This YA novel sees a young god in danger of breaking his pantheon’s oath for the sake of a mortal.
In ancient Egypt, the falcon-faced Horus, God of the Sky, has come of age. At his coronation in the palace courtyard, he’s to receive an amulet of power from Amun Ra, God of the Sun, that bestows miraculous power. Horus chooses to don the face of a mortal. Ra sees the young deity with the wheat-colored hair of a Northerner and becomes enraged. He drops the garnet amulet, cracking it and vastly reducing its power. Horus vows to prove himself to Ra and goes among the worshiping mortals for the first time. The warrior goddess Bastet, a friend, suggests that he “learn about your people and gain their faith.” Yet Horus must abide the Oath of the Gods, which warns against altering a mortal’s fate, showing favor, causing death, or granting life. This proves challenging when Horus notices the enchanting Zahra, head priestess at the Temple of Ra. While she can’t see Horus, Zahra begins to feel his curious presence. Horus wonders why she’s so devoted to the cruel Ra, who ignores even her, the most devoted and bewitching mortal the young god’s yet encountered. In this sensual fantasy, Anastasia (Fates Awoken, 2018, etc.) skillfully balances an epic romance against a crafty magic system that demands Horus perform miracles to regain the power denied him by Ra. When Zahra thanks Horus for bringing shade to the Temple, “warm, yellow light emanated from beneath” his skin. She grows ever harder to resist: Horus finds that “her companionship provided me with a sense of wholeness and belonging.” Complicating matters is Set, God of Chaos, who’d love for Horus to break the oath and leave him a path to the throne. Readers should enjoy the constellation of twists that makes this a shimmering heroic romance with a message of hope through transformation.
An effortlessly grand fantasy that should ensnare young and older fans alike.