Did you ever wonder if you could truly sympathize with a villain?
In Kenettra, a deadly plague of blood fever left hundreds dead and others outwardly marked by the experience. These marked, called malfetto, are abominations to their families who believe they ruin lives and reputations. Adelina Amouteru is one of these malfetto, marked by her silver hair and missing eye. She longs to be beloved by her father like her twin sister, but he only sees her as one of two things: an investment as a wealthy man’s mistress (or something else infinitely more worse) or a burden. But some malfettos have unique gifts like the Reaper and the Windwalker who strike fear into the hearts of Kenettra’s citizens. These are the Young Elites.
When Adelina’s father secretly sells her for a large sum of gold, Adelina attempts to escape in the night but is caught. Fearing for her life and enraged at her treatment, Adelina summons wraiths-shadows-phantoms who scare her father and cause him to be trampled to death. Though she runs, the Inquisition Axis catches up with her and hauls her off to be executed for her crimes. Just when she is about to be burned to death on a scaffold, she is rescued by none other than the Reaper himself. Taken to live with undercover with the Young Elites, Adelina is tested and trained as one of them, but there are a few differences that set her apart. For one, her gifts have marked her as dark and powerful, a threat against her new friends. Two, the Leader of the Inquisition has blackmailed her as a spy against the Young Elite. Three, she is falling in love with the Reaper. In embracing her new power and status with the Young Elites, she changes the fate of her people and her nation forever.
This is possibly one of my most favorite new reads of 2015 so far. (I know it was published last fall, but I’m behind here.) I just loved reading about and being compelled to love a villain. You can’t really make up your mind whether you like Adelina, and this is a pretty cool thing for a main character. I liked Enzo (the Reaper) and Raffaele and the Architect and the other two girls, but Teren and Dante I abhorred. I was intrigued by the setting. I almost got the feeling that I was playing a video game with this fantasy novel as it had many elements of Assassin’s Creed, only more magical based (what with the inclusion of rich and prominent prostitutes and the obviously dangerous Young Elites who resemble assassins, not to mention upset people rioting or being murdered at whim by those in power). I also really enjoyed that I couldn’t predict what was coming. Entirely new ground, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book The Rose Society out this October.
Spoiler-ish without details: Let me just say, I was in no way prepared for what happened in the final two chapters. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the next book. Seriously!