TW: DUBIOUS CONSENT
This is such an odd book.
The writing is really good, as is the pacing. The trouble is that it seems as if there are three different books in one, and only one of the three is actually good...
The first part of the book is about Kinara stupidly risking her whole crew for her own personal revenge, in spite of being repeatedly told that everything she was doing was wrong.
I disliked it immensely.
Kinara is selfish, wilfully ignorant, and gives no thought to sacrificing her entire crew to bloodthirsty barbarian enslavers just so she can get her revenge.
Not a great start to make your heroine so unlikeable.
One thing I really HATED about this part of the book was how dubious consent was.
Mind you, this is never presented as a good thing and is discussed throughout the book, but I found it was treated with levity, more as a plot point, to add drama to the whole thing, than as a serious issue.
I like to read about enthusiastic content, not about drugged beverages and blackmailing someone into going to bed with you by threatening to kill their friends. That's not sexy. That's not romantic. It's sick.
Thankfully we move on to the next part of the book which deals with Kinara learning about Az-kye society and how to fit in.
I liked this part better. Kinara was much more likeable, she truly evolved as a character.
Then we get to the best part of the book!
I think MacArran should give this genre a rest and start writing political intrigue because she does it marvellously!
It was impossible to dislike Kinara here - she was incredibly, but believably, clever. She plotted, she played the political game, she did her best and her best was great.
This books gets 3 stars just for the last part!
So, if you can get past the trigger warning, give this book a try.
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