2016, 304p, YA Historical Romance
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review
When Rishi is kidnapped and taken to Zitól, she faces an unthinkable future: she is to be sacrificed to appease the gods. To survive in this place, where greed, lust, and fear eclipse compassion, Rishi befriends the selfish and ignorant king, only to discover that he may not have the power to save her after all.
I loved the author's first book, The Cenote, so I was excited for this book! (You can learn more about it and read my review here.)
Rishi lives on an island and loves hearing her grandfather's stories about Zitol. When she is a teenager, a tragedy occurs on her island and she and four other girls are kidnapped. They are scared and do what they can to survive. When they get to their destination, they learn the horrible truth of why they were kidnapped and Rishi once again fights to survive.
I'm glad to say that I loved this book, too! Rishi's life on the island was fascinating. She was sheltered, safe and happy. Then she was kidnapped. There were parts of that experience that were hard to read and the author did a great job getting those points across without going into graphic detail. Rishi showed great courage even during times when the consequences could have been severe.
I hoped that Rishi's life would improve when she got to Zitol, but it was also full of challenges. She was surrounded with characters that were hard to like and ready to mold her into someone else, and I hoped she would stay strong. The book is narrated by Nadal, the young, selfish king. He was a character that I wasn't impressed with at all, and I kept hoping my opinion of him would change.
This book is full of great lessons and layers so I'm sure I'll get even more out of it next time I read it. One lesson I found especially interesting was that the people in Zitol couldn't read so they were dependent on the leaders to teach them what they felt was important to know. So, yes, you can imagine who got the most benefit from that. This is a book I will definitely share with my daughter when she gets a little older. Due to the content (violence, innuendo, and references to rape--all within context of the culture they live in), I would recommend it to more mature readers. It's an amazing book and well worth reading! I'm already looking forward to the author's next book!