There’s a short prologue that goes over some groundwork for the book. A Satrap has ordered the deaths of all the lions in the realm, he’s been told by seers that his death will happen via lion, and he’s taken all measures to assure that doesn’t happen. He’s also trying to become a seer himself, harvesting as much moonstone as possible from the islands since that’s the type of gemstone decorating the Seers cave. He’s been told that all of the lions in the realm are now dead, and he’s a bit more relaxed.
It then cuts to Leandros, the “Lion” General who has since moved into retirement and lives on the coast with his wife. These two are already in love, and I tend to prefer that kind of romance if there’s going to be romance. These two obviously care about each other and have a healthy relationship which is nice to see in fantasy.
While he and his wife are taking a pleasure cruise, a ship pulls up beside them and drops anchor, it’s clear that they mean to board their ship. Once aboard, they convince Leandros that it would be best for his crew if he went peacefully and heard them out on a request. It turns out that his captors have also visited the Seers, and they’ve been told that they will find two people to save them in the location they found Leandros and his wife. They want Leandros to come out of retirement and lead them into battle against their enemies that have enslaved them and put them to work in mines collecting moonstone. And yes, that moonstone loving Satrap who killed all the lions is the same dude. They come up with a rough plan to start freeing slaves and using pirates to smuggle goods back and forth to try and fight the Satrap.
This isn’t a very long book, I think it’s around 200 pages so I got through it in a sitting. That did cut into a little bit of the world building, however. I wasn’t sure how a General could be unaware of an island nation that’s only a 5-day sail from where he was living, Leandros and his wife seemed completely ignorant of the people that lived there, the Satrap that enslaved them, and the presence of moonstone. They had to be told in intricate detail every aspect of what was going on which lead to a lot of infodumping. Since Leandros has gone into retirement it’s possible he moved far, far away from where he was a general, but I don’t remember any information like that given. This is technically the second book in a series, and although I could follow the plot just fine without the first book, it leaves me wondering if many of my questions would have been answered if I had read the first book.
Magic is used differently in various regions, sometimes magic is left solely to the women, some cultures don’t believe in using magic at all and avoid it, sea-magic always comes at a great cost, and other lands have Seers that are greatly respected, and the Sun Kingdom and their magicians can manipulate fire, air, and water. There wasn’t a whole lot that happened on-page though, so I didn’t get to see certain things that interested me.
The writing struggled with telling instead of showing, it was very common for characters to go into long dialogues about their pasts, their countries, history etc. Nothing was really drip fed, instead, there were long info dumps, some of which were awkwardly phrased. There were some overused words and phrases as well, and I did find some spelling/grammar errors, just some small things like pluralization errors or comma errors, so it lost some points in the writing score.
The pacing was slower to medium for the first third of the book, it took about 30% for the plot to progress beyond character intros, the writing itself was to the point without a lot of flowery passages. The tone in this was mostly light-hearted, most of the characters seem to be decent people and the world itself isn’t particularly dark.
- naval stories
- shorter reads
- young adult
- nice/”white moral” characters
- lighter tone
- villain POV
- Plot: 8/15
- Characters: 6/15
- World Building: 8/15
- Writing: 6.25/15
- Pacing: 10/15
- Originality: 9/15
- Personal Enjoyment: 4/10
Final Score: 52/100 or 2.57/5 on Goodreads