I've known about this series for a while now and having read the reviews, I felt intimidated because I thought it might be way too outside my comfort zone or maybe not my kind of writing style at all. But I also wanted to read it and appreciate it as much as others have. So when we decided upon this novella as our April BOTM for Stars and Sorcery book club, I was ecstatic and I devoured it as soon as I picked it up.
The major drawback of this book is it's too short size. I know I have to read the next novella as well to get a full picture of the story, but it could have been so much more wonderful if it was longer. And I say this with all my heart because I loved it and just wanted more. The world building that we get is limited in the amount but so expansive in scope and described so beautifully that I felt myself immersed in it. The elemental magic system is both familiar and new, but I also wanted to see so much more of it in action. The East Asian elements in the culture, world building and philosophy were integrated very seamlessly and that was some of my favorite part of the book. And the way gender is handled is wow. I have personally never seen gender being undefined and chosen by every single person in any fantasy novel before, and I was amazed at the author's brilliant idea and how this choice affects the paths of the characters in the story.
Akeha and Mokoya are great characters and it was fascinating to see the way their relationship change as the years went by and due to the choices they made, but I also wanted to get to know them better. Would have especially liked to know more about their lives without each other, their partners and their role in the rebellion which ends up being such an important part in the second half of the book, but which we only get glimpses of. The sibling relationship made me quite emotional, and I think it's some of very good relationship arcs I've read in recent times.
On the whole, this was brilliant for what it was, but it did leave me wanting in the best possible ways. This is a world I didn't wanna leave, and I know I'm gonna be binging the rest of the series very soon. If you are someone who loves unique fantasy worlds, I think you won't be able to put this down just like me.