is a conundrum from the outset. Sole heir of a nobleman who can’t seem to abide his daughter, she has lived a lonely life on her father’s country estate. A lavish celebration is planned for her coming-of-age birthday, at which she is expected to perform ‘the blooming’ – a rather sensuous ritual dance designed to show her off to potential suitors. For this momentous event, her father returns from the city, only to fall victim to an assassination during the festivities.
Intent on fleeing her stultifying life, Sora doesn’t realise the cause of the furore, and makes her bid for freedom, only to become entangled with her father’s assassin. She ends up the captive of a small group of renegades, dragged away from the only life she’s known to discover the world is a far larger and more deadly place than she ever imagined. Things get even more complicated when the one memento she carries of her mysterious, unknown mother, turns out to be a Cat’s Eye – a magical artifact that can steal souls. Now everybody wants her – and her necklace – including the law, because Sora stands accused of plotting her father’s murder.
This is a rattling good read – the interplay between the highly individual characters is great, the story steams along at a smart pace and drags the reader along with it through adventures and landscapes well described and interesting.
There were a few irritations small for me, in particular that well into the grim journey through the swampland, Sora questioned why they had brought the horses with them, as they were finding it hard to feed them, and they were also difficult to take along some of the ‘safe’ routes. Then the quartet get captured, and that’s the last they even think about the poor beasts! Never mentioned, or even thought about, again.
Viewpoint changes were rather jarring. Although full sections were told exclusively from a single character’s point of view, the changes happened abruptly in the text without the breaks more usually used to denote a transfer of viewpoint. This made them somewhat of a surprise, even though it was consistent throughout the book.
Other than those small details, I would recommend this to fantasy readers, and I’m about to go onto the next in series.
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