A book of character, of tough life changing choices between family, loyalty, logic, and beliefs. It was just so amazingly complex and wonderful.
There are two characters whose lives intertwine in many ways, yet come from extremely opposing backgrounds. Annie has every reason to hate Lee, but at the same time, she owes him so much. She's always been taught to bow to others' orders, but when given the choice, she must decide if she truly wants to win and rule.
Lee went from paradise to hell, but in the process, learned that his paradise was everyone else's hell. Now he has the chance to bring back his paradise, but at everyone else's cost. But the choice comes down to betraying his loyalty or his family. He must choose between right and wrong, but when right becomes wrong and wrong becomes right, and neither turn out to be as righteous as advertised, how can he betray either side?
This book reminded me of Animal Farm and of the aftermath of every revolutionary regime. After the Czar/emperor/previous rulers and their families are murdered in a bloody revolt, after equality & communist like laws are implemented, this is the life chosen by the people. The characters here are strong proponents of the equal system, but what happens when they face tough times and are ordered to become the very same rulers they just overthrew?
The choices Lee and Annie had to make were heartbreaking and complicated, and I was constantly surprised and awed and emotionally impressed by the twists and turns of their current and prior life choices. I don't think I've read a book this satisfying, this awe inspiring, since The Goblin Emperor. If you were a fan of that book, of good characters who make tough choices, then I strongly recommend this book. And if you're not a fan, I still strongly recommend it.
P.S. The dragons were nice, but in some ways, they were just as good as horses. There was a dragon-rider bond, but these are not intelligent creatures. They fit perfectly into this story, but don't come here looking for an Eragon like dragon-human bond. This book focuses on character & philosophy, with a dash of fantasy, romance, and politics.
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.