Length: 412 pgs / 10 hrs 51 mins audio

Overall: 🐒🐒🐒🐒

Storyline:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Writing Style:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Character Development:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Enjoyment:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

‘A necklace is a great way to allow someone to choke you without having to bring their own supplies,’ she muttered.”

Chosen by K. F. Breene

The Story:

It is said that when war threatens the world, one individual will be selected by prophecy to lead the Shadow Warriors out of the Land of Mist and reclaim the freedom which has been stolen.

Shanti has grown up under the constant threat of war. Since she helped her people defeat a raiding party by using a special power, she’s been a hunted woman. Carrying rare abilities and an uncanny fighting aptitude, Shanti is the only hope of salvation for her people. The problem is, she doesn’t believe in her own divinity, and when she flounders, she nearly fails in the duty hanging so heavy on her shoulders.

It seems like any other day when Sanders and his band of misfit boys find a foreign woman clinging to life in the wastelands. Oblivious to the weapon they now have in their possession, they are content to harbor the mysterious woman until she is well enough to continue her journey. But when the war spreads its arms and lands on her borrowed doorstep, Shanti has no choice but to reveal her secrets, plunging her saviors into danger.

If they band with her, they will face certain death. But to trade her to Xandre, the warlord desperate to add her to his war machine, would be to give up their entire way of life.

Key Elements:

Fantasy, New Adult, High Fantasy, Fighting, War, Prophecy

Others in Series:

Books 0.5: Forged in Blood

Book 2: Hunted

Book 3: Β Shadow Lands

Book 4: Invasion

Book 5: Siege

Book 6: Overtaken

Why This Rating?

This is a book full of witty one liners, strong personalities, more than a few fist fights, and a women just trying to complete her quest. And I mean, talk about a strong female protagonist! Shanti has become my girl, man! Perhaps I have been reading to many passive-aggressive lead characters and I was just itching for a change, – who knows – but K.F. Breene gives Shanti all the mouth and the fists to back her claims. It was great reading about this war-minded lady trying to survive and save the world (in a sense). She has to rely on what she has been taught to get through this foreign land. I really liked the fact the the main character didn’t quite fit in with the world the story was taking place in. The city she stumbles across in far closer to a version of our world (closer to the late 1800s); whereas, her village was even more primitive than that and yet just as thriving. She had to improve on the language of the land throughout her time with them. As a whole, it was quite nice seeing this different approach to writing.

I will say though, Breene doesn’t shy away from anything in her book. This book touches on a number of topics from war and all the pillaging bad stuff that happens in the wake of it to social constructs and the effects it has on everyone in society. Also, sexuality both the attraction and description wasn’t off the table either. I will give you a warning though, there is mentions of rape within the book. None of the actions but the warnings/heads up moments towards Shanit (being that she is a woman) while she is traveling alone in this hostile world. All of these topics where never in malice thoughout the book. If anything, I felt the author was trying to keep the reality of the world honest for the reader and her characters. Especially for a female lead traveling alone in a dangerous world where everyone wants her for one reason or another.

I was disappointed that the characters didn’t have more of a development within this book. I don’t know if it was because the author knew she was going to have more books to work on this. It felt like a lot of that was left to be worked on more in the second book. This book seemed to focus more toward the world building and plot setup. These are and can be quite complex characters; however, it seemed very surface level tapping for them as a whole. Hopefully there will be more as the series continues.

If any of you read this through Audible (as I did because the first book is free with the membership – just so you know) the voice reader was rough. The voices she chose to use for the characters are all very similar and made it a bit hard to distinguish at first who was who. Also the pace at which it is read was very stagnate. There were some scenes that were meant to be quieter and emotional, but the reader just blew through it at the same pace and level as the rest of the story. Or a great use of sarcasm would happen and unless I was paying full attention to the words, I never would have known. She didn’t even trying with the inflections or the almost “swaying” sounds some sarcastic words have (an example would be saying the word “Right” in a very sarcastic way. It has that swing/swaying sound too it). I know that is nitpicking a reader, but those are some moment that can differ you from an everyday, okay reader to a voice that I want to go out and find more that you’ve read. Essentially, the book was read kind of monotone and I was struggling with following along. I knew that I wanted to finish the story because the book was really interesting and enjoyable. However, the reader just about turned me away. I’m already listening to book 2 (with the same reader) and I have just accepted that it is going to sound weird at this point.

Despite the fact that the reader was a bit difficult to listen to, this story was a lot of fun to read. I loved the one liners the author fit in. The way Shanti has to figure out the rules and language in the story is fantastic. And it shines a light on the typical procedures a woman is supposed to follow stay small, don’t fight, let the man handle things, marry, learn to sew, cook, fashion is everything, etc.. which, like Shanti, I say is bullshit. It is WAY better now and I am not here to shut down or hate on anyone, but Breene clearly uses Shanti as her own expression of dislike towards these thoughts and it shines clearly through the book. Especially since Shanti can’t stand any of these practices either. i.e. Needlepoint = punishment and Fashion = her nemesis.

I am looking forward with continuing the series with Shanti and I hope to see more of this mysterious, wannabe white knight Cayan too!

Time to get lost in the next story!

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