Rating: 5/5 Stars
Synopsis:Game of Thrones meets Gladiator in this debut epic fantasy about a world caught in an eternal war, and the young man who will become his people’s only hope for survival.
The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.
Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.
Review: This was a book that has been on my radar since it’s traditionally published release. This was one of those books that thy hype was STRONG when it first came out, so that worried me a little bit. At the time I was also relatively new to the fantasy genre, and something about a “military fantasy” story scared me off. I finally decided to jump in this past week and I am SO glad that I did.
This book sucked me in immediately. From the prologue on I was completely hooked. My first praise for this book is actually the pacing. Somehow Winter has crafted a fast-paced plot with INCREDIBLE character development along the way. From the beginning, it felt like this book was just written for me. I love a fast-paced plot that sucks me in and keeps me engaged from the first page. I also LOVE politics in my fantasy and this certainly delivered. The magic system was GREAT. The world-building was immersive and built up perfectly. The ROMANCE was absolutely fantastic! As a fantasy and romance reader, it is HARD to find epic fantasy stories with a great romance, and Evan hit it out of the park with this one!
Overall this book was near-perfect. I do not think that there is a single thing that I would’ve changed or that I felt could’ve been done better, and that is so rare. This easily takes a spot in my Top 3 favorite books of all time. I don’t know how I am going to wait for the next book. This book left me wanting to go back and reread it immediately. I just want to be back in this world and with these characters all over again.