When I opened the pages of this book I did not expect to step into a magical and haunting world. Right from the start I was hooked.
It is not that often that the world a book transports me to leaves me speechless. Yes, I understood that this book would be set in world where a magical gate was opened but I did not grasp the full meaning. As the beautiful cover hints at, there is a world above ground that has the magically corrupted creatures and the world below with the survivors. But there is a plague wiping out the people underground and when Azzy’s brother is infected and casted out to the world above she has no choice but to face a world of monsters to find him.
Where do I even begin?! To say that this book was different than anything I have read in a while is an understatement. This book was hauntingly beautiful! The world that Jacques created was amazing. Everything in the above and below were echoes of each other. You had monsters above that physically appeared and acted like monsters…but they were not the only monster. The people in the below were actually scarier at times. The burning of people they thought were magical (Azzy’s mom), eating their dead (a child turned into a stew), and many more examples. There were moments that were just dark, but in this darkness you have Azzy sacrificing everything to get back to her brother.
The characters that Azzy meets along the way either made your heart ache or your skin crawl. Some of these creatures will help her along the way like her wolf companion, but even he is more than he appears to be. These characters, along with the world, was written so beautifully. Azzy is a strong and resourceful young woman and I loved going on this journey with her. There were so many moments where I thought things couldn’t get worse for her but somehow they always did. And the way that the book ended?! Let’s just say I NEED the next book in this series. If you are looking for a hauntingly beautiful fantasy novel this is absolutely the book for you!