Published by Mondadori on May 27, 2014
Genres: High Fantasy, YA
Format: eARC from Netgalley
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
Nihal lives in one of the many towers of the Land of the Wind. There is nobody like her in the Overworld: big violet eyes, pointed ears, and blue hair. She is an expert in swordplay and the leader of a handful of friends that includes Sennar the wizard. She has no parents; brought up by an armorer and a sorceress, Nihal seems to be from nowhere.
Things suddenly change when the Tyrant takes charge. Nihal finds herself forced to take action when she is faced with the most difficult mission a girl her age could imagine.
Fierce, strong, and armed with her black crystal sword, Nihal sets out to become a real warrior. Readers will be riveted as she forges her powerful path of resistance.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This seemed like it had everything I wanted: epic battles, magic, and a girl who wants to be a warrior. And at first, I was enjoying it. The beginning felt slow, but I was willing to overlook that because it seemed like it was setting the stage for later events.
But as the story hit and then passed its midway point, the pace and the tension never picked up. I think the reason the story wasn’t all that engrossing was the writing style. According to the blub about the book, this novel was originally a best seller in Italy and was released in the U.S. in English on May 27. I can’t help but wonder if some of the charm of the original novel got lost in translation, because there is a lot, and I mean a lot, of telling instead of showing. The writing style put up a wall between me and the characters, it was hard to feel like they were real on any level, so I didn’t find myself rooting for or even interested in any of them.
It also made for awkward conversations or strange leaps from one thing to another. For example, at one point Nihal and her friend are talking about something, and then instead of just transitioning to the next topic, there’s a line that basically says, “and now they’re going to talk about something completely different.”
Nihal’s training is also mostly glossed over, and we never see her fighting but are just told that Nihal is doing a really good job and she’s great with every weapon. It’s all pretty bland and unbelievable. Nihal is the best warrior ever, better than all her classmates who’ve been training for years, and the first female warrior. However, both times she’s actually in a battle she needs to be saved by her friend.
Nihal herself is bratty and self-centered. Finally, about 75% of the way through the book, there’s a character who actually calls Nihal on her crap, but for me it was too little too late and it really doesn’t go anyway. Basically, Nihal doesn’t change or grow as a character.
Also, dragons are a big part of the plot but there’s not a lot of descriptions of them, so I have no idea how big they are, which was annoying since they could be the size of a horse or a house and I couldn’t really picture them in battles. Also, at one point Nihal can’t even get near her dragon because only its original rider can do that, but then there are handlers who take it in and out of its pen. So why can they handle it and she can’t?
There’s other logic fails that I have to chalk up to translation, like a sentence that reads “she heard a strange silence.” How do you hear silence? And young warriors wear bright colors in battle so their commanders can spot them and keep them safe… except, that would also make them more visible to the enemy, so that seems like a bad idea.
Overall, I could have overlooked some of the smaller issues if the story had been better. There wasn’t really a central conflict, so there’s no climax. If felt more like it was just a set up to the next story, something I don’t really care for.