Zélie is a divîner, someone who’s magic hasn’t yet revealed itself. She believes she’ll never become a maji, someone who’s magic has developed, like her mother due to the king’s purging of all the maji in Orïsha and the disappearance. Little does she know that a chance encounter with princess Amari will change that.
Once Amari and Zélie make contact, the story sets off on a quest to restore magic and to help Zélie develop her skills, both magical and leadership. The quest narrative is fascinating interweaving details of a fascinating world. I’m not a fan of books over 300 pages but this read quickly. Adeyemi does a good job balancing her world building and character development so that the pacing doesn’t suffer nor does the reader become confused.
This was going to be a solid four star book but the last third really soured me. Already Amari and Inan were two characters I didn’t like. But by the end I learned to appreciate Amari and LOATHE Inan. There’s a strong incel bent to Inan that just bothers me. Because chapters alternate between character perspectives, when I got to his chapters I tried to rush through them as quickly as possible.
I’m also an endings person. And this book does not stick the landing of wrapping up the quest and leaving the reader with a clear idea of the trajectory of the protagonists. I’m not of fan of these muddled endings that are clearly meant to segue into the sequel.
Overall, I liked the book and would read further books set in this world.