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30228183Visionary. Alchemist. Savior. Saint.

The Prophet Zarathustra has been called many things. Now he spends his time drawing pictures of weird-looking goats. That’s what happens when you’ve been stuck in a prison cell for two hundred years. But the man who might be mad, and is definitely supposed to be dead, has suddenly become very valuable again…

It’s only been a few weeks since Nazafareen escaped the King’s dungeons with her daēva, Darius. She hoped never to set foot in the empire again, but the search for the Prophet has led them to the ancient city of Karnopolis. They have to find him before Alexander of Macydon burns Persepolae, and Darius’s mother with it. But they’re not the only ones looking.

The necromancer Balthazar has his own plans for the Prophet, and so does the sinister spymaster of the Numerators. As Nazafareen is drawn in to a dangerous game of cat and mouse, her newfound powers take a decidedly dark turn. Only the Prophet understands the secret of her gift, but the price of that knowledge may turn out to be more than Nazafareen is willing to pay…

***Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.***

What’s Good: picks up right after the first book leaves off, so it doesn’t take much to fall right back into the flow. Kat Ross has a definite feel for portraying the scapes of Persia, and if you’re not careful you’ll miss more than a few historical references she slips in.  The story is predictably straightforward but there’s enough curves, angles and even a few revelations to keep you interested.

Character growth is mostly steady, if a bit slow.  Layers and depths to both main & secondary figures are revealed & explored, making some of them more alive and others simply stagnant.

Life, death, triumph & loss come together within the story as Nazafareen & company continue to question their beliefs and place in the world.

What’s Bad: the magic system is still not fully explained and it’s still not entirely clear what daevas, etc, can and can’t do and why- particularly when a new form of magic is being introduced.  Their powers are rooted in elementalism, and it’s a little hard to fathom how no daeva ever gets within arm’s reach of any kind of fire at any time in their lives- not even a candle or a campfire.

Nazafareen’s shift into an utterly reckless hothead feels forced, especially when she’s fully aware of the consequences her rashness can- and does- have.  It just felt like a cheap plot device.

The alternating POV between Nazafareen, Balthazar and Araxa can put you off a little, mostly because Nazafareen is First Person and the other two are Third.  It always takes a moment to understand which of the two antagonists you’re catching up with, and then you’re back inside Nazafareen’s head.

The pacing slowed down once they reached Karnopolis and we’re stuck waiting for all the key players to move into place.  Could’ve pared some of the daily drudgery without missing anything.

What’s Left: a solid continuation of the series.  Kat Ross continues to develop an interesting milieu for the characters to inhabit, with more layers being discovered in every chapter.

3.5/5 stars.

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