Kateiko, aka Kako, is an easy to like character. Having spent her entire life in the Rin-joyeun, Kako longs for more. She has a wandering heart, missing the only family she has left, a cousin who married into a sister tribe across the ruined divide. Against the wishes of her guardian. Kako leaves the Rin to start a journey she never imagined. Kako is fierce and determined, loyal and kind. She is also naive. This naivete leaves her open for manipulation by those she readily trusts. My heart broke for her over and over again as she made choices she would soon regret.
There are many characters that come into Kako’s life as she journeys, but two in particular are my favorites. Tiernan is a Sverbian mage, a former soldier, and probably the most important in terms of Kako’s transformation. He comes off as a bitter man, a hermit living alone in his cabin in the woods. Kako owes her life to him and his neighbor who is a healer. He offers to allow her to stay with him while she heals, and he teaches her the languages of the surrounding towns. I like Tiernan, he’s unusually kind, and I think he sees a little of himself in the young Kako.
The other character that stole my heart was Airedain, an Iyo (a sister tribe to Kako’s Rin) boy around her age. Like Kako, Airedain is finding his own way of life in the nearby city. While Tiernan can be described as Kako’s conscience, Airedain is the devil on her shoulder. He is a terrible influence, yet he is also the closest thing she has to home. He reminds her of her people. I have a feeling this boy will become important as the series develops.
The plot of the story really is a journey for Kako. When she arrives on the other side of the divide, she is running from her people and the “ghosts” she sees when she uses her water gift. She refuses to attune to her spirit animal (a wolf for those interested). Arriving on the other side though, she realizes that it isn’t just in her joyeun that she sees the spirit world, but anytime she calls her gift a rift appears. It’s an interesting twist to the story. War is also brewing, a saidu wants the knowledge Kako has about the Rift, and it will cost her everything.
While I had an arc of this one lying around, I wound up purchasing the audiobook. I had a hard time with some of the names and words Kako used, and it became a distraction for me. Listening made a world of difference. Sera-Lys McArthur drew me in with her melodic voice. Her tone and inflection allowed me to know instantly who Kako was interacting with. I’ve already purchased the sequel. I enjoyed her so much!
Overall The Call of the Rift: Flight is a solid start to the series. I loved Kako’s journey, which truly came full circle. Each person she encounters is a fully-fleshed out character. The world-building is phenomenal! I felt as if I’d truly stepped back in time to early colonial Canada. I highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys alternate history and fantasy.