To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
I just tried for the third (fourth?) time to finish this book and honestly I can't. I've gotten about halfway through, and I'm out.
The main crime is that it's boring. The plot is very predictable and shallow. The 'romance' between Kali and whatshisname is dull and unsupported by the text. The worldbuilding is nominally based on ancient Sumeria with some possible Indian inspiration, though the author is careful to say the religion and government elements are her own creation (possibly to head off criticisms of cultural appropriation?). Regardless of the source or inspiration, the worldbuilding is also poorly done. The author included some set dressing and characters word vomiting explanations, but it was ultimately unconvincing and lacked the richness of even a basic costume drama. Every time I got the tiniest bit interested in the worldbuilding, either the narrative would immediately veer into something else, or it turned into another surface explanation. Yawn.
I admit that I was suckered in by the promise of woman warriors, tournament/gladiatrix fighting, and the fact that the ebook+audio combo was only a few dollars. Sadly underdelivered on the fighting and pro-woman narrative. They spent more time talking about fighting and riding in carriages than in actual combat. Maybe it gets better later in the book, but again I just could not finish. I'm also just dead tired of the 'it was the time period where women were treated like crap' excuse, especially when the author - by their own words - created the setting and politics themself. It seemed like the Sisterhood was an attempt at a woman-dominant institution meant to push back at a male-driven political hierarchy (based on another word-vomit explanation of a goddess founding the Sisterhood to promote, well, sisterhood). But honestly, they were still beholden to the rajah, forced to provide a sacrificial lamb in order to continue some form of political independence. So the options at the start of the narrative are to either live in relative isolation with a tenuous sense of safety, or to end up wife to a man who (SPOILER) is liable to pass his wives around to his generals (END SPOILER). And I get that the rajah is defying the gods' wishes with those actions and is Being a Bad Dude, but come on. The rape aspects, and coercion thinly veiled as culture, didn't do a thing to make the story more accessible or convincing - they just made me tired and frustrated. The coercive structures also came part and parcel with the internalized misogyny shown by the Pretty Bitch characters. Ugh.
The only interesting part of the book was Kali's friendship with Jaya (though even that got spoiled for me). Their relationship and interactions were so much more convincing that I wish Kali and Jaya were the romance plot, not Kali and Deven. I just had to look up his name he's so boring. I guess I was supposed to believe in some kind of instant chemistry between Kali And Devin, but absolutely no work was put into it on the page. They read like two people who met at a bus stop and felt obligated to keep making small talk because they live in the same building. By comparison, when (SPOILER) Kali has to say goodbye to Jaya when she gets chosen to leave the monastery (END SPOILER), I legit teared up. Their relationship, even what little of it was shown, was emotional and believable. But then Jaya gets put in Really Bad Circumstances and I just couldn't stand to see her get killed or traumatized even worse to further the plot. That's right about when I realized I'd be better off not finishing the book.
So in the end, yet another uninspired example of the same old YA plot, just with saris instead of petticoats or zombies. Nothing about the writing or story stood out enough to save this ritz cracker of a book. The only part I enjoyed ended up being the reason I couldn't finish. Don't waste your time - I wish I hadn't wasted mine.
Don't bother reading this book. IMHO, it is very poorly written. Amazon labeled it as "fantasy" but the story loosely follows a Tibetan monk kinda way of life, with flimsy copy-cat like ideas from "The Hunger Games". Nothing original or remotely interesting in this story. I was yawning about 5 pages into the story, but kept on to more than half way so I could say I gave it a chance. I deleted it from my Kindle, and will not follow the series further.
I truly hate that the market is encouraging authors to write books without an ending. Ms King is a talented writer and I am sure she is more than capable of telling a complete story . I enjoyed the story, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to reach the end of a book and find that the story has no sense of having reached an end.