4.5 out of 5 stars
I accidentally stumbled upon Tuff Girls sign ups and I am so beyond glad I did, because I probably wouldn’t have seen this book otherwise. And I got to read it before the masses did! YAY! It was a completely different experience for me in the sense that usually when I have a review book on my hands, I think about the rating and critique, but in this case, I didn’t remember to concentrate on the pros and cons, I just enjoyed the ride of awesomeness.The story.
Kaliope is a protector of her empress and leads the Nactue which is the empress’ personal guard group of 5 young female protectors. She gets assigned to guard a prince from an alliance country and when the underworlders attack her country, she and the prince get kidnapped in the process. Now, in the underworld, they must fight for their life in a cage against others alike. Nothing is as it seems and Kaliope’s faith in her goddesses and in her own abilities to protect the innocents as well as her loved ones is put to an unimaginable test.My thoughts.
It was a first time for me to read about a matriarch society which itself was so intriguing and different. Mad props for Trisha for pulling it off! Gah, I want to tell you so much, but I don’t want to spoil it so bare with me while I ramble. We have a strong, kick-ass and rational heroine who now belongs to the group named ‘my favorite heroines of all time’. Kaliope has a good head on her shoulders and in addition to being a fierce warrior, she is a kind, strong, old soul who grows a lot throughout the novel.
What else do we have? Let’s see: A swoon-worthy hero who among other things is a prince? Check. Love that blossoms from respect and friendship? Check. A dark, exciting and an original tale? Check. It had everything I expect from a great book. There was this one scene where I was so frustrated that nothing happened, but it was compensated more than enough a little further on. The story takes place in a matter of days, but it actually feels longer so the romance, which takes the backseat in the plot, feels natural and real. It's definitely not head-over-heels or insta-love.
The ending left me in a range of emotions of love and rage and everything in between because I loved the book, but I was so sad that it was over and that ending left me craving for more. It was unputdownable, addictive, original, dark and twisted. Moreover, there were scenes that made me want to barf due to its gruesomeness and sob my eyes out due to how emotionally painful it was. WARNING: do not eat while you’re reading the cage fight scenes. I almost gagged while chewing a Caesar salad lol. It get’s messy!!
*an arc was provided in exchange for an honest review*
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