An enjoyable, magic-less fantasy that nicely balances worldbuilding, character development, and action. There are many reasons to recommend this one and many readers who will enjoy it.
This novel takes place in a world of amazing peace and prosperity. Ruled by a series of Queens who shed their names to take numerals when they mount the throne, the world of Tequende reads like heaven on earth. Lacking gold, jewels and other precious metals, no other country sees it as being worthy of invasion. So Tequende has been left alone for centuries, growing in glory from the interchange of its many cultures.
However, such a novel would be boring and the authors credibly stir up the mix with prejudice, hostility, ambition, greed, treason and the threat of invasion.
The novel eases us into this special world, both in a larger sweep of its agriculture, economy, politics and mundane livelihoods and the inner workings of the people who make up its social tiers. The individual “voices” leap off the page. They become more vivid and believable with every paragraph and chapter.
Without thumping on a feminist drum, the authors make it clear that much of the serenity of this world—so peaceful that many immigrants from war-torn nations actively seek to live in it—depends on the wisdom of its queens. They remember the days when they had been attacked by foreigners. Thus, the queens set up a system to ensure that they always maintained a standing army, one rigorously trained in the art of warfare, open to men as well as women. It’s a near-flawless setup; the writers have created an inner world as credible as our own.
The parts of the novel outlining what life would be like in the day of a private learning the ropes of military life are engaging, varied and detailed, unsparing of the characters; you can almost feel every bump, bruise and injury that they incur. These parts of the novel are no less fascinating than any of the others. No matter how much of a pacifist the reader may be, it’s engaging and amusing to read of recruits pushing themselves in grueling exercises, knowing that they’ve got four years of it ahead of them.
Best of all is Talimendra of the Magda River Traders. She’s not perfect by any means, with her flaws, shortcomings and failings like everybody else. She doesn’t always succeed but you root for her when she tries. She’s spunky, tough, determined, strong and eager to learn from others and her own mistakes. She is a storybook heroine of value. Delve into the world of Tequende. There are great things in store for it and Talimendra.
The premise of this book seemed so cool to me! Tali was going to become a warrior and kick some butt.
I was pretty disappointed with this book. Multiple times, I thought about giving up. I felt that the dialogue was stiff and the characters didn't feel real. Many of the passages were unimportant in my opinion and didn't add anything to the world building.
This book had a lot of potential and I hope that the second volume in this series improves.
blue_dog_8329 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over
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