Goodreads Synopsis: Khosa was born to be fed to the sea, to prevent the kind of wave that once destroyed the Kingdom of Stille. She can’t be sacrificed until she produces an heir, but human touch repulses her…except for the touch of the Indiri.
Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race with magic that’s seductive—a force of nature—but dwindling since the Pietra slaughtered their people.
Witt leads the Pietra, the fierce warriors who are now marching on the Kingdom of Stille. The stone shores of Witt’s kingdom harbor a secret threat, and to ensure the survival of his people, he’s prepared to conquer every speck of Stille’s soil.
Vincent stands to inherit the throne of Stille, but has no wife to share it with. When the beautiful and mysterious Khosa arrives without an heir, Vincent knows that his father will stop at nothing to make sure she fulfills her duty. Torn between protecting his kingdom and protecting the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is soon at odds with his heart. While royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the Indiri struggle to survive, the rising sea calls for its Given, and Khosa is destined to answer.
I picked up this book solely because of the cover.
This is the first fantasy book that I’ve read where I honestly wanted (and needed!) a map. Usually I don’t even look at the maps, but this book seriously needed one. It was confusing as hell to try and remember where everything was in relation to the other countries. It didn’t help that this book has narration from every character given in the synopsis, and it’s only 352 pages! This book definitely felt too short.
Now while I started off complaining about a few things, I did enjoy a lot of this book. I liked the world a lot, it felt totally unique from any other fantasy novel I’ve ever read. The world-building was done really well, each people group had their own motivations, and you felt for them.
The characters were really good as well. I liked Khosa a lot, I liked that she wasn’t shirking her duty. I’m really tired of reading YA main characters trying to get out of their duty, it’s just overdone at this point. But I also liked that Khosa struggled with human touch, it made her character interesting.
Dara, Donil, Witt and Vincent also were good characters. I liked the interaction between Dara and her brother. I also loved her storyline with being in love with Vincent, but never acting on it because of her stubbornness.
By halfway through the book I was pretty sure I was going to give it four stars. But the ending, mixed with some actions that felt contradictory made me feel conflicted.
SPOILERS FOR THE ENDING.
The prince, Vincent decides (because he’s in love) that he wants to risk the lives of everyone in his land to save the life if Khosa. All of the sudden he’s saying that maybe she doesn’t need to go to the sea, maybe thousands of years of writing and tradition are wrong. Now it’s not his questioning that I disliked, it was his willingness to let thousands of people die just because he liked a pretty girl. I could understand Khosa not caring, none of these people mean anything to her. But everyone else who went along with this idea were just silly, and it didn’t make any sense to me.
On top of it in the ending, Khosa controls the sea and kills an invading army, which is really cool. But then everyone is magically willing to give up hundreds of years of traditions, for this one event. Which I get was pretty crazy, but it was completely unreasonable. When people are ruled by fear they don’t act rationally. But they were in this book? In the face of uncertainty, and possibly death if they don’t let Khosa go to the sea, somehow the rulers decide they were wrong? Maybe this is pessimistic of me but I just felt like the ending ruined the stakes for me. It was all too easy.
So in the end I gave this book 3 stars. It’s an interesting world, maybe you’ll like the book. And I am actually planning on reading the second book.