This was my first E. K. Johnston book and I was thrilled when she dedicated it to David and Leigh Eddings! David Eddings was my first fantasy author and will forever hold a special place in my heart. But Eddings this was not. This sort of felt like his Elder Gods trilogy and those are the books I liked the least of Eddings' collection, they were his newest and written with his wife.
I really liked the idea of the book but the structure was not good. We're told what happened before and how the godsgem was stolen or retrieved from the Old Gods. Then the whole book we're taken BACK through that experience, hopping between BEFORE and AFTER and Kalanthe and Olsa's perspectives. It was very choppy and a little confusing. Why the preamble at the beginning when we're going to read about it anyway?
Then there were the gods. There was no explanation about them! There were Old Gods, or at least one, and now there are new gods. That's about it. Where's the rich history of the gods? They weren't developed enough at all. We don't meet any, which is very UN-Eddings-like. Eddings gave gods personalities and histories, etc.
I did like the world-building that was done. And the feminism, yo! There was essentially just two male characters who had any lines. Even the king didn't have any lines. And only one male actually served a purpose. Well, I guess the other did too but only to help set up one of the main females so things could work out for her. I did like the knights and how individual they were. LGBTQIA abound! I did adore Kalanthe and Olsa. And Terriam and Branthear. I wanted to get to know Erris more!
Now I just want to go re-read David Eddings and see what Sparhawk is up to. :)