‘Any great country that has to kill its own people to remain great is missing the point.’
It has been seventy-five years since the dragons’ rule of fire and arcane magic over Vinkerveld was ended, and the Empire was born. Since, the tyrannical Synod has worked hard to banish all manifestations of the arcane across the lands.
However, children are still born bearing the taint of the arcane, known to all as witchsign. So each year the Emperor sends out his Vigilants across the continent to detect the arcane in these children. Those found tainted are taken, and never seen again. Steiner has always suspected his sister Kjellrunn of bearing witchsign. But when their father’s attempt to protect her from the Invigilation backfires, it is Steiner who is mistakenly taken. However it is not death which awaits Steiner, but an Academy where the children with witchsign learn to master their powers – some at the cost of their lives. Steiner is determined to escape the Academy and protect his sister from this fate.
But powerful enemies await him at every turn, and Steiner finds himself taken on a journey straight into the heart of the Empire’s deepest secrets, which will force him to reconsider everything he has known about witchsign.
I am going to say it now, I feel so let down by this book. I did not have high hopes going into this book because I hadn’t really heard anything about it, and it had been sat on my shelf for over a year. However, when I picked it up late one night I read 15% of it on my kindle and I could not put it down. Subsequently I spoke to a few of my friends recommending that they picked it up. Fast forward to 30% into the book, things slowed down, my enjoyment faded and I messaged said friends taking back what I had said. This is making me so sad to write, I genuinely felt like this book had so much promise.
At first I felt like I was connected to the characters, however after a while I got bored of them, they started to grate on me and I just lost that connection. Towards the end I didn’t really care what happened. I also felt like there were too many that were dumped on the reader with very little explanation. Whilst I had a physical copy of this book I found myself leaning towards my kindle copy so that I could search for names and remind myself of who they were. I did this more frequently than I would have liked.
Whilst I found that the plot was interesting, after a while it wore thin. I found myself becoming bored of what was happening and just wanted the author to get a move on so I could finish and read another book. Due to this I found that I skim read the latter half of the book really just focusing on things I found important. The plot seemed to jump with very little explanation which I found confusing. And even now after finishing the book I am confused by the magic system.
I went into this book not realising that there was going to be a sequel. Now I am intrigued to find out what happens next but I am not sure I am interested enough to pick it up for myself. I might see if I can find it cheap on my travels just so I can give it a go.