- Published in 2016 by Hot Key Books
- Format: Physical Book – Paperback
- Reading Time: 4 fascinating days
- Ended up with another of Annemieke’s recommendations again and the Goodreads summary for this one looks interesting.
- Mania in Slate is as well shown as it is disturbing. He has a total one-track mind and has no time for anything else in his life but trying to save the woman he loves. Not even his daughter and Nix has had enough of it. She’s an excellent foil to Slate: pragmatic where he is idealistic, level-headed where he lets his emotions get to him. It’s a good inversion of the gender and age stereotypes and it does feel like she’s looking after him more than the other way round. The relationship is fraught to say the least and the worst of it that Slate doesn’t even know the damage he’s doing. He’s a classic case of a character too focused on a dream to see the good things right in front of him. He’s pitiable but also infuriating. You hate his actions but it’s hard to hate him. One can see why Nix would want to leave but also why she stayed up until now.
- Overall, the romances were a bit irritating but they didn’t get in the way of the story. The bond Nix shares with Kashmir feels genuinely warm and sweet but I’m not so convinced by Blake. The other members of the crew feel very genuine too. Each have interesting backstories and funny quirks. I definitely like Bee (and Ayen) the best.
- The descriptions of Hawaii are extraordinary. One can easily fall in love with the place just as Nix did. It’s the precise picture of paradise with fascinating mythology and history described in just enough detail to not bog down the story and get me interested in looking it up. Despite all the beauty, it’s still clear that this kingdom will eventually fall. It was a good decision to set the book in the early stages where none but the far-sighted (or a time traveller) can see its decline and the knowledge weighs heavy on Nix’s mind.
- I knew the time travel elements would get confusing at one point and, about two thirds through, it does. Swapping back and forth through time can make a person’s head spin, especially when it’s talking about something the characters will do in the far future, but, for the most part, the book sets out the rules plainly. The rules are strict enough to trip the characters up when they plunge in without thinking it through (like Slate) but have enough leeway to introduce a surprise or two. The one I particularly love is that a place doesn’t necessarily need to exist in the real world to get to it by Navigation. If the map is exact enough, you can make your way into a fantasy world and bring back anything you like such sky herring, an actual dragon and a full army (though I’m not giving away what that army is made of). A fantasy book lover could live the dream with every book they buy – just so long as they had a map of the real world to get back out again!
- Very dramatic and surprising ending. It risked looking like a cop-out but the surprise elements were very neatly explained but the main villain did come a little out of nowhere.
- Ending was a little disappointing. I rather wanted it to go the other way. I’m grateful that the author put some notes on the history of Hawaii and the inspirations of the mythological elements. I was shocked by how many of the events were inspired by actual history. I think I will be reading the next book in the series, though. It was great up to the end.
Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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