Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Midnight Sea (The Fourth Element #1) by Kat Ross

Title: The Midnight Sea (The Fourth Element #1)
Author: Kat Ross
Pages: 326
e-book: 2.39£
paperback 8.35£
Where you can buy it:
Plot summary: Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King's elite Water Dogs is that they leash wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.
Scarred by grief, she's willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he's possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other's emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.
As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius's past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake…

“They are the light against the darkness.
The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.
And they use demons to hunt demons….”

Let me start by saying that The Midnight Sea is one of the most original books I have read this year. Set around 300 A.C. during the Persian- Achaemenid Empire,  draws from Persian legends and the Zoroastrianism to wave an evocative tale full of action, magic and romance that totally blew me away.

The book opens up with Nazafareen (North Star) and her clan on a mountain pass in the middle of a snowstorm. It’s during the very first chapter that we get to know her little sister, Ashraf and one of the evil spirits that inhabit the Midnight Sea’s world, the Druj. It is one of them that ultimately causes Ashraf’s demise. This event sets everything in motion; it is Ashraf’s death that pushes Nazafareen to join the elite warriors of the Water Dogs in the hope to extract her revenge on her sister’s behalf.

“We’re the light against the darkness, never forget that Nazafareen”
The book managed to get and hold my attention from the very first chapter. And the first five chapters basically old the key to understand that world building. During these chapters, light is shed on key terms such as deavas and druj; and the administrative organization of the empire is explained (I don’t know about you but I wasn’t very familiar with satrap and satrapies).
 The very first chapters also hold some important time lapses and while in the first chapter we meet Nazafareen as eleven years old, in chapter two we find her already twelve training to join the ranks of the Water Dogs and in chapter three she’s already seventeen and about to be joined to the daveva chosen for her, Darius.  By chapter five Nazafareen is already nineteen and having spent the past two years being a full-fledged Water Dog. In truth I really liked the glimpse of Nazafareen’s past and training that was giving during those chapters. *thumbs up*
However, Nazafareen isn’t the only interesting character around, her daeva Darius is as much intriguing as her, and – on top of this – there are also a bunch of captivating secondary characters such as Illyas (Nazafareen’s capitain) and his daeva Tommas (he’s so sweet!), Tijah and Myyrri.
The antagonists have their appeal as well. We have the sinister and evil Queen of Bactria that commas and equally creepy squadron of necromancers.

 “Mountains dream. But a single dream my last a thousand years.”

The writing was fluid and smooth but without lacking detail. The pacing was good. I never felt bored and that is an accomplishment by itself. This book is a terrific mix of action, plot-twists and romance. And talking about the romance, it never over-powered the overall plot, it enhanced it. The world building was fantastic and entrancing.  I loved how Kat Ross managed to use the Persian Empire and its legends to wave a picturesque world full of intrigue, at times gloomy but still magnificent. 
The characters were great. Each one with his/her own well-defined personality. I appreciated greatly how they were far from perfect but they still loved each despite everything.  It made them feel human and very real. And... Nazafareen & Darius simply stole my heart away. 
“I would wait for him as long as I had to. A hundred years, a thousand. It didn’t matter. Only that we were together, and no one would ever take him from me again.”

I adored the slow bond that developed between them and their slow-burn romance. I found their relationship very real and heartbreakingly beautiful. 

 “Even if I could be free I would choose you…” 

And they were quite funny too...
“And you joined the Water Dogs because of her”
“ Yes. I thought it would make her stop hunting me”
“Did it?”
“No. “I turned so I could look at him. “You did”
“I was too busy worrying about what a thorn in my side you were to obsess about it anymore. One nightmare at a time please.”

I would have given this book a 5 flowers rating if not for some scenes I found a bit confusing and some minor imprecisions. Still, I loved, loved the book and its characters. 


4.30 blossoms 

1 comment:

  1. No vabbè, tu mi vuoi morta! Io devo leggere assolutamente questo libro! Mi hai incuriosita troppo! *____*