Thanks, David for lending me this book – I honestly couldn’t put it down. I was totally absorbed by the story of Zuven’s journey to discover who she was and what she wanted. I also loved Yetala, a young noblewoman ambitious, strong, courageous and breaking new ground in the military school. Great strong female characters. Although a few times I did wish Zuven would get more involved or get into a heated discussion.
The world that Dugan has created is fascinatingly different from any I have encountered before, possibly with a middle-eastern feel, although I can’t be certain. Mountainous, yet arid, feudal mixed with a little byzantine or maybe islam? I have a great picture of the world she has created, particulary the rural part. Dugan has created a fascinating cultural picture complete with visual, written and physical details. I loved the idea of intricately sewed/painted flagscarf – it reminded me of beautiful handpainted silk scarves I’ve seen from Indonesia.
Dugan is an Australian writer, and a Queenslander. This was her first book and I was interested to see it was worked on at both Clarion and Veruna. I would be interested to read other books that were published out of this process (perhaps I already have and don’t know it).
I loved Grace’s first book, and I can’t wait for the next one. The book never went in the direction I was expecting, and while in the end I was disappointed with Zuven’s decision, she was following what her heart told her to do, which is what the book is ultimately about. A more experienced reviewer than me might call Grace “a refreshingly new voice in fantasy” and they’d be right, too.