“As soon as you start establishing governments and systems of money you’re surrendering some of that freedom.”
So what’s the book about?
Six immortal guardians, so-called Ghosts, have protected and also ruled their own of the six cities for generations. And each of these rules their own city in a very unique way. After a guardian of one city is challenged to a mysterious duel, chaos reigns in the six cities. The city of Caspir closes its gates and from now on won’t let anyone in. The fear that the challenger will also defeat their protector in a duel is great, because the prophecy that a new age is to come would then come true. And an idealistic woman is trying to make this prophecy come true so that the oppression of ordinary citizens will finally come to an end. Will the prophecy come true? And if so, what consequences will it have?
Why I wanted to read this standalone?
I would never have discovered this book on my own, so I am even happier that the author of the book provided me with a review copy so that I could write an honest review of it. After I received the message, I first read the blurb and was immediately excited. Because a young and strong woman trying to fulfil a prophecy could hit exactly my nerve. Honestly, I am not yet tired of the idea of prophecies, on the contrary, they can be extremely exciting. Also, I was triggered again with the word political, I just love political stories. I find reading different views on problems extremely exciting, so I was very excited to read this book.
These aspects attracted me the most while reading.
- The concept that there are six different cities, each with its own protector, was new and unique to me. Because you can duel these protectors to become the protector of the city yourself. This actually doesn’t happen that often, because these protectors are some kind of gods, or at least considered to be. At the same time, each of the protectors rules his city quite differently. For example, one focuses on tyranny and someone else is seen more as a deity of a religion that does not allow any kind of freedom of expression. And thus the inhabitants of the respective city also each have a different way of depriving themselves of freedom.
- The conflict between rich and poor has reinforced the principle of different cities. For even if every citizen of the city faces the same oppression of the protector, the poorer are of course worse off, as in our world. Because they have no privileges, but must live in dilapidated dwellings and do the hard work. And as it happens, the book shows the parallels to our world. Because here, too, the aim is not to help the poorer populations, but on the contrary, one wants to strengthen the strong even more and the scum have to look after themselves. An exciting character, Marin, is concerned with the questions of how the city can be better governed and also wants to make decisions for the benefit of the poorer, which of course do not go down so well in the council. I think some politicians could take a leaf out of Marin’s book.
- In general, you can say that the world in this story is really great. Everything is described very extensively and you can imagine it all vividly. It’s nice to see that the main population is actually in the sometimes dreary cities and that there are few people in the countryside and everything is still left to nature. Nature also feels somehow abandoned, because really only animals live here and are left to their own devices. The animal world here also offers some interesting animals. For example, there are the lizards, on which you can ride. I always think of the Lizards from the series Avatar, the mongoose lizard, and imagine them in the same way. I was also fascinated by the owls here. Owls are such intelligent animals, but somehow, they have more of an animalistic and protective instinct here, although probably not against all humans :D.
- Shiara, one of the main characters, is a truly strong woman who has sacrificed her life to her destiny. She fights for the poor and wants to fight the regime of each city so that everyone can live in freedom. But in doing so, she does not weigh the consequences of her actions and only follows her goal. She means well for the poor, but unfortunately you can’t just throw an entire government overboard and hope that everything will be better afterwards. Shiara’s story is well linked to the events of Marin’s story. Because through Marin we see what traces Shiara leaves behind. He now has to deal with the political issues that Shiara left behind and that she wants nothing to do with. This interplay of the two stories is so well intertwined that even though the two are in different places, you can see the mutual influence. And finally, the third storyline that plays into the story and rounds out the whole concept of politics is the commoner Koralia, who gets involved in the revolution. Of course, this is very bloody and violent and makes Shiara’s deeds look bad again.
So what are my final thoughts about it?
In this book you have all the aspects that should be in a political book. There is blood, fighting, revolution, political intrigue and also political decisions to be made. This is coupled with a really exciting concept with the different cities and also with interesting characters. Also, the descriptions of the world are so vivid that you really just fly through the book. But what bothered me a little is that there are few conversations, so it remains more with the descriptions. As a result, the interesting characters don’t seem quite as profound and you can’t experience all the facets of their personalities. What really bothered me, however, was the concept of the sword. It just didn’t fit into the story and I think it could have been implemented better. But I have to say that despite these two points of criticism, the book was able to captivate me throughout the pages. Everything was done right here in terms of story, worldbuilding and character design. Because the plot of social change was described just perfectly. I think in the end you don’t know whether a revolution will bring something good or not. Sadly, it is just a standalone, I wish I could have read more about this world!
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