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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 67 star ratings
4 reviews
)

Overall rating

3.9 out of 5
67
5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star
23 28 7 5 4

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  • 3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

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    Too much gore

    It is okay for quite a while, hunger games style, I enjoyed it till like 1/2 to 3/4, then picturesque depictions of carnage and other horrors started. It went on for some 20 pages and I was like enough.
  • 3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

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    Nothing matters, everyone's boring.

    I tried so hard to like this book. I hate leaving things unfinished, but in this case, I just couldn't continue. My main qualm is that the characters are inconsequential and boring. They feel like they've been ripped straight out of the pages of The Name of the Wind and promptly stripped of their charm. Some of them start dying in the second part and honestly it's an effort to remember which ones they are, let alone care about their deaths. Runin is the main character. The focus is always on her and yet even she is heavily underdeveloped. There's so many questions that are just glossed over. For example, why is she so desperately against marriage from the outset? It's the lot of her sex at that time in Nikan's history. There's practically no contextual justification for her disgust. Her attitude seems to directly contradict the culture she's grown up in and at the very start this alienated me from the character and made it necessary to suspend an awful lot of belief. What was her life like before the story? Yes, we're told that she kept shop and was the main cargiver for her foster brother. But the key thing is that we're told this, never shown it. We don't work beside her in the shop, we barely see her give the smallest hint of affection towards her brother. In fact, she mentions him once after she leaves for Sinegard, and then sweeps him under the rug for the rest of time. Speaking of Sinegard, how on Earth does she get in? She beat the vast majority of kids in Nikan by learning for two years using what are frankly the most inefficient study techniques known to man. These kids had been working towards the Keju since birth. Runin mutilates herself and defies psychological limits, and this instantly gives her the power of Mary Sue. These factors combine to make the character feel like an unrelatable blank slate. It's because of this the first half of the book reads like a training montage. Actually, that's what it is. I'm not even joking. Entire years are skipped for convenience. Runin's life is lived in snapshots and it's achingly dull. The worldbuilding is abysmal. Kuang constantly contradicts themselves. Everything's vague, the magical system is deeply problematic, and the phraseology is predictable, recycled trite. There's not much going for this book. Genuinely, don't bother.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    I tried but couldn't get there

    Was OK but a bit bored in places till about 3/4 the way through when I stopped reading as there seemed to be pleasure in writing about gore and abuse which is too ill for me. If I choose to read Fantasy, I like to be entertained, this didn't do it.
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    A fantasy that mirrors uncomfortable realities

    The protagonist of this fantasy will wear on your nerves, as she is not always very easy to like, but in that sense she's a lot more realistic a hero than the usual fantasy good-guy. The author appears to have taken bits and pieces of Chinese history and recast them in a fantasy realm that is pretty obviously China, and this works really well. Expect the unexpected, though.
67

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