My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Before I get into why this book is only 3 stars I will say some positives. I was always engaged in the storyline; there was never a moment where I thought “I should put this down” or not finish. It was an entertaining and easy to follow plot, and though there was no massive world building the author also never created a confusing environment. Everything that happened had a complete explanation.
If you are worried about spoilers you should stop reading here.
The best part of this book was the villains. The Rajah, the Warlord, the warlord’s daughter and the first wife of Rajah Tarek were the driving force of the entire story. Just about every dynamic moment directly stemmed from them Kalinda was almost never acting on her own, but either under direct order or in direct reaction to something they did. In the end she decided to make her first proactive decision, which showed a good character arc I’m sure we will see for the rest of the series, but that doesn’t stop her presence from being underwhelming at times in the text.
Deven was also a little underwhelming, his only purpose centered around Kalinda, so he lacked a bit of his own identity, one I am sure will grow as the series goes on. His brother though caught my attention and stole every scene he was in. I was not a fan of their instalove either.
Netesa was so meh to me. She was the first sorta minor antagonist we see, but she’s so irrelevant throughout the book that their later friendship just didn’t do anything for me.
Jaya was my least favorite character (that you’re supposed to like). It’s just assumed their best friends on the first page but there is almost no connection between them except what Kalinda says. They behave like two women with a long (and honestly romantic) history, but there were like no flashbacks, and very few anecdotes to build the relationship up so I only knew they were best friends (or soulmates) cause the text said so. As such, her death fell flat with me.
Overall, I will finish this series, I will probably be entertained by this series, but. . . . yeah.