by: Maria V. Snyder
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
Smart and Just Plain Awesome Heroine: CHECK
Yelena is awesome! She's brave, smart, and amazing. I love reading from her perspective because she doesn't give in to her emotions, but she has emotions. I loved seeing her overcome her instinct to run and learn how to fight for herself and what she wants. And I liked her determination while she was learning how to train and how she refused to give up on her life despite all the circumstances that are thrown at her.
Cool and Stealthy Hero: CHECK
Valek. He is awesome! I mean, come on, he's a spy and an assassin for Pete's sake! How could he even get more awesome!
Original Setting and a Unique Plot: CHECK
I loved the world that Maria Snyder created. Ixia and Sitia were both interesting places and I loved how Maria wove the past in with the present. Learning how The Commander came to power and Valek's role in the espionage side of it was really intriguing. Also, I have read a lot of books with some sort of magic in them. The thing I love about books involving magic is that they each have a different variety of it. While a lot of the basic principles are the same, each kind has its own rules and different purposes. That being said, I would like to say that Maria did a fantastic job inventing her own sort of magic.
Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Yes. Yes. And yes. Having great supporting characters is another thing this book excels at.
1. Ari and Janco:I love them! Every time I read something about them it made me smile! They are the epitome of great friends. They were so protective and adorable! And really, I have just one thing to say about them that sums everything up:
"Sieges weathered, Fight together, Friends Forever"
2. Rand, Dilana, and Margg: All characters that were full of depth and intrigue. They added interest to Yelena's every day interactions and added a unique layer of politics for Yelena's to work herself through.
Plot Twists and Action: CHECK
There were SO many amazing fight scenes in this book! And I especially love fight scenes that are written so that you can both feel the emotion of the fighter and can tell what is happening in the fight at large. Both of those things were accomplished in this book. Also, the politics of this book kept the plot moving and the story interesting.
“Everyone makes choices in life. Some bad, some good. It's called living, and if you want to bow out, then go right ahead. But don't do it halfway. Don't linger in whiner's limbo.”
“Sieges weathered, fight together, friends forever.”
“Trusting is hard. Knowing who to trust, even harder,”