MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The sun's light shines bright over the land of Zapour, and only a select few can harness its power. But all power comes with a cost, and the world is not kind to those who refuse to pay it. Raiz Glaive, a strong shine wielder, was born into royalty, though even royals have to answer to someone. When the King Radiant sends one of his precious underlings to the Kingdom of Trost, Raiz quickly learns who holds the true power in the realm. After his sister is taken prisoner simply for having the violet eyes of a mystic, Raiz swears vengeance. But when an unwilling father stands in his way, Raiz promises to take revenge into his own hands. Dazen Glaive remains heir to the throne of Trost, and a sworn defender of the King-Radiant, but he has not forgotten what happened to his sister, and will not forgive their cruelty. Forced to be the centrepiece of her "master's" twisted human art gallery, Isha remains a prisoner. Though she has not lost hope. Finding friends among fellow captives, she begins to formulate a plan for escape. Though what she discovers has a much more sinister bearing on the fate of all of Zapour.
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A stellar debut novel that grabs you and never lets go!
Mr. Schulz does a great job building an immersive fast paced story that has some Star Wars and Classical fantasy influences tied into it, and is free and clear of foul language. Having a great cast of diverse morally grey characters that are told with the perfect amount of detail to build pictures in your mind of the world of Zapour and the people that reside in it. In this multi-POV, Schulz also does a fantastic job building the relationships between his characters giving them a great deal of complexity.
“But there is more to life than misery. Sometimes we just have to work hard to find it. If you want to change yourself, you must fight. Take the first step, fight for what you believe in and make it a reality.”
The magic system is pretty cool, which is based on the sun. The magic is called shine and not everyone has the power to use it, but some have too much. It’s powerful and can be brutal. It has a similar effect on those that are “shine wielders” to how the Sun gives Superman his powers on Earth. Also, if you love animal companions, then you’re in luck! I absolutely love animal companions in stories, and this gives a very unique type of companion that I have yet to experience in any book so far!
“There are a dozen definitions for ‘Wrong’ in this world. We just have to decide which of them is the right one.”
As much as I enjoyed this and will 100% be continuing it, there were a few hiccups along the way. Because this is a debut author, it is somewhat expected to have a couple. It was a bit too predictable, almost everything that is foreshadowed is easily seen through. There were times when info was revealed too early on that should have been kept for a bigger reveal at or near the end for a bigger effect on the story. A couple times there was action that took place off scene, I only bring this up because there is one instance that should have happened for us to see. The chapter ends and then later we find out what happened, instead of seeing it.
Don’t get it twisted though, this is a great story that you are going to love! This should definitely be entered into Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO-8 next year.