– goodreads –
Well, this was a mixed bag.
Positives first: I loved the setting. Sasanian Iran is something I haven’t seen used before and it seems well-researched – and interesting enough that I want to do some research of my own. Really, if you want me to get interested in a place or topic, just include it in a fantasy book. As far as the characters go, Waray the half-div stole the show completely. She’s blood-thirsty and a bit crazy and a prankster and šo-fun to read about. The highlight of the book for sure. Oh, and I almost forgot: the creative insults and the stupid puns. A nice addition if you’re into that.
Unfortunately, there was a massive fatal flaw: the pacing. In the first half of the book, it’s disjointed and all over the place, with massive time-jumps between the chapters. This made it hard to connect to the story/characters and generally stay invested. It starts picking up nicely at around 60% and the number of jumps decreases, but there were still parts where I felt like it stagnated. The final twist also left something to be desired – a character’s motivations and sudden personality change seemed to come out of nowhere – but I don’t know if this was because I’m a sloppy reader (which I definitely am) or it was really so unforeshadowed.
The second book improved on many of these aspects – the pacing was a lot smoother, without any awkward jumps, but the plot seemed to meander without a clear point at times. Puns are almost entirely gone. The characters were more consistent and somewhat more developed as well, though having little idea what one of them was saying half the time put a bit of a damper on enjoyment. It also ends of a cliffhanger. I know, it’s all very vague, but I can’t say much more without serious spoilers.
Readable enough, but leaves something to be desired.
Enjoyment: 3/5 overall
Execution: 2/5 for the first book, 3/5 for the second
Recommended to: people interested in non-Western settings who can forgive some first-book roughness
Not recommended to: people who dislike quirky/gimmicky characters