The main character, Csorwe, was marked as a young girl to be destined to be a bride of The Unspoken One. Growing up in the House of Silence, she knew all her life she was going to die at 14 years old, as a willing sacrifice to a God. She can serve as a conduit for the Unspoken One, giving those who seek answers knowledge of the past, present, or future. A mage interrupts her sacrificial ceremony and takes her away through “gates” to other worlds, using her as an assistant of sorts. He is trying to find an ancient artefact that’s supposed to store knowledge from a wizard long passed, Pentravesse. If he can find this reliquary, he will have all the knowledge of this famous dead wizard, and all the secrets that died with him.
The world building for this was really neat, it was a even handed blend of science fiction and classic fantasy elements that made it a unique and fun read. Our main character is an Orc, but she’s flying around on alchemical ships that pass through gates that take her to hundreds of different worlds. There are different kinds of magics that are associated with different patron gods, some will allow you to heal, raise the dead, or deal in prophecy. The worlds themselves can be eaten and die off, and there’s a maze of gates that’s ever changing. It creates a very surreal atmosphere that’s both whimsical and sinister. I think one of my favorite parts of the book is the ancient and abandoned city of the serpents… who weren’t the “bad guys”, they were scholars and known throughout the many worlds as a place to try and emulate.
There is a very slow burn semi-romance going on with two of the main characters, Shuthmili and Csorwe. It was a slow burn, nothing too fast paced or love-at-first-sight which I really hate. I had trouble latching onto that relationship though because I just never warmed up to any of these characters. I don’t know what was wrong, but it feels like a me thing and not something wrong with the book. The characters were well fleshed out, they had their own distinct voices and motivations, I just didn’t personally latch onto any of them.
The pacing was a little slow, most of the book deals with a group of characters fighting over the possession of this artefact, and there’s not much more going on as far as subplots. After about 9-10 hours of listening to these people try to find this artefact I started to get a little bored.
The prose worked for me… mostly. There was a tendency to use the character’s names instead of pronouns or other ways to refer to them. As a result, I started to hate the characters names with a passion, particularly Shuthmili which I felt was used every few sentences. I start to get irritated when words, phrases, or names are used too often where it becomes distracting.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this for people who like a bit of genre mashing, f/f romance, and character driven books.
- Plot: 11/15
- Characters: 12/15
- World Building: 12/15
- Writing: 11/15
- Pacing: 10/15
- Originality: 13/15
- Personal Enjoyment: 6.5/10
Final Score: 75.5/100 or 3.75/5 on GR