I have become something wonderful, she thought. I have become something terrible. Was she now a goddess or a monster? Perhaps both
My Rating: 5 Stars
Published: May 2018
Publisher: Harper Voyager
War doesn’t determine who’s right. War determines who remains.
Wow what an astonishing read. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing this novel is. It surprised me at every turn and without a doubt will be on my top reads of 2018. It is dark and horrifying and I couldn’t keep away. This very graphic and violent adult fantasy brings forth the shocking truths of war. And before I go any further I should issue a serious content warning with this book as it explores some very dark themes. So please continue with caution, there are trigger warnings for basically everything.
This is a dim military fantasy that is inspired by Asian culture and mythology, and draws most inspiration from the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Rape of Nanking. This is truly a one of a kind read, which will completely draw you in making you fall in love with all the complex characters, having you on the edge the entire time franticly turning the pages with every horrifying moment and wanting more. It is brutal and bloody and beautifully written is all I can really say and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book.
But I warn you, little warrior. The price of power is pain.
It all begins with Rin, an orphan from the war and determination to change her fate. Rin pours herself in to studying for the Keju – the empire-wide test that is her ticket out of the Rooster Province and even more importantly out of an unwanted arrange marriage. To Rin’s surprise and that of everyone else, Rin aces the test and finds herself on the very top of list scoring the highest. Thus landing her a spot at the Sinegard- the most elite military school in Nikan.
But surprises aren’t always a good thing, and Rin soon realizes that. Because Rin is a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south she is the target of her fellow classmates bullying. As a result of Rin’s isolation from the other students she soon discovers she possesses a lethal, magical power and an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Rin finds aide in an unlikely teacher who might actually be insane, and has a weakness for psychedelic drugs.
Rin soon learns that the gods they all thought long dead are actually very much alive and if she can somehow master her powers she will not only be able to tap into them but control them as well. If Rin can master this feat she will accomplish so much more than just surviving the Sinegard.
For years the Nikara Empire has been at peace since the second poppy war. But now the Mugan are stirring, and the federation are finding themselves on the brink of a third war. Will Rin be able to control her powers in time? Or will the time of peace they thought they had fall to the Mugan army?