Wow! I’m blown away, this is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Read it people!
Kestrel is amazing. A great General’s daughter, she’s expected to enlist or marry and neither option is palatable. Her physical fighting skills aren’t impressive, but this young woman is a brilliant strategist. She’s been raised and taught by the best, General Trajan, who believes in winning, no matter the method. Kestrel loves to win, but has scruples about things like slaughter & slavery.
I enjoyed the obvious love between father and daughter. The General could’ve easily been written as a one dimensional tyrant, but Rutkoski makes him interesting. Kestrel lacks his military experience, but is his equal at strategy and negotiating. It’s like Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is tattooed on this girl’s soul!
Kestrel is likable from the beginning. She was raised by her nursemaid, a slave. She speaks their tongue fluently and sees them as people. Slavery bothers her, but she mostly looks the other way. She gets caught up bidding at an auction, and is horrified that she’s purchased a slave. She tries to avoid & ignore him, but is forced to acknowledge things that make her uncomfortable. Her home and all the fine things inside it once belonged to a conquered family. What will she do when she has to make a choice? Slavery is wrong, but she’s devoted to her father. Is there a way to satisfy both her father and her slave friend?
Read it. Read it. Read it! Highly recommended.