Cyra grew up with her older brother, her tyrant father, and her loving mother. When she is young, she gets the power to cause people pain. When her brother comes into power, he uses her power to torture and gain information out of people. She hates that she is exploited like this, but there is nowhere for her to go. Her gift leaves her with chronic pain that periodically intensifies every time she has to use her gift, so she constantly lives throughout different waves of pain.
Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle, and his power is to interrupt the “current” or basically silence someone’s powers (like the Silencers from Red Queen). Because Cyra is such a useful asset to her brother, her brother assigns Akos to help her with her pain. At first, he is against the idea of helping the person who has probably caused the most physical pain in the kingdom. But eventually when the two end up having to spend more time together, they both realize things about themselves, their kingdoms, and each other that they had never known before.
Okay let me address one thing first. I have heard many people who have read this book quote the (blogger?) Justina Ireland when she wrote a review (that seems to have been taken down?) of this book saying that it was racist because of the stereotypical tropes within it. For example, Cyra and her people are considered “savages”, when they speak their language sounds harsh to foreigners, they cut themselves for “traditions”, and they are considered “evil”. So these seem to be quite a few things that have either been said/known about Native Americans or people from different countries of Africa for very many years, and so many people thought that it was wrong for all these things to be used for the characteristics of the evil group of the book.
I have to say that I agree, the choices were in very poor taste, but I am very torn about how this will affect my view of the book itself. Minus all of the poor choice of evil characteristics in the book, I quite enjoyed the storyline and I fell in love with both characters. I read it in one afternoon, and it felt to me as if I was falling in love with another Divergent Trilogy. If I overlooked all of those things, this book would probably receive 5/5 stars for me. Many people on goodreads say that they couldn’t understand why someone could enjoy such a story, but I honestly liked it.
Cyra was such a unique and interesting character to me. She suffers a lot throughout the book, but she was determined to not be dependent on anyone and not to break down. She is considered to be the worst person because she has to make people feel pain for her brother, but she too struggles with the stress of having a broken family and her chronic pain. Akos isn’t that special to be honest. He’s just kinda there. But he helps Cyra and he’s cute so that makes him important.
Overall, I am really torn between giving this book the rating that the story deserves, and giving the story the rating that the trope deserves. But in order to stop these tropes from being used, use of them at all has to be discouraged. So I will rate it according to the tropes.
Overall Rating: 2.5/5