This was a fantastic tale of witchcraft, betrayal and power. A sympathetic tale of the beginning of a villian’s life and what leads her away from the path of “good” and onto the path of destruction, necromancy and revenge. Told in alternating chapters of past and present, the reader gets to experience Tea’s discovery of her magic and subsequent training as well as witness her many years later (through the eyes of another outcast) as she plots her revenge against a society that uses and villifies her kind.
I really enjoyed this novel. The story was captivating and reading about her actions in the present pushed me to keep reading to find out how things ended up the way they did. I thought the world building was done well, although I would have loved more details about other kingdoms and aspects of their society. I assume we will get more of that in the next book as we learned about these things as the story went along in the first one. The asha (witches) in this book have been called Geisha-esque by the author and that description is apt, these women become skilled in the arts, politics and entertainment, as well as witchcraft, strategy and fighting. They are hired out for entertainment purposes in between necessary magic-related missions (ya know, just resurrecting and killing daeva so they won’t attack neighboring towns and kingdoms) are feared by many people in their society. I love a good antihero that seeks to dismantle a flawed society, especially one that mistreats and undervalues women, so I cannnot wait to read the next book. The only complaint I had is that THE NEXT BOOK ISN’T OUT YET! There are a few things revealed at the end that really make you want to continue with the story to find out how things ended up that way and NOW I HAVE TO WAIT?!?! Ugh, I try very hard not to start books in series until I have all of the series ready to read (because I am extremely impatient!) but I didn’t realize until I was almost done with this book that it would be part of a series. I will be waiting here (im)patiently until it comes out!
Read this book if you love a good antihero tale (esp. badass females who don’t take any shit), want to read an original and engrossing take on magic that blends aspects of different cultures in a completely non offensive way (its hard to believe right? Especially with all of the racist and colonialist fuckery that has been happening in a lot of new YA and Fantasty books lately) and love a strong sibling bond (and not in the Lannister siblings way).
**I received this ARC from Netgalley and Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review!**