This is my first review so bare with me, I hope you will enjoy it.
When I first started reading this book I was a bit overwhelmed with the sheer amount of places, and characters I needed to familiarize myself with. After sticking with it, I must say that I am glad that I did because it is definitely worth it.
The story takes us to a Urte, a fictional land which does resemble our own world in many ways. The people, their different belief structures and the on-going friction between certain religions as well as people of different races are similar to what we experience in everyday life and this does make it easy to relate to. The big difference is that Urte is magical.
The book counts down to the Moontide, which is when a magical bridge between the two lands, Antiopia and Yuros, normally divided by water, is accessible due to the retreating tide. This occurs only once every 12 years. When it does, inhabitants of both lands can cross the bridge for a period of one year. They do so for a plethora of reasons, mostly for commercial/trading purposes. Emperors have employed Magi for many years to plunder the lands on the other side of the bridge. A very powerful Magi was also the one who built the magical bridge.
As I previously stated, there are a lot of different povs. Each chapter gives a little back story, also the time (counting down to the moontide) and the place. Almost every chapter focuses on a different character. Some storylines will overlap of course when the characters meet one another and share adventures. That being said, I did not find it difficult to align myself with several favorite characters from the start.
As perhaps any woman might, I was immediately drawn to Elena and her plight. Being torn between her former life as a spy/assassin and her growing attachment to her current ‘targets’ Cera Nesti, a princess and her little brother the crown prince, Timori, she puts herself in a very dangerous position when she decides to abandon her mission and protect those she was meant to assassinate.
We also follow Gurvon Gyle, a master manipulator and Elena’s former boss and lover. Alaron, Elena’s cousin and his best friends, Cym and Ramon. A young girl named Ramita, her best friend Huriya, her childhood boyfriend Kazim and her new husband Antonin Meiros. There are of course many more but each of these have pivotal parts to play in the book. The book contains some political storylines as several characters are motivated by power and a desire to rule but it also has all the ingredients of a great quest inside of it. So I do believe there is something for everyone.
LBGTQ characters are featured in this series which I love because sometimes I find that the fantasy genre is extremely straight! I also enjoy that it has more emotional depth that some more ‘battle’ oriented fantasy series. I love it when characters have emotional depth and are not merely swinging their swords around the entire time. All of the characters’ paths are linked in one way or another which becomes increasingly more obvious while reading. Their threads continue to entangle throughout the three books that follow this one.
It is of course recommend to read the entire quartet but once you start this one, I doubt you will be able to stop. The first book mostly introduces you to the different characters, places and customs so you can get to know them a bit before the author turns all of their futures upside down. Each of them must face new hardships and situations they had not anticipated. I do not wish to spoiler too much so I highly suggest picking up the book and getting transported to this world David Hair has so wonderfully mapped out for us.