This book is a good, if typical, example of the YA Fantasy genre. It has a strong plotline, good characterization, but not too many surprises. Supporting characters tend slightly towards stereotypes, and action is described in standard ways; nobody just jumps, they add in flips and other grandstanding. It contains a great number of overly beautiful people, and a great number of pathetic, emaciated people as well. Not too many normal-type humans in between.
Tybolt is worth discussing. He is a difficult character to draw, because he is supposed to be a rabid wizard hunter, but at the same time, because of his heritage, he has a poorly hidden sense of empathy for the starving people of his realm. These two conflicting traits are hard to bring together, and the result is a rather-too-sympathetic main character. Much more interesting is the personality of Aurelia, his love interest, a far more likely product of this fractured society. Despised and desired because of her hereditary beauty, she has been brought up a target of the lust and hate of the common people. I particularly enjoyed the carefully choreographed relationship between the two main characters as it blended with the blossoming of her personality through the story.
There is a fine build of emotion, action, and tension near the end as all the conflicts – internal, external, and magical – come together in the cathartic frenzy of the final battle.
While more sophisticated readers might find this tale a bit simplistic, I think it is perfect for the Young Adult market. I am sorry I cannot give it a higher rating because of the need for editing. Numerous small grammar errors and larger errors in plot detail hinder our full enjoyment of the story.
Recommended for YA fantasy fans and the more forgiving of other readers.
(4 / 5)