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Book Review of The Midnight Sea (Fourth Element#1) by Kat Ross
Publication Date: May 10th, 2016
Category/Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: 4/5 stars
They are the light against the darkness.
The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.
And they use demons to hunt demons…
Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King’s elite Water Dogs is that they bind wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.
Scarred by grief, she’s willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he’s possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other’s emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.
As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius’s past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake…
- Befriend: Nazafareen
- Take to prom & kiss: Tommas
- Take to a desert island and leave behind: Ilyas
- Change into a vampire so we can be young together & forever: Darius
4 “Let me be a Water Dog and give me my own hot daeva” Stars
When promised a fantasy with fresh concept and forbidden romance, there’s no doubt in my mind I’ll request the ARC and cross my fingers I’m one of the lucky ones who’ll get to read it before everyone else.
When you do that with a stunning cover, you almost have me begging.
Look at that cover!!! Soooooo beautiful.
*serious (sort of) reviewer back*
The Midnight Sea delivered just what it promised, and I’m thrilled I got to read it.
Based on Zoroastrian (I had to Google that one) tales with influences of Persian culture, this book introduces us to a new fantasy world where humans and the evil battle for power (and world domination, I guess, because that’s what it always comes down to). Though the story is set after the War (humans won, so yay, we’re not extinct yet!), we get the sense that things are about to blow up very soon.
First sign of trouble: Drujs taking over humans and killing them. Not good at all. Especially for Nazafareen. Our MC loses her little sister to this dark force right in the beginning of the book and that sets her on a path toward revenge, a.k.a., killing Drujs.
To do that, Nazafareen leaves her clan and the icy land she lived in and joins the Water Dogs, a group of “warriors” trained to kill Drujs (and other undead creatures – but there are so many of them I couldn’t possibly keep track and, therefore, can’t name them all).
The Water Dogs have help. Killing Drujs isn’t that easy, after all. Every Water Dog gets to bond with a daeva, which, according to what Nazafareen is told, are powerful Drujs controlled by their link to the human in charge of them. Basically, a daeva wears a cuff that contains their power, so the human wearing the matching cuff gets to control the daeva.
What makes the bond so interesting is how human and daeva almost become one. They share more than power – they also share feelings. I REALLY loved that aspect and what it did to the story. My favorite moments came from human/daevas reading and understanding the other feelings or trying to hide them.
Initially, Nazafareen isn’t the biggest fan of letting a daeva inside. Not even if her daeva is the hot, brooding and mega powerful Darius. Gimme his cuff, girl, ‘cause I sure won’t complain.
*serious (sort of) reviewer back. Again.*
Sure Nazafareen’s restrictions don’t last forever. I wish it’d happened sooner, but eventually she sees in Darius what everyone else already did, and she wants a piece of that. (Okayyyyy, so this review is getting off track. Sorry, but not sorry.)
Together, Nazafareen and Darius kill Drujs, face enemies they didn’t know they had, find unlikable allies and learn everything they thought they knew about their world was a lie. Oh, there’s kissing too, so calm down, ladies.
Let me talk about the kissing for a moment. I was hooked by the promise of a forbidden romance between a human and a daeva, and while I did get it, it wasn’t nearly enough. I wanted more Nazafareen and Darius. Much more.
And since this wasn’t traditionally published (meaning there won’t be people telling you to keep it PG-13 or no one will buy your book), I think the author should really invest on the steamy scenes because the few we had were good enough to keep me anxious for more. More kissing. More sexy Darius. More. More.
Now that I got that part out of the way, I need to say I’m impressed by this fresh and exciting world. The author managed to create a fantasy that felt new and different from what it’s out there – not an easy task considering the number of YA fantasy titles published the past couple of years alone. The writing was good and things moved fast enough to keep me engaged until the end.
Nazafareen and Darius were good, complex characters. I really liked her and how she interacted with those around her. Her friendship with Tommas and Tijah was a nice addition to all the drama going on with the Water Dogs and the Drujs, especially before Darius joined her.
The author also did a good job with side characters like Ilyas (he probably had the biggest character arc in the book – I know I liked him in the begging and ended up cursing him more than a few times later on) and Victor (quickly became a fan of him – his relationship with Nazafareen was one of my favorites. Gimme more of that.).
Something else I’m thankful for is the first person. Nothing wrong with third (except for the fact that I’ll choose first over third 10/10 times), but I don’t think the bond would’ve worked if we weren’t inside Nazafareen’s head. I wonder if we’ll get Dariu’s POV in future books. That’d be cool.
I’m not going to say the book was perfect. There’s clearly room for improvement. For instance, since this is part of a series, we didn’t need to be introduced to all those creatures and magical elements at once because it often got confusing. I’m still not sure I understand the difference between all the undead creatures, to be honest.
I also needed a little bit more description to paint a better picture of this new world (again, what I got to see was exciting, but it could’ve been even better). Some of the details involving the cuff and the bond between daevas and humans aren’t still clear to me, but I’m hoping the second book will bring more answers.
Having said that, there were more than a few great elements that kept me interested and wanting more. Bottom line is I’m ready for more daeva, more Darius, more Nazafareen, more Alexander, and much more of their adventures. So bring book 2 because I’m ready!
Original post here.
Guest review contributed by U.S. – Brazil Book Review. As a book review diplomat of sorts, this blogger reviews books in English and Portuguese. If there’s romance in the book, she’s probably loving it.