I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even if it felt a little slow at times. The world building is very well done, creating a world filled with rich mythology and an intriguing fantasy race known as the eldran, shapeshifters who are often in danger of losing themselves. The eldran serve as a background element for most of the story, but they actually play a crucial role, and promise to continue to do so throughout the rest of the series.
As far as characters go, the main duo of Chloe and Dion were great to follow, and watching them work through their individual and joint struggles was wonderful to see. Chloe especially is an amazing character. She’s not a sword-swinging, warrior princess kind of heroine, but she is politically savvy, very clever, determined, resourceful, and even in hardship and danger, she keeps a level head and puts the needs of others ahead of her own. I so, so badly want to see her become the successor to her father and become First Consul. She’d be freaking awesome at it.
Dion I was less enthralled with, but he does hold his own, even if I sometimes questioned his decision-making skills. He’s not the natural leader Chloe or his warrior brother Nikolas are, but he does have his own fascinating history, and he has a good heart combined with natural bravery. He comes into his own as the story progresses, and by the end, he is another strong character.
One thing I didn’t like about the book was that it was too eager to kill off the supporting characters. It was like the author didn’t want to even try to incorporate them into the rest of the narrative, so their deaths were for shock value more than anything else. That was frustrating.
In spite of that, I did enjoy the book all the way through, and after that brutal but very well-done ending, I’m really looking forward to the sequel.