Top positive review
on 6 September 2015
ealed) and her novel occupation of food taster. The story is written from Yelena’s perspective and it is clear how resourceful Yelena is. She does not like to ask for help. She is not a whiny damsel in distress character. Instead she accepts the punishment for her actions and to plan ahead so that she has options.
Valek in the beginning appears to be cold, cruel and selfish, with no apparent redeeming feature. However as the books progress he becomes a more likeable character. No he is not the perfect boyfriend for the heroine, rather we see his personality and that, while at times he remains a mysterious character he exudes a quiet confidence.
All the characters have been developed so that they have their own background and quirks. For example Janco rhymes when he fights. They is also Ari, Janco’s fighting partner, and co-mentor to Yelena. Janco and Ari’s scenes were always light-hearted and full of banter. It always made me smile when I saw their names on the page.
While there is a romance, it is not overwhelming nor does it feel like the plot is overridden by the love story, instead it stays nicely burning in the background.
The one thing that really bothered me about this book was the extreme violence and use of rape against Yelena, which was written in a causal style, which made me feel very uncomfortable.
Yelena’s story is a journey from being slated to be executed, to being given a second chance (even if there is still a chance of dying) and how to make the most of opportunities given to you and what you can achieve.
Overall this is a light-hearted fantasy (especially if you ignore the violence) that is easy to read and will appeal to a wide number of people.