I never know to say in these things. I guess that says something about me. I read a lot, write stories, and like books. I like a good debate. Nothing else is to say. :-)
This is one of those books, that at the beginning I was not sure I would enjoy. But as it progressed I liked it more and more.
The main reason for my worry was that, the world building was so dense. There were so many places, and names and history and questions, that I found myself confused and digging into the glossary a lot (thanks God for that!). Like: "Who is this again?" "What country is this?" "Eh?" So If I had any complaint it was that.....great world building....but a little too much, too soon, at some points. But not too far near the halfway mark...it kind of finally clicked and it became a much easier read.
Things I liked:
The magic system was very interesting. A world with multiple moons/stars that rise and wan on a cycle, and each one that is currently risen gives certain people magical abilities. When it is gone from the sky, their powers weaken and another group gets stronger. It was a unique way to introduce magic into the world and to demonstrate its limitations.
The main conflict and how it tied into the magic of the world was also great. One of the stars/moons, Oma, is on the rise, which only happens every 1000 years, and apparently when this happens, it is "legend" that the stability of the universe this world resides is damaged. That it creates cracks or doorways into alternative universes, and people can travel between these Mirror Worlds. But they can only go from one or the other, if their "twin" in the other universe is no longer living. Kind of like that old Sci Fi trope that two version of the same thing cannot exist together in the same place and time. This is where our conflict comes in: One of the Mirror universes is dying, and the leader there has decided she won't take it sitting down and decides that now that Oma is rising and the link between the worlds are weakening.....why not take over one of the other Universes where the world isn't dying? So...we can see where this is a problem for the world she sets her sites on. I liked this a lot. Such imagination. And saw hints that, while these two universes are so focused on each other, another may show up to cause more problems in the next book. What a crazy place to live. I’d be trying to build a spaceship to get the hell out of the universe all together.
The social and gender structure was very interesting and very inclusive. In this world, since women tend to be more prone to be "gifted' with powers, the social, political and economic structure of almost every country is built around them to varying degrees. The Kai, leader of the Dahi, is an inherited position. So to be sure that every Kai is a product of the previous, it was easier for the Kai to be a woman. Which makes perfect sense, a woman always knows a child is hers, men don't really have that certainty....unless you create a system where the women, their sexuality, and breeding are controlled by men to ensure only that man has access to them....what a crazy concept.
Marriage was also more favorable to females because of this, so females had multiple husbands. There were groups marriages of various kinds, with a female being the main "leader" in the marriage, with her deciding who to bring into the marriage and controlling the births of course. Also in some societies in the book...men are almost like property to the women who ran everything. Their only purpose was looking pretty and breeding. They could not go anywhere on their own and without papers from their wives granting them permission, and had no rights outside of their marriage. What a terrible and degrading system!
Also in some societies, gender and sexuality was very fluid. There were races with 3 genders; races where people could choose their own gender or went from one gender to the next...and it all made for interesting interactions and characters. Also everyone was sleeping with everyone...male, female, other...there was something for everyone (nothing explicit though….darn). It all made for a very fascinating relationships and read.
So...to wrap it up. It started of rocky, but by the end I was upset that the next book is not out till October.