Genre: YA Dystopian/Fantasy
This book surprised me, in an awesome way, it kept me reading. The first page wasn’t really a grabber, but I allowed myself to reach for the end of Chapter 1 (like a sample). Gould drew me and kept dragging until the pages flew. I say pages flew because I finished this in less than 24 hours, when an Indies Book does that I stand up and take notice. Now to the content.
The players: Eve and Adam (ironic, I think not). There’s an underlying theme Gould is building, and she does it in a way that you may or may not notice right off the bat. The book spends most of the time in Eve’s POV, she’s a teenager from the servant class. Expressing an aptitude for knowledge and learning, the leader of her nation, The High One, provides her with an opportunity to learn more about the country, the practices of the Elite, and a chance to become more than just a Server. Adam is The Second, in line to rule once The High One passes. He encounters Eve and becomes enamored by her intelligence, her beauty, and desire to exceed her original stations.
I like both main characters. They’re not perfect, but intent on becoming valuable in their own way. Both Eve and Adam grow a bunch during this story, but Gould leaves room for plenty more to come. I found myself rooting for them and their goals, and easily dedicated to their welfare. Both are likable without being a couple of ‘Mary Sue’s’.
What plays out is a great start to a much larger story, but you get a little romance, budding friendships, technological advancement, philosophical discussions, and a great way of learning about an entire world without being info dumped on. Gould does an amazing job of weaving the knowledge about her fantasy world through Eve’s growth and experiences. Cargon is essentially a game that’s used by members of the Elite (upper class) to determine things like marriage, land, status, jobs, etc. How Eve uses Cargon to her advantage? You have to read the book.
What I also liked: Character growth, development of the plot into several sustainable arcs, a strong female character who still has some flaws and weakness, and a nice romance triangle that keeps you guessing.
What I didn’t like: No resolutions. This book is really part 1 of a bigger story, and that sucks. Also, you’ll finish with lots of questions, a few more than what you started with. A man named Louis, who plays the role of villain well. Yet, at the end of the book he showed a different side of him leaving me to wonder.
This is definitely worth a read if you like fantasy and enjoy visiting new worlds or just enjoy a good story of a girl experiencing a Cinderella fairy tale and determined to exceed all expectations.