by Rati Mehrotra
Publication: October 18, 2022
**I received a copy of the book through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**
Soul bonded to the queen of Chandela, Katyani serves as a personal guard and protects the royal family. Against her wishes, Katyani is forced to escort the heir Ayan and his cousin Bhairav to a monastic school to hone their skills. When they’re forced to return earlier than expected, Katyani’s loyalty is tested.
I was immediately hooked by the introduction as Katyani thwarted an assassination attempt. I would have enjoyed the book immensely if it had been able to keep a consistent pace, one that fully enveloped this exciting beginning. Unfortunately, the pace slowed immensely once Katyani and the princes arrived at the school. It was difficult for me to stay engaged when they were there.
Because of her skills and her unique relationship with the queen, Katyani comes off as arrogant at times. She is fierce and unquestionably loyal. Sometimes I liked Katyani, and sometimes I did not. I was thrown off by her behavior toward Daksh after their first meeting, which conflicted with my original perception of her. She was insistent the princes remain vigilant and were representatives of their kingdom, yet she was more than willing to goad and tease Daksh for no other reason than to irritate him. Additionally, I didn’t understand her feelings for Daksh except for the fact that he was a skilled warrior and somewhat forbidden to her. I wanted a stronger foundation between them before it started to look like they were possibly falling for each other.
Although I did not always like Katyani, her story was compelling and kept me glued to the pages. The world-building, especially the monsters and the existence of ghosts, was the most fascinating part of the book. I was fully immersed in the stories about them and the history between monsters and people. While the worldbuilding was excellent, the magic system needed further explanation. I would have liked more about the concept of spiritual power and how it is utilized.
This book would be great for those who like standalone fantasies with strong female protagonists and court politics.
Leave a Reply