Thank you so much to @orbitbooks_us & @hachetteus for the gifted copy !
We follow Tourraine, who is a conscript snatched from her native land and fully raised up to defend the empire that has conquered her home. This is her first time back since she was stolen as a child and is caught in the midst of a brewing rebellion.
What I loved : the world building is amazing. The north African inspired setting was so beautifully done and was really a character in and of itself that kept you so anxious, wondering around which corner the rebels were hiding. I thought the way CL clark explore colonization and all the souls caught in between was really well done. We know an unjust system continues to be perpetuated when you get the opressed peoples to buy into and defend their own oppression. That was explored so beautifully in this book. I also loved the rebels and their magic and the commentary on faith, religion and indigenous practices being lost. Cl clark had me at the healing magic tbh.
What I didnt love : I wish we spent more time with the rebels. The first half of the book is a bit slower as Tourraine is recruited by a struggling queen regent Luca who needs someone to infiltrate the rebels. In true colonizer fashion we see her view Tourraine as a tool that can get her what she wants and "peace" in the conquered city. That involved a lot of time with her and I wish that much time was spent with the rebels
You will love this if you love : sapphic goodness. Lesbian characters on the page not in the periphery. If you love military fantasy and a character driven story.