I was sent this arc in exchange for an honest review.
I loved this book so much! The world and the characters were so incredible and complex and I just loved everything about it.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.
Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.
I had no idea what to expect when I started reading but this book crawled into my heart and burrowed itself in and made itself at home. From the storytelling to the world building to the characters, every single thing about this book is absolutely phenomenal.
The story starts with a line that had me completely hooked and I knew this book would hurt me. The first chapter is set 10 years before the events in this story and it creates an ominous start for the book with hints as to the darkness to come. I loved seeing this before we start as it gave us some important insight without giving away the entire story and plot. The story slowly builds us up to the finale where the separate stories of each of the characters start to merge and we see how the different parts we saw in the book fit together. And what a finale it was, it had me completely enthralled and worried for the lives of all the characters hoping for an outcome where they all survive yet having that sinking feeling that will that even be possible and being left on an ending that had me screaming.
Usually, when someone describes a man as harmless, he ends up being a villain.
The characters are all so complex and we see how none of them are clear cut good or bad. They have been shaped by their circumstances and events that took place even before they were born. They have to deal with the consequences of those that are no longer there to be taken account of and it was so interesting to see which of these characters were truly the villain or even if there was a single villain. Rebecca did this so well and I was rooting for each character even though they each had their flaws they were all working to make things better for their people or trying to survive and yet not seeing how their decisions impact others outside of who they consider their own.
Xiala was such a wonderful character and I just loved slowly learning about her and the people she came from. The Teek are so interesting and the things she even learns about herself along this journey made me love her even more. I loved her confidence and how she cared for the people she was in charge of and that her skills and ability had made her somewhat respected even though the men didn’t generally accept women as captains. Her relationship with Serapio was also so wonderful. I just loved their tentative friendship and how they found comfort in each other and how it slowly grew to something more. I just love them.
A man with a destiny is a man who fears nothing.
Serapio is fascinating, he is truly been shaped by others and has been honed to be a weapon to seek vengeance for an injustice that happened before he was born but he has no say in whether he wanted that or not. His destiny is all he has known and lived and breathed and seeing what happens at the end my heart felt for him but I also wanted to scream at him to not do it.
Narampa was another interesting character, she has fought her way to the top to become the sun priest but despite this she is never truly accepted by her peers because of where she came from. She is trying to make things better for them but they don’t want to accept what she is doing and yet while she works tirelessly for those who scorn her, her family and people she grew up with are ignored and continue to suffer and even she looks down on them. Yet when she needs help she ends up turning to those she left behind. It was really interesting to see how no matter how high you rise those in power won’t accept you, if you aren’t one of them.
I am the only storm that matters now, and there is no shelter from what I bring.
One of my favourite things in this book was that it was inspired by Pre Columbian America and the whole world and mythology that Rebecca has created was so stunningly beautiful and honestly a breath of fresh air. It had so much depth and the culture and the way of life, I loved it so much. Indigenous cultures are so beautiful and wonderful and truly I hope we get more books with their cultures showing just how rich these cultures are.
This book had me completely enthralled and while I loved all the characters, Xiala and Serapio stole my heart and I just need to know more about them and see more of them. This is a book that will have you mesmerised by the world and falling in love with the characters and you will be left thinking about this book long after you have finished it.