For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.
All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:
A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.
One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer?
Ephyra is not quite living the life she dreamed of, as the Pale Hand she kills those who deserve to die, not because she enjoys it but to save the life of someone she loves. Anton is a degenerate gambler, unable to use his Grace due to childhood trauma, he lives his life on the run from someone from his past. Hasson’s kigdom has been overrun by the Heirophant and the witnesses his followers, bundled out by a loyal guard he now lives with his aunt and is unsure, without a Grace, that he will be able to save his country from madmen. Jude is a Paladin next in line to become the Keeper of the World, he has to find the last prophet and protect them at all costs, even if it means his life, and his heart are in the balance. Beru is a girl on her deathbed, the only think keeping her alive is the Ephra (life force) that her sister steals from her victims. None of these people know how entwined their fates are. Secrets come to light, deceptions are discovered, hearts are broken and though it all the have to decide, they could be the saviours of the world, or its destroyers.
The magic system in this book isn’t wholly fresh and new, most of the abilities have been used before in similar style books, but the author manages to create something with this world that seems wholly her own. Their are four bodily graces; Grace of Hears, enhances strength, agility, speed and senses; Grace of Blood, gives and takes energy (ephra) to heal or harm; Grace of mind, creates objects imbued with unique properties and Grace of sight, sense and locate living beings through their Ephra. We get to see a lot of these Graces in action throughout the book and the authors descriptive writing brings them to life. You can fully imagine those with the Grace of Heart doing the seemingly impossible feats and kicking ass during a fight, and we see both the healing and the killing side to the Grace of Blood.
This book was one chunky read but its nearly 500 pages fly by once you get involved in the story line and behind the characters, and let me tell you, you will love these characters. I enjoyed that it wasn’t a traditional ‘group has to join together and save the world’ kind of book. When the characters meet it seems natural and not forced, in fact some of the characters don’t even meet in the first book, and it definitely doesn’t end on the most positive of notes. There are fights, arguments, betrayals and I liked the honesty of it. Too many times we see these kinds of books where all the characters get along, are all friends. But here we get the nitty gritty of it, each character has their own agenda and they will do anything to reach it, if that means betrayal and even killing, then that is what it takes. They don’t ask for forgiveness and we as the reader don’t give it. Not all the characters are likeable but you bond with them all the same, you understand their motives and know they have a valuable part to play.
The plot is fairly fast paced although there were parts I felt dragged slightly. I’m usually pretty good and picking up plot twists but the ones in this book threw me for a loop, I truly didn’t see them coming, and could feel my heart racing as I came to the realisation at the same time as the characters. I normally enjoy being a step ahead of the characters, but this book keeps you right on par. You learn things about the world and characters at the same time they do and I think this makes it easier for you to bond with the characters and understand their motives better.
This isn’t a happy book, if you’re looking for a fun, run of the mill ‘literary gang’ adventure then you may want to look somewhere else. However, if you’re looking for something honest, something that doesn’t shy away from the bad in people and the world, something that highlights it’s characters faults and makes them accountable for them, this may just be the book for you. I’m almost glad I waited so long to pick this one up knowing that I don’t have to wait too long for the sequel.