96 points, 5 stars!
Warning: Cliffhanger (NOOOO! GIMME MORE!)
War has its cost, and the Servants of the Bright Heart and the Servants of the Dark Heart have been locked in a struggle that has defined life—and death—for millennia. But the end is coming, and only the Lady who has served the Bright Heart for the whole of her immortal life has seen it, in a vision that spans time and demands the highest of prices.
Erin is a healer, and against the nature of her birthright she has learned to wield a sword and use it to bring death to the enemies of her people. Scarred by the losses that war always demands, she is the chosen champion of Light and the enemy of darkness.
But no magical sword or simple quest awaits Erin. Her journey and her doom lie in the Dark Heart’s stronghold, and in the hands of her people’s greatest enemy.
Three more years had passed in her search for an end to the war, but she had found it. One isolated path, one frail possibility, offered hope. She had walked that road, over and over, looking for any other answer.
My co-blogger, Strix, started this book and told me it was everything I have been looking for. So I can only thank her, because I loved reading this so much. I didn’t want to sleep once I started.
The premise of this series is that there is a light side, and there is a dark side, and they’ve been at war since they met for the first time. Which is also when they created life. Very common premise for an epic fantasy series. However, what made this unique, and for me absolutely perfect, is that the First of the Light side went looking in the future to figure out how to end this never ceasing war. She found one path towards the end of fighting, but she knew she would have to sacrifice to see this future play out. She just has to believe – in both herself and her pawns.
Enter Erin, the First’s granddaughter. We meet her as she is just a little girl. Her entire life has been war, and all she wants to do is fight for her side as soon as she is able. You watch Erin grow up through Into the Dark Lands. And you learn what the First means by having to sacrifice to see the future without war come to be.
In a lot of ways, it is really hard for me to figure out just what to say and how much in this review. The first half of the book and the second half of the book feel so utterly different. In the first half, it is mostly Erin just growing up in a world where they are always, always at war, wanting to be a warrior herself. It is slow and it is deliberate. I liked being with her during this time, because it really sort of hurt to be her.
Then there is the second half of the book, where there is so much to talk about, but is in such a different place I can’t bring myself to do so. That ending, though? My, what a cliffhanger. I need more.