‘As if waking up in an unfamiliar world isn’t enough of a surprise, Ember gains a new title to her name. Savior.
Hunted by the Crescent Prince and his lethal shadows, she accepts a young Mage’s help to navigate the land of blood magic and its many illusions. But where Ada sees the good in her power, Ember discovers something else.
An icy darkness, designed to take lives, not save them.
The only thing worse than not being able to rely on her senses—or the reality she had once believed to be true—is knowing that she cannot trust her heart. Especially as it seems to draw her to the one person in whose hands she can never fall…’
This review contains spoilers.
Though Evenfall is a little slow to begin, the fact that Ember has fallen into a world where she has no understanding of where she is, why she’s there or who to trust, I feel that quicker pacing in this instance would have taken away some of that initial confusion. To have her immediately grasp the world around her and figure everything out more swiftly would be to make her decidedly less human and relatable. Ember has has her own confusion, the burden almost instantly placed upon her and the newness of both her environment and her own abilities to contend with, the reader taken on her journey with her as pieces begin to slot into place. The second half of the novel is much more quickly paced than the first, primarily because Ember is suddenly not running away and instead seems to be hurtling towards all that could save or destroy her.
What I loved most about Evenfall was its magic system – or should I say magic systems – and how there are different ways of activating distinct varieties of magic, such as the ability to create illusions or manipulate time, through processes specific to each of the worlds that exist within the story. The use of magic is further governed by the rules and laws of each society, such as it being confined to a specific gender in the world from which Ember travels. The magic that Ada wields is activated by the spilling of blood, whereas Ember can initially activate what she understands of her power by using an object of power – in her case the pendant of the necklace she wears – their different methods dictated by the worlds they come from and what they have been taught to believe.
The conflict presented in the character of Mordecai, otherwise known as the Crescent Prince, is another element of the story that I felt was one of its strongest. The exploration of whether evil has the right to be evil for a purpose, with ‘decent’ intentions for the broadest spectrum of people, is one of the moral issues considered through his character development. Does meaning to protect and defend give anyone the right to terrorise and control to ensure that that people stay safe and don’t step out of line? Can it ever be right to rule through fear? To me, Mordecai is most compelling in scenes where he attempts to explain himself and his heritage, with varying degrees of success. Though he may have a good deal of evidence to back up his claims, I do wonder if he can have told the whole truth. Can someone with his history, no matter his intentions, be trusted at all?
Though Ember is considered to be the Saviour and The One, that she spends much of the novel afraid of herself and unable to accurately control the powers she has discovered sets her apart from many YA heroines, who all too often discover tremendous powers and can immediately and devastatingly wield them. Ember does, eventually, get to grip with some of her powers, mostly through trial and error or direct need, and though she can and does hurt and harm, her abilities have yet to make her appear all-powerful and indestructible, which is a refreshing change. By the end of the novel, she still seems somewhat off-kilter and fragile, her experiences having shaken her, which makes the cliffhanger all the more effective.
Thank you to Gaja J. Kos and Boris Kos for the ARC! I look forward to Ember and co’s future travels.
Publisher: Boris Kos
Pub date: 30th October 2018