Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: S.E. Wendel
Publisher: Epic Press
Yaro, the Charneki captain of the guard has been captured and is being held prisoner. Elena, the soldier guarding him, talks to him even though he doesn't understand. As she's talking to him, Rhys is offered a job as the translator of Yaro so the humans can understand what he's saying. During this time, Zeneba, the mara of the Charneki, has become cold and bitter, unable to forgive the humans for the death of her brother. As she's preparing how best to get rid of them, the General hatches her own plan of sending Yaro back home with some soldiers that can infiltrate the city and destroy the Charneki. Rhys and Elena do not realize the trap they are walking into. Hugh overhears the plan and leaves to rescue Rhys and warn him, only to find out it's too late. Zeneba lets Elena go to tell the General to back off and intercepts Hugh, stopping him from walking into a trap.
Wendel does a wonderful job of bringing the reader to another world. It's almost like the movie Avatar with bright colors and vibrant scenes. Even seeing the capital of the Charneki is amazing; it's like the reader is a tourist to a new place and there's so much going on it can be hard to focus on any one thing. Seeing the turmoil of Zeneba and her mourning over the loss of her brother, Zeneba's pain is palpable. Readers who have lost someone close to them will readily relate to her sorrow. The fact that Zeneba talks to Rhys, a human, and mourns together with him is an essential kernel to the heart of story. Although they are different species, they still have the same emotions of pain, loss, and grief. Even Yaro proves that we shouldn't judge everything by one action, but we should try to see things individually. Zeneba exemplifies the sacrifice it takes to make the hard decisions that comes with being in a leadership position. She must think what is best for her people and not just for her, even though she is hurting inside. Even the fact that she listens to her advisors is very important as it teaches readers to rely on those around them and to counsel together.
*Contains mild language