by T. Kingfisher.
This is an adult fantasy novel where we follow our main character Marra, who’s the youngest princess of three in a small insignificant kingdom. The middle sister is married to the prince of the Northern Kingdoms to prevent a war. Only problem is that this prince, soon turned king, is abusive and has already killed Marra’s oldest sister.
Now, Marra is determined to not only avenge her dead sister, but also save her sister Kania from the same fate before it’s too late. To help her with killing the prince, she enlists a powerful gravewitch, her reluctant fairy godmother, and strapping former knight called Fenris. Together, they embark on a dark and magical journey to end the reign of a bloodline protected by some powerful magic.
I got this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, and I honestly picked it up mostly because of the really great looking cover. As soon as I started this book, I was thinking I’d made a mistake. I found the opening chapters confusing and hard to read and so strange that I wasn’t sure what I was reading.
It had some really interesting elements to it, and I wanted to know more, but it also felt like the answers would never come since it just got more convoluted the more I read. Then something happened and the tone of the book seemed to completely changed and I got immediately invested in the story.
Marra had finally a clear goal that me as a reader could understand and follow. I can say that I found the book unnecessarily slow at times, and the journey took a little too long. In other words, there was a little too much build-up for the ending that never seemed to come.
I think the main character is a little odd in lack of a better word. She’s in her thirties, which I love. I was refreshing to read a story about people that actually was in a normal age doing these dangerous things rather than it behind the usual sixteen-year-olds saving everyone. But, Marra sort of sounded and came across as a kid at times. She was more sixteen than thirty, and the writing sometimes made it feel like I was reading a YA novel.
Which really didn’t bother me that much until Fenris came along and was portrayed as old since he was in his late thirties, and then there was feelings developing between him and Marra and it felt at times like an almost forty-year-old was hooking up with a teenager. Which wasn’t the case, but Marra felt young. I can buy that a lot of her youthfulness and innocence was due to her having spent her whole adult life (and late teens) living with nuns and all that, but still. I would have wanted her a little more mature in this case.
The side characters were actually more interesting than Marra. And the dust-wife especially was super interesting to follow. I loved the bickering between the two old ladies throughout this book, and it was sort of fun to having them try to match up Marra with Fenris.
Fenris, too, is an interesting character, but at times he felt a little flat. It was mostly like he was there as a temptation for the ladies. This strong, broody, mysterious, kind and handsome man who didn’t realize how handsome and strong and kind he really was. I would have wanted a little more depth from him.
But all in all, this was a good book with an interesting world and interesting plot. It had me invested, and I really like that the characters were adults, and there were moments of humor, sadness, joy and fear.
I’d definitely recommend this book. 4/5 stars.