Once it was sparkly vampires; now it’s brooding bad boys, dark magic, and colliding kingdoms.
Dual perspective narration cuts between Nadya, a Kalyazi cleric raised in a remote monastery who speaks with gods, and Serefin, Tranavian High Prince and blood mage from a rival kingdom first seen destroying the monastery and killing a boy. Nadya soon connects with Malachiasz, also the enemy but strangely attractive, and his two token brown companions, Rashid and Parijahan, all of whom are good with weapons and have their own revenge agenda (that never really comes to the fore; perhaps a later volume will tie up the many loose ends). Each teen has a goal: Nadya wants to bring the gods back to Tranavia; Serefin wants to get drunk (but maybe also stop his power-mad father); and magically altered Malachiasz wants to stop the war but may also have some other plans up his sleeve. Violence—spells are cast by literal bloodshed—and provocative questions (What are the gods? What is divinity? What rights does power confer?) swirl together, but the limited character development and mediocre writing diminish the high concept into paint-by-numbers YA fantasy. Other than the two mentioned above, almost all characters follow a white default.
All the right elements are present without amounting to much—and yet, when something is so on-trend there will doubtless be fans. (Fantasy. 14-18)