Montane is ruled by Cathal and the Bards, a law enforcement-style group that also has the power of Telling, willing things into being through their words - including being able to save people from the Blot and make it rain, ending droughts. Bards tend to be men, and very few women possess the ability, which is not inherited but seems to be random.
After Shae's mother is murdered, she recognizes the weapon as one owned by the Bards. Even though everyone else seems to be telling her that she does not know what she saw and that the truth is otherwise, Shae is determined to find her mother's murderer. The path that she takes will lead her on a journey she could never have predicted with many twists and turns.
What I loved: This world absolutely fascinated me, and I love the ideas here. In this first book, the atmosphere is created, the mystery placed, but answers are slow coming. I was completely caught up in this book, and it definitely left me eager for the next book. There are some interesting themes about trust and judgement, and Shae has some hard lessons still to learn about guarding her heart and the cruelty of the world. Shae is an interesting character, driven by her moods and singular notions that lead her to rush headfirst into- sometimes bad- decisions. I loved her passion and her heart that are still learning and growing. She was an interesting character through whose eyes to view this world.
What left me wanting more: The only thing I wish is that I had more of everything. I wanted more of Shae in Astor, her dreams there, and the way that things happen in this world. I also wanted more of the build-up for romantic relationships, so I could understand why Shae made some of those decisions that she did. I also wanted to learn more about this world, its mythology, and the conflicting histories that are being suppressed. I am hoping we will get more answers in the next book, as I am very eager for more.
Final verdict: Overall, this is a captivating YA fantasy that kept me guessing all the way through. I am definitely interested in learning more about this world and characters in future books. Highly recommend for fans of Tricia Levenseller, Cassandra Clare, and Amanda Hocking.