i received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. all thoughts are my own.
paperback, 306 pages
published feb. 23, 2017
“A thousand years in the future, the last of humanity live inside the walls of the totalitarian Kingdom of Cutta. The rich live in Anais, the capital city of Cutta, sheltered from the famine and disease which ravage the rest of the Kingdom. Yet riches and power only go so far, and even Anaitians can be executed. It is only by the will of the King that Nate Anteros, son of the King’s favourite, is spared from the gallows after openly dissenting. But when he’s released from prison, Nate disappears. A stark contrast, Catherine Taenia has spent her entire life comfortable and content. The daughter of the King’s Hangman and in love with Thom, Nate’s younger brother, her life has always been easy, ordered and comfortable. That is, where it doesn’t concern Nate. His actions sullied not only his future, but theirs. And unlike Thom, Catherine has never forgiven him. Two years pass without a word, and then one night Nate returns. But things with Nate are never simple, and when one wrong move turns their lives upside down, the only thing left to do is run where the King’s guards cannot find them – the Outlands. Those wild, untamed lands which stretch around the great walls of the Kingdom, filled with mutants and rabids.”
when i started “a touch of death,” i honestly wasn’t sure what i was expecting, which i think was the best way to go into this. i loved going through the story slowly to understand the characters and their motivations, because that’s what drives it forward.
catherine’s point of view provides such a great reading experience—i felt her pain, panic, exhaustion and confusion in real time. she was a great window into the story. her relationship with nate was hard to follow at times, but i liked their rocky trust in each other because it was genuinely unstable and wasn’t one of those conflicts that could have just been solved with a conversation (looking at you, rom coms). they were so fun to watch bicker and take care of each other and then scream about their traumas.
nate himself was a character i never really knew how to feel about, and i actually really enjoyed that. one minute, he’s being tortured, then he’s saving catherine, then he’s being an ass again, then he’s being soft … it was really enjoyable to go through the novel and try to figure him out. all in all, the cast of characters in this book was really enjoyable to spend my time with, which is always my biggest thing when reading.
the plot, on the other hand, was a lot more work to figure out. i definitely had a ton of questions throughout the story, and the ending didn’t answer many of them (i am tempted to get the next book, though). it was a bit confusing at times, but i got used to it and learned to lean into the unknown, which really helped make the reading experience more fun.
final thoughts: i really enjoyed this book! i think the story is definitely going to take more installments for me to fully understand (good thing it’s a series, huh?) but this was a pretty strong and intriguing start.