First, I absolutely loved this book. Second, I have no idea why it’s noted as ‘Frozen meets Mad Max’ in the Goodreads summary. The ‘Mad Max’ aspect I totally get. But Frozen? Why? Because it’s…sisters? This book is more akin to Final Fantasy, in really good ways. It’s got the same vibe and aesthetic I love about those games, while presenting a unique world, intriguing characters, and world-shattering events.
Odessa is a goddess, sickly and weak, her mother enlists her help to keep the floods away from their city, a place constantly in darkness. Lan, a healer and ranger, is roped into being Odessa’s bodyguard, making her growing feelings for the goddess even more difficult. Haidee wants nothing more than to work as a mechanic, but as a goddess she has other duties to attend to, including finding a suitor. But when she realises she might be able to undo The Breaking that destroyed their world and put her city in constant daylight, it’s Arjun she turns to, a desert scavenger.
The two groups – Odessa and Lan with a large group, and Haidee and Arjun travelling on their own – come across various dangerous as they try to get to the place where the world might be healed.
The set-up to this is really great, and the worldbuilding is threaded through so seamlessly, you build up a solid image of this place without really thinking about. It just grabs you and draws you in, and the main focus are the relationships between the various characters, as they make the journey.
And it’s the relationships that really make this book shine. From the main cast of characters to those surrounding them, the Devoted travelling with Odessa with unclear motives, to Arjun’s family and the nobles Haidee must deal with, as well as the goddess’ who rule each city, sisters to each other and mothers to Haidee and Odessa.
Throughout the book, I was convinced of what was going to happen towards the end, but honestly it kind of surprised me, with characters taking different directions than I expected, while remaining fitting with what had come before.
Rin Chupeco has created an interesting, intriguing world populated by characters I loved reading. I have to admit, when I finished and darted off to Goodreads, I was overjoyed to discover there is going to be a second book. This book definitely deserves it.