Review by Stacy Palm.
This is the book you have been longing to read!
For some time now I've been on the hunt for a book that would hit all my pleasure points; a book that was smart, thrilling, and fresh. This is all that and so much more. Categorically, I'm a pretty slow reader. I have many hobbies and while reading is one of my favorites, I don't get much time to focus my sole attention on it. I was watching a recent podcast that happened to mention this book as one that they were planning on reading again because they wanted to see what knowing all the answers to the riddles would do to the context of the whole book. I'm not usually a mystery reader, but I was fascinated by the concept and so I feel down this rabbit hole and didn't emerge until I finished the book two days later. It's an odd thing having a book affect you so much that it infiltrates your dreams and waking hours, but I swear to you this morning when my alarm went off for work I dreamingly reasoned that I could stay in bed for 10 more minutes and one of my "other lives" would kick in.
This leads me to the premise and I will be honest - I'm going to be vague here because I do not want to destroy this story for anyone. You are a person, trapped in a world in which you must solve a murder in one day, but you are not always the same person and you do not have consistent skills to solve the mystery. You are not alone - you are hunted and thwarted at many turns. If you do not solve the mystery the loop will begin again.
This book could easily have gone south, but the author did an outstanding job of keeping me captivated, as well as keeping me guessing - never right might I add. This was a story told with great skill and an intelligent mind. If you are going to pick up one book this year this is the book that you must grab. I hope that many readers find their way towards this book and I hope to read many more tales from this author.
Review by Stacy Palm/
I was first drawn to this book because I was familiar with the author's prior work, and also being intrigued by the concept of a strong female lead that wasn't inherently good. I was not disappointed by this book, and in fact, enjoyed it much more than I initially thought I would. I am really captivated by the idea of a book not ending happily. I also enjoy being pulled into a story that mainly surrounds characters who are not always supposed to be likable. The only thing that kept this from being a 5-star book is that I thought more of the characters should have been further down their path of evil.
This story has a lot of political intrigue that I feel has a wealth of opportunity for the author to expand upon in the next novel. He did an excellent job of introducing us to this world and the political structure, but didn't overwhelm the reader with mundane information that wasn't directly related to our characters. The story beginnings with death and takes a child from her mother and leaves her broken and alone. As she grows we learn more about the world and travel with her to a place where she expects to find the skills needed to provide vengeance to the ones who wronged her family.
I truly enjoyed the main character, and I enjoyed the cast of characters that surrounded her. My one complaint is that for what these characters were doing they should have been more callous, but I also understand that you can't write a book in which every character is despised. There were a few characters I wish we would have become more intimate with during their moments. Some of the teachers were magnificently molded. I hope that this story continues down the current path and we end up with a profound series that makes people think, rather than have everything tied into a package with a pretty bow and a happily ever after.
Overall, this book was well written and expertly told. I did not guess the ending and was rather surprised by where this book took me as a reader. I should not have waiting so long to read this.