This novel shows flashes of brilliance leavened with somewhat flat prose, as one reviewer has already said.
Perhaps it's the translation. The rhythm of reading, of the language flow, seems to move in cycles from riveting and focused to uncertain and unengaging.
Many incidences in the novel are fascinating such as Nihal's trial to be judged as worthy to learn magic. Even so that event seems to be a thinly veiled ecological appreciation of the expanse and joining of all things of creation. However, this meditative quality that Nihal experiences is strongly portrayed.
Juxtaposed against this is the picture of lands after being conquered by the tyrant. Lands bellowing smoke and strange things, noise and loud music bursting from taverns. No space for silence, peace and the healing of the green spaces. I kept thing of Blake's poetry and his rail against the pervasive effects of the Industrial Revolution, 'those dark satanic mills.'
Despite this I enjoyed the major characters. The story of Nihal and her trials to become a knight, Sennar and his magic, and Ido who wants Nihal to channel the energy of her anger in her fighting, to become 'a genuine individual who would be good to herself and the Overworld.'
Despite some of the challenges with the flow of the writing, overall I really appreciated the storyline and the developing character of Nihal as she faces her own fears and ghosts from the past, as she begins to mature. I look forward to the next episode.
A NetGalley ARC