From Goodreads: "Chronicling the rise of the Keepers, this is the stunning prequel to Andrea Cremer's internationally bestselling Nightshade trilogy!
Sixteen-year-old Ember Morrow is promised to a group called Conatus after one of their healers saves her mother's life. Once she arrives, Ember finds joy in wielding swords, learning magic, and fighting the encroaching darkness loose in the world. She also finds herself falling in love with her mentor, the dashing, brooding, and powerful Barrow Hess. When the knights realize Eira, one of their leaders, is dabbling in dark magic, Ember and Barrow must choose whether to follow Eira into the nether realm or to pledge their lives to destroying her and her kind.
With action, adventure, magic, and tantalizing sensuality, this book is as fast-paced and breathtaking as the Nightshade novels."
Literally hours before I picked up this book to began reading it I had been complaining on Twitter that it had been FOREVER since I had last been passionate about a book (or more accurately 29 books read, the last book being "The Golden Lily" by Richelle Mead) and then I read this and all complaints were soon forgotten. Because this book is truly one to get passionate about (which I must admit I was quite surprised by, as I wasn't the world's biggest fan of Andrea's "Nightshade" series). Without a doubt I
Despite being an epic fantasy of sorts I didn't find the book, specifically the language, to be heavy in the slightest- once I started reading it I was quite literally unable to put it down due to said fact, coupled alongside a well paced, interesting story line. Furthermore, despite there being a quite large cast of characters I didn't find myself growing tired of being introduced to one after another, nor did I find myself confusing them, as I find oft happens in books of this nature- each character was so well developed and complex, truly their own person.
Included amongst said well developed and complex characters was main character Ember- a noblemen's daughter who wanted more from life than being a mere housewife expected to do no more arduous task than raise children and lift a needle to an embroidery hoop- who wanted a life of action and adventure, which she not only got, but excelled at. She is perchance one of the strongest heroines I have ever had the pleasure of reading of before.
That being said, I wish that Barrow, both Ember's mentor and love interest, had been a tad more developed- he was a bit too standoffish and stoic for my liking- I think that had that been done he would have been even more so swoon-worthy!
All in all, as becomes evident from this review I highly recommend this book to everyone- especially fans of Tamora Pierce, Robin La Fevers, and the likes of. A cast of amazingly developed characters, an epic plot quite unlike anything like I have ever read before, and a fast paced story line makes it a must read. I truly cannot wait to see what Andrea has in store for this amazing cast of characters in the next book!
Memorable lines from this book:
"I've never considered whether you'd get to the ceremony faster rolling instead of walking, but I'm game to find out. Would you like to start over from the very top of the staircase?" (pg. 49).
"Alistair is as fine as option as Ember. He may not play the part of a helpless young woman, but he'll easily appear an overconfident fool" (pg. 231).
"What are you asking of me?"
"Too much." He drew a shuddering breath. "I thought myself strong, but discover I am weak as the next man. Perhaps weaker" (pg. 411).
"They set off at a dead run... Two riders flying to over the earth as if trying to escape the very night" (pg. 431).
I received this book from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.