Oh my goodness guys! This book was so so good!!!
I work in a library and this was an ARC we got not long ago and only now I had time to read.
I’ve heard that this was a debut novel. Say what?! That is some talent!
The book is a fantasy dystopia set in a totalitarian version of the United Kingdom. The population is divided between those who possess power, or Skill, and does who do not. Those who possess the magic of Skill rule the nation, they are the Equals. The others are obliged to give away ten years of their lives to the Equals working either in slave-towns or as servants at the Equals mansions. Ironic name right? Equals? They are only Equals among themselves, and even then there are exceptions. Those without power spend ten years working six days a week, morning to dawn, with no pay and very little health care. The conditions are oblique to say the least.
The story is told from the perspective of a few different individuals and it takes place mostly in two places: at the Home of an Equal family and at one of the slave-towns.
I absolutely loved ALL the characters. That does not happen often, usually you have one or two favourites, this was different. I cannot give you just one name! Impossible!
Abi is probably the main female character. She found a way to have all of her family –mum, dad, sister and brother- to spend their slave days together in one of the Equals mansions. She thought that would be safer and better for them. It didn’t quite work as planned, her brother ended up being send to a slave-town. She promptly falls in love for one of the Equals, the middle son. He does not possess any powers but because he is the middle son and not the heir his family has not deserted him and he enjoys the same privileges as all the other Equals. He is not like them, but he has little choice. Nothing happens between them till the very end, this is not a romance book.
Luke, Abi’s brother, ends up in a slave-town. You know as much by reading the book blurb, but I will not tell you how not to spoil it all for you. He grows a lot and becomes his own man while there. It is rather interesting and pleasurable reading his progress. He is hard-working, honorable, and a brave young man.
The Jardine brothers, younger and older/heir at the Equal’s mansion Abi is at are perhaps the most interesting characters. They are surely not what they appear to be at the beginning. I loved all the layers and character development they had and I am very much looking forward to what happens next.
Silyan is the younger brother. Mysterious, secretive, ambitious and very very powerful. His motives are never clear and I am super curious about what happens to him now. Everything he does is a game changer in the book. He is connected and feared. But its hard to tell if he is a good or bad apple right now.
Gavar, the older brother and Heir is a brute, for the most part anyway. Whenever he is with his little daughter he is the exact opposite. His anger controls his power, making him rather dangerous. But also, for the most part, his father controls him. Again, if he is a bad apple or not, it is hard to tell. For his daughter, he could be both, he could be anything.