Published by HarperTeen
on October 15, 2019
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Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.
Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.
While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.
But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.
The Bone Witch is one of my all-time favorite YA series so I was very excited to see what else Rin Chupeco had up her sleeve and The Never Tilting World does not disappoint. There’s just something about the worlds she creates that really resonate with me on multiple levels.
*I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
🏔 There are four different character POVs in this book and while I definitely had my favorites, I was interested in all of them and their journeys which is hard to pull off in casts with multiple POVs. Each character got their own arc and development and felt unique and individual. And they all had distinct voices which I appreciated. I could tell who was speaking even if I hadn’t looked at the chapter headers to know who we were following. I really loved the foil nature of the twin sisters and found it thematically very well done. I also liked how they were paired together: Odessa (one of the twin goddesses who is afflicted with a mysterious incurable illness) and Lan (a fiercely devoted and skilled warrior with powerful magic) from the forever night, wintry, cold, desolate seascape and Haidee (one of the twin goddesses who doubles as an engineer whiz who loves animals) and Arjun (an amputee sand clan member known for his fire magic and survivability) from the constant sun scorched, cannibal ridden, sand-stormy desert. It’s kinda neat how the chosen one(s) each have their knight/squire. I always like seeing the thoughts and inner monologues of the people protecting/traveling with the chosen one.
🏔 Even though there are a number of outside characters, the core story still focuses on the four main characters for the most part. The outside characters are memorable– I can still differentiate them and their roles even now (and I remember their names!), but they don’t have key roles in the story outside of supporting or attempting to thwart our core four. I actually liked this; sometimes a book sports an impressive cast of side characters and wastes time trying to develop them and it ends up uneven and detracting from the story. Everyone here had a purpose, even if that purpose was small or temporary. Nothing felt extraneous.
🏔 I think the ambiguity of the villain in this novel is one of the most interesting things about it. Even right now, if you ask me who I think the villain is, I’m hard-pressed to answer. It’s because the novel is constructed in a such a way that you’re not sure who’s telling the truth and who’s acting in good faith/bad faith. It’s super compelling to me when each character thinks they’re doing what’s best for the world/themselves/their loved ones and you can make me believe it.
🏔 Yo, for real, straight up, this is one of the coolest magic systems ever. I particularly like books with elemental magic and to see it done so complexly and in such detail was awesome. It’s not your standard elemental magic, that’s for sure. And I loved seeing that physically drawing patterns was a part of the magic (the runes from The Bone Witch were always something I enjoyed and seeing echoes of it was very cool). I also liked the dual nature of the environments. It was a nice illustration of what could happen when the world literally breaks in half and I found the mirror of the same thing within the characters themselves incredibly clever.
🏔 I genuinely loved the idea that the power you might be giving up to get the power you think you need to win is the power you actually needed to succeed. I won’t say more than this, but honestly, what worked so beautifully to me was the way Chupeco framed the absolute power dilemma. In sacrificing who you are for power to save the world, you may find you’re no longer the person who can actually save the world. It’s beautiful and eloquently illustrated.
🏔 The romances here are pretty steamy (seriously, there are some sexytimes, but not overly graphic). I enjoyed the f/f goddess and her knight aspect quite a bit. Odessa and Lan were angsty and forbidden and wild and rough which is always a stellar combination. On the other side you have Haidee and Arjun who ARE CINNAMON ROLLS OMG and so stupid in love with each other but too scared to admit it. I think this novel does duality really well overall. There’s a little bit of something for everyone.
🏔 I also want to take a minute to let y’all know if you like prophecies and chosen one tropes (BUT WHO IS THE CHOSEN ONE, REALLY?), you will enjoy this. It’s chock full of them. I particularly like it when books have their own texts and histories within themselves and this book delivers on that rich tapestry. Going back centuries of twin goddesses and their prescribed fates was pretty cool. It leaves you with lots to think about, trust me. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
🏔 I really appreciate Chupeco’s direct writing style. I feel like it pairs well with the complexity of her worlds. She doesn’t dress the prose up which can sometimes distract me from the action and lead to me fumbling over vital information. That’s not to say there aren’t some lovely lines here, there are, but it’s not a purple prose book. A lot of the beauty actually comes from the descriptions of the landscapes and that helped me cement the locations in my mind.
🏔 Because the writing is spare (and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all), the plot moves quicker. I always felt like I was heading somewhere and the tension I felt while reading was delicious and intentional. Honestly, with Chupeco’s writing, I feel like every sentence works a 9-5 job as an intern doing all duties as assigned. There’s never something that feels unnecessary or thrown-in. Everything has a purpose.
🏔 This is definitely the first book in a series and you won’t get much payoff by the end of this book. Some questions will be answered, but other’s you’ll have to wait for. And it ends on a cliffhanger, so get ready to be desperately waiting for book two. Like me. DAMNIT ALL.
this is the book you’re looking for if:
- You like really cool magic systems and complex worldbuilding.
- You enjoy f/f warrior couples or cinnamon roll big-hearted idiots.
- You are a fan of prophecies and chosen ones tropes.
- You’re interested in complicated female characters struggling with morality.
this is not the book you’re looking for if:
- You want something lighthearted and fun and not something you’ll have to pay attention to.
- You can’t handle darkness and slow moral decay in your characters.
- You don’t like cliffhangers.
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