Thanks to the author for giving me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Themes: YA, dystopia, murder mystery
“We’re all complicit in things we regret. Sometimes, we just do what we must.”
In the city-state of Devovea, behind the walls of the Castle, Scylla Delevan waits for a chance to prove herself. When a Magistrate is murdered and her father stands accused of the crime, she eagerly sets out to prove his innocence. As she races to find the real killer before it is too late, she begins to unearth dangerous secrets that could throw the fragile balance of her city into chaos. In too deep to turn back, Scylla is forced to question all she has ever known and choose between what is expected of her and what is right.
Family loyalty and personal beliefs collide as Scylla navigates a dystopian world divided by race and gender. Heir of Blood and Secrets will challenge you to consider how far you are willing to go—and what you are willing to sacrifice—to forge a better world.
I am writing this as I just finished this book so that I have all my ideas fresh in my mind, for once. I am not the biggest fan of dystopias, which usually end up in DNFs with me. But since this book is very short (200 pages) and mainly focused on the murder plot, I can say that I enjoyed it quite a lot!
The worldbuilding is well written for such a short book and I could clearly picture the different places. The author is using all the classic tropes of the genre (an upper class justifying itself by saying the new system is better than the old one and that they are maintaining justice, a rebellion boiling in the poorest parts…) and so the main element of wonder and surprise is the murder mystery.
I enjoyed this one since it was mixed with the politics of the world and the rebellion, which complexified it a bit and allowed to set the scene for the next book. I liked who the culprit was and most of all the motives behind the crime.
Concerning the characters, I think they are the book’s weakest point. They appeared to be a bit flat, and I found Illias especially incoherent. Despite his feelings and opinions (he is convinced that the Castle is right in everything and that the system is flawless), I feel he should have been a bit more supportive of our heroine in her investigation, especially when you know that they are best friends since childhood and that she helped him on multiple occasions. For the heroine, I liked following her even though she is a bit selfish while taking decisions without weighing their consequences.
In brief: A good murder mystery with a dystopian setting, that I would really recommend for a young audience.
My rating: 3.5/5
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