A huge thank you to Harper360YA who hosted the giveaway for these arcs over the YALC weekend, I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to win one.
So the blurb for this book (taken from Goodreads) is:
Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.
Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family’s taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn’t have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn’t been seen in centuries.
When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games. The fights put Madoc in Ash’s path, and she realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.
But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.
This was one of my most anticipated books for 2020 and it did not disappoint, it now holds pride of place in my top 10 books of the year. I’ve not read anything by Kristen before but I have read Sara’s Steam Raider’s duology which I absolutely LOVED.
I loved the elemental magic system in this book. We have multiple gods who each have a different type of elemental magic (fire, earth, water, etc.) and they each rule over their own country. Each country have mortal children born with the same powers as the god that ruled them. Wars have very few casualties as the gods choose champions who will then go face to face in the arena against the champion picked by the other country, and whichever champion wins is the winner of the war, however the gods are very petty and will start wars over the tiniest thing – literally like a baby throwing it’s toys out of the pram.
I loved the main two characters with all my heart; we have Maddoc who lives in the Earth god’s country but is Undivine, his Divine father threw him out when he showed he had no powers and a poor Divine family took him in and his adoptive brother Elias cheat in street fights which helps them get some extra money for the family but also gets them into a spot of bother. I love Maddoc, he’s an absolute sweetheart who just wants to protect his family and there are things about him which we learn in this book, some I was shocked at and others not so much. Then we have Ash who is the daughter of the Fire god’s champion, Ash accidentally causes a – very petty – war between her god and the Earth god and so Ash and Maddoc meet. There is lots of scheming and plotting and so much action in this book, both from the arena fights and then the outcome of aforementioned scheming and plotting, that I really struggled to put it down. There is also a pretty predictiable romance side plot but it didn’t take away from the main plot although I think (and hope) the romance will be a bigger feature in the sequel… which I am so excited for and don’t want to wait until next year for.
So if you like books with an elemental magic system, gladiators, politics and schemeing then this is definitely a book for you, I highly recommend it and it’s actually already out now so no excrutiating wait for a pre-order.