“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
I usually feel skittish around books that are co-authored because it means there should be a high level of understanding between the authors in order for the reader not to feel that they were reading two books and I am glad to say Fletcher and Snyder did a great job at that! I have read one book by Fletcher before and enjoyed it and haven’t read any books by Snyder so I did not know what to expect but I was very satisfied by the end of this book.
The story follows two main characters: Katyusha and Genndy. Kat finds herself working with the police force and Gen is working with a criminal group. The book has multiple POVs and both were very well written -I enjoyed Kat’s chapter a little more and to be honest I don’t know who wrote her- The writing is very atmospheric, I felt that the world was cold and dark and both authors were great at showing rather than telling.
I really loved the prose, I highlighted a ton of quotes and paragraphs and I specially liked the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. The writing is gritty and there was a great level of synchronization between the authors that just made the story flow!
“If a man is a book, as Lavrenti wrote, then war rewrote it from page one. “
The world-building is also top notch. As I mentioned before, it was very atmospheric but I also loved the magic system which is simple but very creative. There are stones that can store people’s memories and some attributes and when people wear them, they get the memories of whoever had them before. You can imagine the potential of twists and turns that this system allows and which the authors put to good use! It kind of gave me Sanderson vibes!
I thought the story would take me much more time to go through but I finished it in 3 days which just shows how addicting it really was. I loved the focus on grey characters and grey morals which was reflected in many quotes and scenes through the book.
All Kievan’s greatest philosophers are from Norylska because Norylska teaches us the one truth: Life is grey.
There are moments of black, when the dust from the smelting furnaces blanket the city in soot.
There are moments of white, after a fresh snow fall.
But they are moments.
Grey is the natural state.
Summary: Snyder and Fletcher both did a great job in writing this with a killer prose, a very smart and creative magical systems, a cold and dark world-building and a story that kept me on my tip toes till the end. I really hope they get to collaborate more in the future!