Synopsis: Before the massacre at Nariin, Enebish was one of the greatest warriors in the Sky King’s Imperial Army: a rare and dangerous Night Spinner, blessed with the ability to control the threads of darkness. Now, she is known as Enebish the Destroyer―a monster and murderer, banished to a monastery for losing control of her power and annihilating a merchant caravan.
Guilt stricken and scarred, Enebish tries to be grateful for her sanctuary, until her adoptive sister, Imperial Army commander Ghoa, returns from the war front with a tantalizing offer. If Enebish can capture the notorious criminal, Temujin, whose band of rebels has been seizing army supply wagons, not only will her crimes be pardoned, she will be reinstated as a warrior.
Enebish eagerly accepts. But as she hunts Temujin across the tundra, she discovers the tides of war have shifted, and the supplies he’s stealing are the only thing keeping thousands of shepherds from starving. Torn between duty and conscience, Enebish must decide whether to put her trust in the charismatic rebel or her beloved sister. No matter who she chooses, an even greater enemy is advancing, ready to bring the empire to its knees. (Amazon)
Publication Date: February 11, 2020
Genre: Fantasy / YA
Rating: 4 stars
This was wonderfully surprising, especially because when I dove for this book all I noticed was the synopsis. I completely missed the part stating that this is a retelling of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which is one of my favorite classics. So...bonus.
It took me a few chapters to really get into the swing of this book, but once it picked up, I was hooked. The story is interesting, with some intriguing characters and a driving plot.
I really enjoyed Enebish, and I tend to be really critical of female MC's. I usually find them lacking in some way or annoyingly overcompensating, but I greatly liked the way that her character shifts, grows, changes. The one time where I found this to falter was near the end of the story when Ghoa tricks her, captures her, and she's forced to betray Temujin. She went from someone who was making up her mind, gaining her strength, growing into her power, to such an easily manipulated and cheated person. On one hand, it makes sense, because Ghoa is a weakness for her, but on the other hand I thought that this could have been done a little better. Enebish could've fought that pull a little more, shown more struggle.
And Ghoa herself was a great antagonist. There was always something there, from the start, that had me mistrusting her. But you try to accept her, you try to look past peeks here and there of someone who is not what she claims to be. Her full reveal was not so much an eye-opener as it was a pleasure to behold—letting that wall down and allowing the reader to really see her for who she is. So damn good.
The plot twist took me by surprise. I was concentrating so hard on letting the story take me where it might, that I completely missed the hints of what was afoot. Who Temujin really is, who the Worm really is! Who so many others truly are. It does make sense, and it's such a greatly crafted plan, that I cannot wait to see how Enebish and Serik—whom I adored from the first glimpse of him; thank you Addie Thorley for writing a romantic interest which does not need to be the bad boy in the story...they're fun, but this is a nice change of pace—are going to pull out of this one and take the rest of the series from here.
I was very glad that Serik found his power (a power in a range of magic that I wish would have been explained and fleshed out more), and it's certainly going to come in handy, but I also found it a little too convenient. That always nags at me in novels, but, still...kudos to my boy.
So far, there's a lot of promise in this book. I can't wait to see what the second one has in store.