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The Midnight Sea (The Fourth Element Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I don't read a lot of epic fantasy these days, though it constituted almost my entire reading diet when I was younger. Thus it's always a pleasure to discover a fantasy realm that's totally original and compelling, one I can sink into the way I used to sink into the worlds created by Tolkien, Le Guin, McCaffrey, and Donaldson. That's exactly how I felt while reading Ross's novel; the history of the realm, the mythology of the Druj, the physical description of the various environments, and the characterization of the multiple peoples, both evil and good, were so brilliantly realized I felt completely immersed in a "real" place. If I were to draw parallels to contemporary YA fantasies, I'd put THE MIDNIGHT SEA alongside Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy, which similarly is set in an alternative real world (Russia in Bardugo's case) that feels absolutely unique and absolutely convincing. It's a very special writer who can weave such a rich and complex tapestry, and Ross is exactly that.
I was also drawn to Nazafareen--and teen readers, I'm confident, will absolutely love her. She's tough yet vulnerable, so anguished by the loss of her sister she lets herself believe whatever the Water Dogs tell her about the Druj. Her awakening to the true state of affairs is thus an awakening to emotional maturity--to adulthood. And her awakening to the love she feels for Darius perfectly complements her developing awareness of life's complexities. I'm not always a fan of romantic relationships in YA fantasy and science fiction; they often seem perfunctory and distracting, added more for their marketing appeal than their intrinsic value to the narrative. But here, the love between Nazafareen and Darius--like everything else in the book--feels fresh, original, and completely essential to the story being told.
THE MIDNIGHT SEA is the first book in a series, so there's much more to come. I for one can't wait to see where this brilliant new story takes me.
Enter our MC, whose tribe gets visited by Water Dogs, daeva-paired fighters for the king who pride themselves on killing demons. She volunteers to go with them, and from there, our story begins.
This whole thing was amazing to me, almost a near feel of Maas (whom I've also recently discovered and LOVED since the first book) with that captivating writing style and invigorating world. I immediately fell for the set-up, the plot, but most of all, the character development. At times Nazafareen was a bit difficult, and though I excused it as character development, it'd still put me in a not-so-happy mood lol until she'd learn something, and then it was just a mind-blowing experience. It happened several times along the way, and I think that's what sealed it for me.
All the characters were great, though it would've been cool to see a bit more of Tijah and her daeva, Myrri. I really enjoyed that pair and thought they were journeyed through the least, considering everything else that happened to the rest of the cast..... Ugh, and now my heart is breaking all over again for the things that Ross wrote with certain characters i can't name for spoiler purposes. It's just so sad and totally heart-wrenching!
So yes, check this story out. You're not losing out on anything except time if you don't like it, but I can't think of a reason why you would, unless it just didn't click with you. But if you love fantasy worlds with a strong foundation, entertaining characters and sad stories, totally check this out.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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Ross has deftly woven bits and pieces of actual history into the world she has built. I enjoyed traveling through it.Read more
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