My rating: 4 of 5 stars
H.L. Burke never disappoints. Like always, she has created a rich world with compelling characters and high stakes. And the cover of this book is gorgeous, by the way.
Several things I really liked: I loved her main characters. Laidra and Calen were such good, kind, wonderful people in spite of the monstrosities forced upon them. I loved how selfless they were, putting the needs of others above their own comfort and survival. The sacrificial nature of this love story was truly well done. Their love story is also so beautiful, two people who look beyond appearances to the beauty within. There was just the right amount of heat in their relationship while still being tactfully handled. It’s a perfect romance with lots of sexual tension but no sex.
Ms. Burke also painted an incredibly rich world, with layers of history and colorful characters. It wasn’t just a retelling of a Greek myth in a typical Greek world: Ms. Burke made it her own and added her own unique spin. I LOVED how she implied the gods weren’t really gods and that an Unknown God had created them. It was a subtle touch that I really appreciated. I’ve never been a huge fan of Greek myths, but Ms. Burke won me over to her side.
There are very few things I wish she would have done differently. This story doesn’t have quite as much snark as her stories usually do, but that isn’t a bad thing. This is first and foremost a love story and didn’t need the snark to pull it off—this only proves what a powerful writer she is. The only thing that bothered me a little is a bit of a spoiler so stop reading if you haven’t read the book yet. I would have liked to see a greater learning curve for the antagonist. Ellea’s growth was allowed to happen naturally, which made her change more real and compelling. However, Volen’s change of heart had to happen so quickly that it didn’t have quite as much impact. Still, I loved that he WAS redeemable in spite of the horrible things he had done—and I especially loved that Calen and Laidra were able to forgive him and realize this fact as well. I thought he should have suffered some horrible consequences for the awful things he had done and wouldn’t have been so gracious to him if I had been in their shoes. 🙂
If you like well-developed worlds, epic love stories, compelling quests, and original retellings, this story is sure to enthrall you. I highly recommend this book.
I rate this story PG-13 for thematic elements and mild sensuality (no sex).