I had been excited about reading this book ever since I heard about it! It’s inspired by ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology and I immediately added it to my tbr. This book did not disappoint!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Esha is a legend, but no one knows. It’s only in the shadows that she moonlights as the Viper, the rebels’ highly skilled assassin. She’s devoted her life to avenging what she lost in the royal coup, and now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.
Kunal has been a soldier since childhood, training morning and night to uphold the power of King Vardaan. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has been growing only more volatile.
Then Esha’s and Kunal’s paths cross—and an unimaginable chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces. As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both rebel and soldier must make unforgivable choices.
This book is fast paced and intense especially in the second half of the book. I really loved reading this and kept wanting to read just one more chapter which kept me reading well into the night! I adored Esha and Kunal and watching their story unfold was so much fun!
This book is told from two points of view so we get to see things from both Esha and Kunal. I really loved that as we get to see both sides of the story and it gives us a view of the world from both their opposing sides. The world building is incredible, it was intricate and detailed. I adored the vivid descriptions from the landscape, to the food and clothes. I absolutely loved the way Indian culture was incorporated into the story and how different Kunal’s clothes were as a soldier compared to other fantasy books. I loved that Esha wore sari’s and the food they ate and even the way that people lived and the traditions they had. It was all so refreshing to see that in the book!
Both Esha and Kunal are really complex characters, as the story progresses we learn more about each of them and we realise that there is more than meets the eye. They show themselves in a certain way to everyone else yet they are so much more than that and it was so nice to see them slowly discover that about each other. We quickly realise that it isn’t as simple as just black and white, good and evil. They are all morally grey and especially in the case of Kunal and Esha, they have both killed but they both justify why they do these things. Kunal is a soldier and Esha is trying to save her people.
They both start out on opposing sides of the war that has ravaged their countries for years yet they are attracted to each other and I loved seeing the enemies to lovers trope! They don’t immediately fall in love but as they interact and learn more about each other they develop feelings for each other and the slow burn romance killed me! I was literally screaming at them to admit already! Another thing I loved about their interactions was the banter and sparring that happens whenever they meet. It left me with a big smile on my face each time.
The end of the story where mysteries are unveiled and we find out what has been happening, it kept me on the edge of my seat! We find out some things that I can tell will play a huge role in the next book and I am already excited to read the next book!