by Jessica Rubinkowski
Series: The Bright & the Pale #1
Published by Quill Tree Books
Release Date: March 2nd 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Magic, Mythology, YA
Format Read: ARC
Seventeen-year-old Valeria is one of the only survivors of the freeze, a dark magical hold Knnot Mountain unleashed over her village. Everyone, including her family, is trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice. Ever since, she’s been on the run from the Czar, who is determined to imprison any who managed to escape. Valeria finds refuge with the Thieves Guild, doing odd jobs with her best friend Alik, the only piece of home she has left.
That is, until he is brutally murdered.
A year later, she discovers Alik is alive and being held against his will. To buy his freedom, she must lead a group of cutthroats and thieves on a perilous expedition to the very mountain that claimed her family. Only something sinister slumbers in the heart of Knnot.
And it has waited years for release.
CW: death of a family member, discrimination, childhood trauma, work camps
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
For this book, I thought it would be best to make two lists to showcase my thoughts.
Things I liked:
–The mythology. I can’t wait to learn more about the Bright and Pale gods in the next book! I feel like we barely skimmed the surface of the mythology surrounding the gods in this book.
–The duality of light and dark. People worship both gods and neither are said to be wholly evil nor wholly good. I found that interesting. Usually, people praise one god and condemn the other, but I didn’t see that in this book.
–The last 30% of the book was full of action! I couldn’t put the book down.
–Valeria. Valeria is a strong, morally grey main character. She doesn’t try to be something she’s not. I love that she explored her rage and darker emotions towards the end of the book. For most of the book, she tried to repress those things. I’m curious to see what is in store for her character in the next book.
Things I wasn’t a fan of:
–The side characters are one-dimensional. The only side character that felt fleshed-out was Alik. I didn’t feel a connection to any of the other characters.
–The romance. I wanted more from the romance! It didn’t feel 100% authentic to me. I’m hoping this will change in the next book.
–The story is kind of slow-paced. Most of the story is spent travelling. The plot doesn’t pick up until the last quarter of the book.
–Most of the reveals were pretty obvious to me. Then again, I’ve always been gifted at predicting plot twists, so these reveals might be more of a surprise for others.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and will definitely be checking out the sequel. It’s a pretty solid debut, and I think it’ll appeal to a lot of YA fantasy fans of all ages.
Hi, I’m Skye! I’m a college student by day and a bookstagrammer and book blogger by night. 😉 I’m also fluent in the language of sarcasm, so my kryptonite in any book is great witty banter.
Check out my Instagram account if you want to see my latest book obsessions! Also, feel free to reach out to me on social media if you ever need someone to fangirl with! I love meeting new bookish friends. 🙂