Publish Date: February 7th, 2012
Number of Pages: 328 Pages
Publisher: Berkeley Sensation
Genre(s): Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Total Star Rating: 2 Stars
To be honest, I had virtually no expectations going into this title as it appeared in the bookshop I work at, and then deciding to give it a try. I’d never heard of it or the trilogy it’s a part of ever before, but when it’s listed as a “Fantasy Romance” title, I shrugged and assumed I’d like it since that seems to be right up my alley if my some of my favorite authors right now are Sarah J. Maas, Holly Black, Jennifer Armentrout, and plenty of others since I’m sure most of you readers can see the trail I’m starting there.
While this book is not terrible by any means, and is easy to breeze through if you’re just looking for ANYTHING to read at any moment, but I can’t say it’s all that memorable of a book either. It’s not horrible, but it’s also not amazing either. Some books bring out extreme highs and sorrow filled lows; it’s an emotional roller coaster that’s a complete thrill, but this title just felt like a straight line. A smaller, friendlier roller coaster to help someone warm up for the bigger and much more exciting ride. There’s nothing wrong with the story or any of the characters, I was just never really impacted by any of it, I’d say my reaction is just lukewarm.
One highlight to point out is the romantic aspect of this book, which since it’s listed as “Fantasy Romance,” I’d certainly hope this would be a highlight! It’s a decent addition for anyone who enjoys “enemies to lovers” style romantic plots, as the two main characters are from two different sides on the battlefield, but come together in order to end the war! If anything, I did enjoy this part of the story, and found myself interested in what was going to happen next with them, or even just how they were going to develop feelings for each other!
‘Hesia was right. The real test of person is whether they can see past the names and labels.’ His gaze was steady. ‘I’ve seen you. You laugh, you fear, you cry, you love. You’re as human as me, Na’Chi‘– Kylie Griffin, “Vengeance Born”
What’s It’s About:
The Official Blurb:
Her lineage is both a blessing and a curse…
There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not pure bred is virtually powerless. Until an unlikely champion is born…
Annika, half-blood daughter of the Na’Reish king, longs for more than a tormented life among her father’s people. Conceived in hatred and bred as a tool of retribution, she’s gifted with a special talent that can heal as well as destroy…
With the Na’Reish vastly outnumbering them, Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, knows the future of humankind depends on him alone. Incursions into human territory and raids for blood-slaves by the Na’Reish horde have increased. As chosen leader, he faces the task of stopping the demons—and convincing the Council of aging Light Blade warriors that change is necessary for survival.
When Annika learns Kalan is a prisoner in her father’s dungeon, her dream of escape seems within reach. She agrees to free him in exchange for his protection once they reach human territory. Now, marked for death for helping him, Annika must learn to trust Kalan as they face not only the perilous journey to the border but enemies within the Council—and discover a shocking truth that could throw the human race into a civil war…
What I Liked:
- The Romance Between Annika and Kalan! The book is listed specifically as a Fantasy Romance genre title, so it makes sense that this is a highlight to point out. It’s a pretty decent enemies-to-lovers type dynamic as Annika is a half-demon and Kalan is human and a Light Blade warrior trained to kill her kind. As they escape together and work alongside each other, their trust in each other grows, along with mutual respect, admiration, and lust. They challenge each other, and make each other view the world a little differently.
- The Worldbuilding with the Humans vs. Demons! the worldbuilding is nothing too original or unique, but it doesn’t need to be in order for it to make an effective story. I won’t go into too much detail, but this world is sliced up into two main races: humans and demons, who’re at war with each other and have been pretty much since forever. Annika falls under a third category: half-demons. Her kind are viewed as low-born and lesser than both the humans and demons alike, but the humans don’t even know they exist. She’s been tortured and abused pretty much her whole life by the demon’s, and while Kalan was distrusting of her at the beginning because of prejudices against demons in general, he learns that the half-folk aren’t the same as the full-demons, and they could help them win the war.
What I Didn’t Like:
- The Random Scenes of Varian…So if you read this book too, some of you may have been guessing as to why there were these scenes with Varian and his troop on their search for Annika. I looked into the other two books of this trilogy and know he becomes a more central character in the next one (spoiler alert?…), so I guess that justifies his appearances as a way to introduce him, but I just felt like the scenes with him were so randomly put into this story and kind of disturbed the overall flow of sequences. More could’ve happened in this regard
- You Never Really Meet Savyr…He’s the big boss villain of the Demon’s who’re taking over, and he’s got a nasty reputation, but that’s all you really get with him. The books opens with Annika going in and meeting Kalan while helping him escape, and I feel like then would’ve been a great way to introduce this guy, or maybe even throw in a scene or two of him torturing someone in order to show his viciousness as a tyrant ruler; there’s just a lot of telling, but no showing.
Overall, not a terrible book by any means, but maybe too beginner-ish for someone like me who’s already well-read into the Romantic Fantasy style story. Everything within the pages of this book worked just fine, the romance was even incredibly well done, but I was just lukewarm the entire time I was reading since I’ve already read from authors like the ones I listed earlier who’ve delivered much more emotionally impactful stories for me personally.
With that said, I’d still recommend this title to someone who hasn’t dived deep into the Fantasy genre, but is may be looking for something to ease them into the genre while not being interested in the more YA-level stories. There are sex scenes, and they are more descriptive than just a “fade to black” sort of sequences that are more suitable for younger readers. If that sounds like you, I say go for it and give this book a try!
Thanks for Reading!
— Nick Goodsell