Am höchsten bewertete positive Rezension
First in a fantasy trilogy in T. Pierce/K. Cashore tradition
am 6. Oktober 2014
This book just robbed me of a night's sleep, since I couldn't lay it down before finishing it! Yes, it's that gripping, especially if you like reading about a courageous young heroine, who starts out in a really bad place and claws her way back to freedom and life against all odds and by sheer stubbornness and determination.
Because Thalia is such a heroine. She awakes one day in a dungeon, in the hands of a sect whose members experiment on her and others and without any memory of where she came from, who her family is or where her home is. She knows she is Thalia, she knows she has to get away from that dungeon and survive somehow. And boy is she determined. Even reading about the [non-explicit] hints of what she and others suffered and suffer through made me wonder, how she could go on and on, simply wanting to survive. I adored that. When Thalia's chance arrives, she immediately takes it and escapes.
The rest of her 1st person POV is based on what Thalia experienced in her torturer's hands: she gets to know two chivalrous men on their way to the Citadel where the Denai [aka magicians with a special descent] live and train and goes along, since she has virtually nowhere to go and needs to find a place where she is safe from the sect's henchmen, who probably will follow her.
So after a classical fantasy flight and tense journey with allies becoming friends, Thalia, young Joss and his godfather arrive at the Citadel and the next chapter of Thalia's challenging journey to truth and safety begins. And it was fabulous to read about Thalia's development, her struggles and fights and her ultimate overcoming of fears and various kinds of enemies. During that stay at the Citadel, Thalia experiences genuine friendship, makes enemies – and then there is the [unfortunately inevitable] love-triangle that I could only forgive, because of Thalia's more than mature and even wise handling of it all [especially the frequent moments she is well aware that she has far more pressing problems than wondering about the feelings of a boy – that was a good thing to read about in a YA heroine for a change!].
So there is handsome Joss, the “Golden Boy”, how his would-be rival Kael calls him. He is a genial character, is there when Thalia needs him and yet I think him too different from Thalia to stay an item. But this is my very personal impression, best make your own mind.
And then there is Kael, who carries as much darkness in him, as Thalia finds inside herself as a probable result of the experiments at the “Septori”-sect. He is volatile, aggressive and at the same time rescues Thalia uncounted times. He is a lot more interesting than nice-guy Joss. And there is a lot left unsaid about him that surely will be revealed in the next book.
The world building is well done, even if the medieval/Citadel-theme is not new. It's well fleshed out and the premise of a sect searching for a way to inject magic into non-magical humans, two kingdoms on a continuous edge of war and right in the middle of it all a young woman who tries to find out, who she was, who she will be and how she could overcome her fear, it's really good. I read a lot of fantasy of every variety and this book is outstanding, it caught me unaware. Since the end is a sudden turn, I did not see coming and left me with my mouth hanging open, I'm glad an can immediately read on with the next installment, because although it's not a cliffhanger of the cruel variety, it still made me want to know right now, what is next for Thalia.