Okay I’m not really sure where to begin with this book. It was definitely an interesting story and I did enjoy it, but I didn’t give it the full five stars for a few reasons, which I’ll cover now.
Before I go any further, I’d like to mention the fact that there should be trigger warnings disclaimed at the beginning of this book. Some of the content was pretty mature/graphic and personally, it did trigger me in some parts. The content covered a lot of topics that should have been disclosed at the beginning (rape, abuse, etc.), but these things weren’t disclosed. I feel like if I had been warned before reading the book I could have looked at it with a different mindset, but I wasn’t warned about these things and it caught me a little off guard.
In terms of the content, however, I did enjoy it. The story follows Grivon D’Gaul and his journey trying to take over the government and the Autocrat, the supreme ruler of Merkadiah. While this is his main goal, he hasn’t completed the necessary training to move out of the Chaos Guild and come closer to the Autocrat, that is, until he meets Phoy Yin.
Phoy Yin teaches Grivon where his limits lie and the wonders that he can do with the right training. Grivon continues with his training and as he passes the Gauntlet, a test that puts him into the real world, he goes to a planet with the Barrim Clan, a Clan trying to take him down. Grivon is abused and raped for nearly a year by the Barrim Clan until he is bought by an assassin who helps him get back to Phoy Yin and remember who he is.
Grivons sanity is tested, his skills are tested, his mind is tested, all to get to the Autocrat and eventually be the most powerful ruler of Merkadiah.
Okay so starting with our main character, Grivon was an on and off character for me. He seemed like a good guy at the beginning of the book and he was super powerful too which I really liked. He seemed like the perfect person to eventually ruler of Merkadiah and take down the Autocrat. While this was great, about halfway through the book Grivon went through some severe abuse and rape, causing him to have truama that he’d never recover from. He was beaten pretty much all the time and used too, and it changed him into a person who was violent and wanted to take down anyone in his way. His emotions weren’t really in check anymore and he spoke whatever came to his mind. He also cheated on Barbarah, his one and only love, with the assassin, knowing that he’d only love Barbarah. Overall I understood that his character went through a lot causing him to come out of it as a different person. Personally, I didn’t like the change, but it’s understandable considering the type of trauma he went through and I’m glad he came out stronger rather than weaker.
Barbarah was probably my favorite character in the book. She also suffered severe trauma and was raped multiple times throughout the book. She was able to build up mental shields to keep her feelings in check instead of breaking down, however, she wasn’t the same person after each time. She also got pregnant with Grivons baby and I feel like the separation from the baby and her was really traumatic and sad for her. She was a really strong character considering the horrible things that have happened to her and I admire her strength and courage to keep going and continue to hope for Grivon to come back to her.
Steven was a character that honestly scared me. His love for violence and gore was a bit much for me to handle and it seemed like the only thing that kept him happy was having sex with someone and brutaly murdering them afterwards. It’s kind of sad that his character suffered so much and he came out of it this way instead of like Barbarah, as a strong character. He kind of just took out all of his issues on people who did nothing to him, and it was clear that his hatred for Grivon was blinding him from the truth of everything. Along with that, he wanted Barbarah so badly that he raped her, causing her to suffer once again, but this time at the hands of someone she believed was her friend.
Overall our three main characters suffered severely throughout the course of the book and they all had their own approach to dealing with it. While some of the characters lost their sanity, some only held on hope to be saved. It was quite a sad story for each of them, but it’s what made them who they are and drove the story.
This book takes place far in the future. Earth isn’t called Earth anymore, and their system of government is way different than what we have now. People are able to “teleport” to different planets and there aren’t just humans anymore either.
I think that the setting perfectly fits the book and makes it that much better. It was something I could visualize perfectly and I think that it actually added a lot of depth to the story.
The writing in this book was also an interesting aspect, and it took a bit of getting used to. I feel like it was kind of formal, but it fit the story so it worked. It did take me a second or two to get into the writing style, but once I did, it was easy to read.
The story on the other hand was super heavy. I feel like the writing style did fit that, but it was a super heavy book that i’m surprised fit into 370 pages!
I didn’t love the book, but I didn’t dislike it either. It was a really good story, the characters were super well written and developed, the writing style fit the story, it just isn’t one of my favorite reads. I think once you’ve read it once, you don’t really need to do it again.