By Alexandra Bracken
Rating: Loved it!
When Wayland North brings rain to a region that's been dry for over ten years, he's promised anything he'd like as a reward. He chooses the village elder's daughter, sixteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabel, who is a skilled weaver and has an unusual knack for repairing his magical cloaks. Though Sydelle has dreamt of escaping her home, she's hurt that her parents relinquish her so freely and finds herself awed and afraid of the slightly ragtag wizard who is unlike any of the men of magic in the tales she's heard. Still, she is drawn to this mysterious man who is fiercely protective of her and so reluctant to share his own past.
The pair rushes toward the capital, intent to stop an imminent war, pursued by Reuel Dorwan (a dark wizard who has taken a keen interest in Sydelle) and plagued by unusually wild weather. But the sudden earthquakes and freak snowstorms may not be a coincidence. As Sydelle discovers North's dark secret and the reason for his interest in her and learns to master her own mysterious power, it becomes increasingly clear that the fate of the kingdom rests in her fingertips. She will either be a savior, weaving together the frayed bonds between Saldorra and Auster, or the disastrous force that destroys both kingdoms forever.
All right, I'll freely admit that at first I wasn't completely in love with this book. Don't get me wrong, I really liked it, just didn't love it. Why? Because when i first started I had really high expectations (Thanks Small :P). Initially, what kept me going was the fantastic world-building and interactions between the characters.
Fantasy world at its finest:
Bracken created an absolutely fantastic fantasy world. It was fully-fleshed out without being bogged down by unnecessary details. To me, the world is one of the most important things when it comes to fantasy. I like to "see" this new world and really picture it in my head and this book doesn't disappoint.
Fiery red-head with an attitude to match:
Sydelle is just as fiery as her hair! She's independent and doesn't like to be told what to do. She doesn't want to rely on a man (girl-power!) but she wants to make a living doing what she loves to do, weave. While she may have a fiery attitude, she actually has quite a kind heart. I really fell in love with her independence and her attitude towards the world and those around her.
Secrets and witty banter galore:
However, although I really loved Sydelle's fiery attitude, I fell in love with North! He just loved to bug Sydelle and it was so much fun to watch their interactions with each other. But underneath all that, you can tell that he truly cares about Sydelle. Does she see that yet? Of course not, but then again, if she knew he cared there wouldn't be any of that deliciously funny tension! Ah, but he's not just witty and funny, he's got secrets. Maybe its just the nosy, gossip loving girl in me, but I love me some secrets, so it was no wonder that he definitely peeked my interest.
Huge amounts of awesomeness:
As I said, the characters are what initially kept me reading. I thought the plot was interesting and I was really intrigued but I wasn't completely smitten. Then.....
The plot just EXPLODES! Magic, suspense, intrigue, mystery, secrets, REVEALS! Gah! Everything just happens and you're constantly on the edge of your seat. And as if that wasn't enough, the characters get even more awesome! I seriously don't even know how thats possible. I just feel so bad for North. This guy has been through far too much for any one man and it's a miracle this guy has kept on going but that's why I fell in love with him. I just wanted to go up and give him a big hug and say that I would always be there for him. And what made me fall even more in love with Sydelle is that she does exactly that. She may be irritated by him sometimes, but in the end she knows why and really just wants to help him. Ahh....such a swoon-worthy romance. It just makes my heart melt!
SEQUEL PLEASE!!!!!!! ♥
While the beginning was good, the last half was fantastic. Between all the action, twists, amazing characters, and epic plot this book is definitely a must-read for any fantasy fan.