My Rating ~ Four stars
Date published: 27 March 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Received as an ARC via NetGalley and Harlequin Teen
For her sixteenth birthday, Vaela Sun receives the most coveted gift in all the Spire—a trip to the Continent. It seems an unlikely destination for a holiday: a cold, desolate land where two nations remain perpetually locked in combat. Most citizens lucky enough to tour the Continent do so to observe the spectacle and violence of battle, a thing long vanished in the peaceful realm of the Spire. For Vaela, the war holds little interest. As a smart and talented apprentice cartographer and a descendent of the Continent herself, she sees the journey as a dream come true: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve upon the maps she’s drawn of this vast, frozen land.
But Vaela’s dream all too quickly turns to nightmare as the journey brings her face-to-face with the brutal reality of a war she’s only read about. Observing from the safety of a heli-plane, Vaela is forever changed by the sight of the bloody battle being waged far beneath her. And when a tragic accident leaves her stranded on the Continent, Vaela finds herself much closer to danger than she’d ever imagined—and with an entirely new perspective as to what war truly means. Starving, alone, and lost in the middle of a war zone, Vaela must try to find a way home—but first, she must survive.
I received an arc of this book from NetGalley and can only assume I received the updated version, since, with regard to the controversy surrounding the original book (something I knew nothing about until I read other reviews on Goodreads), I didn’t see anything different to many other popular YA books.
I loved this story. I found it fast paced and the world building of the continent was excellent. The romance also wasn’t too insta-loveish for me.
I liked the fact that Vaela’s realization of her privilege did not automatically grant her acceptance by all of the Aven’ei people. That she had to work to prove her worth and usefulness.
I dislike books that have the spoiled rich girl become an instant warrior as soon as she needs to be. The Continent didn’t make me feel like that. Vaela still had her naivety about war firmly in place for the entire book.
4 Stars from me. There were lots of great characters and the storyline was gripping and raw.
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