“ Make a wish, Kazi, one for tomorrow, for the next day, and the next. One will always come true.“
I don’t know why the universe has decided to bless my book choices in the latter half of 2021, but I am not complaining. So far, all my books have been a 5 star read. Again, not complaining and hopefully, my luck won’t run out any time soon. (Though, they could be shorter. So, if you have any books that are 5 stars but under 400 pages- put it in the comments, please.)
Now, technically, this book is part of another trilogy called The Remnant Chronicles, the existence of which I found out after I read the first book. They should really put up some sort of disclaimer for that. (And I should start reading the blurbs as well. But going in blind is half the fun.) So, anyway, as far as I can tell, reading TRC is not required and I enjoyed the book just fine without knowing the common characters but if you are one of those people who like to go “Heyyyyy!” whenever you see a familiar character, go right ahead. Somewhat like the Six of Crows duology and the Grisha Trilogy, one world separate stories. (Fun fact: I read SoC before any of the other books there too.)
“Tell me a riddle, Kazi.”
This book, in my opinion, is a solid 5 stars for a lot of reasons. The plot was perfect, the world building was out of this world, the characters I would take a bullet for and the writing, if I could bottle the way the writer has written this, I would cause it would sell like hotcakes.
So, color me surprised, when I learned that, despite this being one of the best ‘enemies to lovers‘ books I have ever read, this book is so underrated that it never ever shows up on any lists?! Like people, YOU ARE SLEEPING ON THIS AMAZING GORGEOUS BOOK!
“It’s awkward, isn’t it?” he said.
“What’s that?” I replied, my voice far too breathy.
“These moments when we’re not hating each other.”
Now, remember those characters that I would take a bullet for? Well, time to meet them. Kazi, a former legendary thief who is now under employment of the Queen of Venda as her personal army ‘Rahtan'(And yes, maybe in the start I loved her a little too much because of another lovable thief whose name is a little too alike to hers) goes to investigate the transgressions against her Kingdom, in Hell’s mouth, a settlement ruled by the Ballenger Family, headed by Jase, their Patrei.
“Every exchange of words between Jase and me seemed like a dance, a step forward, a step back, circling, both of us leading, anticipating, wondering what the next move would be. He didn’t trust me any more than I trusted him.”
I loved their romance. At times it was frustrating but I loved that even as they were falling in love, they never forgot their agendas. Kazi didn’t stop investigating the Ballengers nor did Jase divulge everything just because he loved her. And I loved that. They didn’t let their guard down. Often, I see how in books, the characters fall in love and then, spill their deepest darkest secrets in a matter of seconds which inevitably leads them to be betrayed.
Other than Kazi, we see the rest of the Rahtans aka bad ass females who didn’t cower behind anyone or anything. I loved how apart from being loyal soldiers they were given their own stories. In a short span, I loved each of them and their sibling like relationship with each other.
“You are Rahtan, Kazi. You have a promise to keep, and you will betray him eventually.”
I loved the Ballengers with ferocity. I loved their loyalty to one another. The unspoken bond, the trust in Jase as Patrei despite him not being the oldest or the strongest. Just because he was the chosen one, his words were accepted and followed.
Another thing I loved about this book was the subtle hint to dystopia. The hints were there, about the first Ballengers, the way they fought against a mysterious group called Scavengers. Told from a group of kids too young to remember what life was like before, the writer merges our world with theirs in a wonderful collusion that only becomes evident if you know the current world.
“Choose your words carefully, even the words you think, because they become seeds, and seeds become history.”
Now, the best way to describe Mary’s writing is like drinking water. It was 500 pages that I inhaled in a matter of days. It helped that the chapters were tiny, told from two POV’s. And I always say that if done properly, rotating POVs can be an amazing hook for a reader. And this was as proper as it gets. Riveting from beginning to end, this book remains one of the most addicting books I have read this year.
So, if it wasn’t clear so far, I loved this book. And I would recommend it to any dystopian, fantasy, young adult, new adult, ‘enemies to lovers‘ reader because you will not be disappointed.