*I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review*
Let’s start with the positive sides! The writing is engaging and the author uses the five senses, which adds to the reader’s experience. She also writes detailed descriptions of the settings and events, and uses a good vocabulary (mostly linked to sailing, which makes it even more interesting). This story is intriguing, full of magic, adventure, and a realistic caste system! It is exotic with all the names, the caste system, the food, and the description of objects and titles. Moreover, the plot is interesting. There is drama, much conflict, and a sense of urgency. It is not a boring read due to its being action-packed! I felt as though I were in the story with Kinneret and her crew. Speaking of Kinneret, she is a strong main character – she makes decisions and gives her all to accomplish her goals, and her motives are clear. It was quite enjoyable. As for the characters in general, they are interesting; we care for Kinneret and Avi, and the rest are pleasant to read.
I find Kinneret headstrong and inspiring. Plus, she has a good dream: becoming a ship kaptan instead of the usual dream of piracy! The forbidden romance between Kinneret and Calev, her high-caste childhood friend, is bittersweet and well-done. It was quite fun to read. The story’s introduction was good and I’d just like to point out a thing that I liked: the author mentioned a woman’s bleed, which is rarely done in novels. Klapheke’s world-building is fantastic and exotic! It feels real because the people inhabiting her world live by their traditions, conventions, and social classes (mostly represented by the caste system). It feels both out-of-this-world and familiar. I greatly enjoyed her world-building skills!
Now, let’s talk about the negative sides. The dialogue is a bit too revealing and unrealistic. The characters disclose too much information and/or the sentences are too long. It could definitely be stronger and have more subtext. The action could use more description to make it even more engaging. The emotions could be more detailed. I could not identify them easily except for shame, anger, and love. Otherwise, it’s more telling than showing. The other characters (other than Kinneret) lack goals and motives or they’re not clear enough or too weak. Most of them just seem to fall in line behind Kinneret and whatever she does.
For all these reasons, I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5. I enjoyed spending time with Kinneret and her crew, living all those adventures at sea to rescue her sister, Avigail. Klapheke’s world is brilliant and exotic – a pleasure to read and travel to. However, the lack of showing the emotions instead of telling and the fact that nearly everyone goes Kinneret’s way are tiresome and unbelievable. This being said, I still recommend this book to those who love adventure-packed novels! One doesn’t grow bored with this novel! I will read the rest of Klapheke’s upcoming and past books about Kinneret and her crew and the Uncommon World.