That’s the backdrop of our story–the Vapros, Taurlum, and Celerius families have been feuding for generations. But there’s a twist: The families descend from a single family of brothers and each has their own special abilities. The Vapros can teleport, the Taurlum are super strong, and the Celerius heal instantly. Gifted their abilities in order to lead the city, they eventually fall into in-fighting over power. Their feud allows an emperor to take control of the city, with the families still rich and prosperous. Until family members start being kidnapped and killed. It is up to the youngest members of these illustrious families to save their loved ones and ultimately save the city.
This book’s strength lies in its action sequences and in some of the quieter moments that focus on questions of loyalty, family, and honor. The struggles of the teen characters, having grown up on propaganda and a blood rivalry they don’t truly understand, is palpable. The most well-rounded character is easily Neil, the youngest Vapros. He is desperate to prove himself as an assassin–the position most valued in his family–but his heart is not truly in killing. He looks to the other families, his sworn enemies, and wonders if maybe they have the family he’s always wanted. Do they share the love and respect he craves from his own family?
Where I find the book struggled is in the beginning. It has so many characters to introduce, and such a large backstory to tell, that everything else seemed to get buried. The story was told from too many perspectives, sometimes by characters we would hear from once and never again. It would have been difficult, and required some creative thinking, to find a way to tell all the necessary details without switching to so many people’s perspectives, but there are ways it could have been accomplished. The story truly picks up once the remaining family members have been living as fugitives, trying to survive and rescue their family. At this point, the perspectives narrow to a select few and there is a clear goal in mind.
The book never shies away from killing. The stakes are real and that is what makes me curious to see what will happen next.
For those interested in purchasing the book, you can get it here for 25% off with the code: BLOG25