From what I can gather this (maybe) takes place 17 years after The Winner’s Curse on Horta, an isolated community whose strict caste system and dividing walls have a sinister history no one can remember. Teenaged Nirrim is resigned to her place at the bottom of the caste, until Sid, a rare outsider to the island, arrives to investigate and find the source of magic hidden on the island.
Nirrim has never met someone as outspoken, brash, and confident as Sid. Nirrim begins to fall for her even though their futures have vastly different paths. I like that Sid gets to take on the messy, impulsive and dashing heartthrob role that usually goes to a male character.
While reading the book I ran up against the same issue I had with The Winner’s Curse, which is I couldn’t place what “historical” time period the book was set in, so I had a hard time fully diving into the world. With that said the plotiness of the book kept me reading as the characters find more and more clues about the island’s origin; this plus the all-consuming blossoming romance between Nirrim and Sid made this a pretty solid read.
While I felt like I didn’t fully understand Sid’s backstory because I hadn’t read the other series you don’t need to read The Winner’s Curse to enjoy this book. The ending was a lot to wrap my head around at once, but Rutkoksi sets up a cliffhanger that has just the right amount of stakes.
1/2 of the blogging duo at Books and Sensibility, I have been blogging about and reviewing books since 2011. I read any and every genre, here on the blog I mostly review Fantasy, Adult Fiction, and Young Adult with a focus on audiobooks.