I honestly say this often, but this time I mean it in a whole other sense when I say – I did not know what I was getting myself into.
It is an epic tale, a retelling of the French revolution and other European disturbances at the time including slavery. The difference? The existence of magic. This one factor alters the perspective by adding another difference between people. We have three geographically distinct narrators. One scene is in London where we see the growth of budding politicians (none of whom I had any prior knowledge of) from when they first meet to the rise of the Prime Minister. The second view is of a French man who has dreams of a different France and succumbs to help from a dark source. The last is of a slave who successfully fights off the binding her ‘owners’ have placed on her to discover her own brand of magic.
It is not a fast-paced story. It is more about roiling emotions, changing dynamics between people in general and a battlefield that brews over time and then explodes towards the end of the book. The story, however, does not end with this book. This last part seemed slightly like a let down because I was making good reading progress towards the end and felt that the pace had picked up. I hoped to reach the conclusion of the narrative, but I was foolish enough to assume that because there was every evidence to the contrary. There is a lot of unfinished business between our key players as well as the resurgence of dark magic to contend with. It is not a weekend read, even the swiftest of readers will have to take their time to process the details.
I am not the kind of person to research the history of a whole continent in-depth to better understand a story. Despite knowing next to nothing about the facts, I still enjoyed the interplay of magic into reality. I cannot vouch for the experience of people who have actual knowledge of the facts. Overall, I recommend this to people who like historical fiction with a twist. I would have loved it even more if it was a little more concise in size (although I know that it is a tall order).
I look forward to the concluding part.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.