The book started strongly, sort of somewhat dramatic, as we meet Nazafareen, a young nomadic girl, losing her sister to a wight, a form of Druj or an undead creature. From there the book began with Nazafareen struggling to move on from what happened to her sister. A chance for revenge came one day when she was given the opportunity to become one of the Water Dogs, or soldiers who’s one job is to kill Drujs. Filled with determination in her heart, she left the mountains of her clan and moved to the palace to train.
Being a Water Dog entails one to be bonded to a Daeva, or a tamed Druj. They will be linked both physically and emotionally and they will fight together with the Water Dog having the upper control with the Daeva’s use of power. Whatever one feels, the other feels too. Nazafareen’s assigned Daeva was Darius, a boy with a complicated past. The book then follow the two’s budding romance as they struggle to find their identity and resolve their past in a magical world which is in the midst of a political crisis. Lies about who the real person to believe, webs of deceit by those who are in power and conspiracies about allegiances served as the stories playing ground.
First of all, let me say first that this book’s cover is so gorgeous. It’s color combination really stands out. What came with that awesome cover was the book’s amazing premise. It has a fair amount of epic fight scenes with elemental bending abilities and magical powers. If that’s not still exciting to you, the book was inspired by some bits of 330 B.C. Greek and Persian history mixed together. Awesome right? The architectural and geographical details on the book were also patterned during that era and being a history-junkie that I am and considering all that I indicated above, you must be expecting that I am over the moon now, but sadly no. Not totally. I went into this book with a lot of expectations but after a couple of pages in, I started noticing the problems with this book.
My main problem was with the book’s story line structure. Some of the chapters end so abruptly that I have no choice but to scratch my head and just continue leafing through the pages. The scenes moves so fast especially at the first few chapters which greatly affected the book’s foundation for me. I like fast-paced stories but this book took it to the extreme that I as a reader felt that I’m missing a lot. How Nazafareen got into the palace and finished her training moved so fast that I doubted her capabilities in becoming a heroine. There were a lot of things going on. I felt like a lot things came popping up from the author’s mind while she’s writing the book and she’s pouring it all randomly in the story with the fear that she’ll forget it. The road to the plot became very rough.
At some point, the sense of continuity in the story line will just be missing. The story jumps so quickly that I am always confused as to how really long the days have passed. One time the characters were talking about an upheaval, then suddenly there’s a celebration, then in an instant they were on a polo type of game then it switches immediately back to the upheaval issue. If the author could have just weeded out those unnecessary parts in the story and sticked to the main plot line, I believe, this book could’ve been better. The one that I am most frustrated about was, the book has this LGBT theme going on at one point and I hate how it ended so abruptly. That could’ve worked well if given more background story and more pages for it to develop. It could’ve at least provoked more emotions to the readers. I am upset about this book because it abruptly ends promising story lines and blubbers on unnecessary parts.
The characters are promising. Nazafareen is this tough yet sensitive girl whose plan for revenge took her on a journey far more unbelievable than what she expected. Darius is this complex young man with a troubled past but slowly trying to rebuild himself. Yes, I am really sad that I was not able to connect to them. There was no enough background given to them. I wish there could’ve been more interaction between Nazafareen and her family after she left her clan because after the first mention of her family in the first chapter, they were no longer mentioned on the next chapters. Darius’ history, especially her parents could’ve been added so as to give more drama to his character. As for the other characters, it seems like they were just being described but they were not actually there. Being just the first in the series, I really hope that the characters will be more fleshed out in the next book. A deeper background about the characters would definitely help.
The author did well though in her world-building. The use of simple descriptions worked well my with imagination in picturing the world that she created. It worked for me because it was not all too overwhelming and it was just enough for me to visualize the world.
I only managed to appreciate the story a quarter away from finishing it. The last quarter was the book’s somewhat redeeming part. That’s the part where it all took off. I guess this was where the author already found her footing and the book stabilized by then. There’s now the sense of tension, excitement and intrigue. The twist with Alexander the Great being mentioned is unexpected. I am also very intrigued with the book’s main villain, Neblis. I really hope that the next book will have the right amount of pacing. I hope that this momentum will be sustained coming to the next book. I will be looking forward for more twists and turns.
3 stars out of 5.
Author: Kat Ross
Source: Provided for Review
Part of a Series: Yes (The Fourth Element Series #1)
Release Year: May 2016
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
No. of Pages: 326 pages
Note: Thank you to Rafael of The Royal Polar Bear Reads for providing the review copy in exchange for a honest and unbiased review as part of The Midnight Sea Blog Tour. 🙂 In no way was my opinions about the book influenced by someone else.
About the Author
I’ve always loved to read more than anything in the world, especially so-called genre stories—mysteries, fantasy, sci-fi, thrillers, horror. I like books that take you by the hand and lead you out of the mundane. That ease back the curtain and show you the wondrous and dark and unexpected lurking just around the next corner. I worked in journalism for a long time before I returned to writing fiction. Guess which is more fun?