A fantastic debut fantasy novel set in a North African-inspired world. First, the cover is gorgeous. I hope the publishers keep this cover. The writing is excellent. Powerful imagery, lots of action, beautiful descriptions. Everything you want in an epic fantasy. The plot is intriguing—sisters who are rival heirs for the throne and only a fight to the death will determine who is Queen. And the world building is incredible. I liked that this was more of a matriarchy, that while there is a King, he seems to be more a consort/chief of military and not a true ruler. That was an interesting aspect along with the various tribes of peoples, some of whom are considered more a slave/lower caste. It did take a little bit for that explanation to come out—I wish some of that had been explained earlier in the book, but it makes sense in the larger story where it was finally explained. The character development is good as for Eva, the main character (MC), but a bit weak on the other characters. Of course, as it’s first person point of view, it is hard to develop characters when the MC only knows what she knows. There are some minor pacing problems, but that’s to be expected in a debut ARC.
I look forward to the next book to see how this story develops.