A political fantasy, set in a steampunk world, and populated by high fantasy races. The story of a magical world on the verge of the industrial rebellion, being held in check by hate groups against race and culture. It`s driven by an interesting concept, but it`s the characters who make it work.
Determined is a curious leader, while Victory makes for an interesting ally-slash-foil. Denning is a country falling apart at almost every level, saddled with a dedicated, yet ineffectual leader. There`s a lot going on here, but it`s Determined`s growth and evolution that makes the story work. He`s neither your typical fantasy youth, looking to come of age, nor your cliched hero, just looking for a purpose. Instead, he`s a fallible leader with an honest desire to do better, despite himself.
The writing here is strong, although the pacing is a bit awkward, the end comes on rather abruptly. It`s not an action-packed novel, but there are moments of conflict, drama, and even combat. It`s really a story of what lies behind the conflict, the decisions that lead to combat, and what it takes to play that role. Decidedly unusual, but largely entertaining. Stick with it for the few dry spots early on, and you`ll be pleasantly surprised.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins