I was provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for a review; however, as always, this review reflects my honest opinion of the work.
I rate this book a 3.0/5. Here is my breakdown:
Characters: 3/5. Vickers introduces several characters in a small space of time (the novel is just over 47k words), but I was only able to care about a few. I really liked the character of Rikka; she was interesting and I am curious to find out more about her motivation and how the Emperor came to use her as his instrument. I also liked the description of and plight that the human King was laboring under. I think that, perhaps, part of my problem lay with the constant shifting of viewpoints which made it difficult to "stay with" a character long enough to care what he/she was doing.
Plot/Storyline: 4/5. A real strength of this story. The concept of a world divided into light and dark hemispheres is not entirely new (most obviously, I remember it from the newer He-Man cartoon), but Vickers has a good background for why and how this came to be and an emergent and well-thought out crisis to get the characters moving. The details and myths of each kingdom and group of people is also well done.
Flow: 2/5. I had serious problems keeping my "head" in this story due to the way the sentences flowed. The POV switches and the changes in tense from past to present and back jarred me out of my "happy place" much more often than I would like (which, of course, is not at all). I had a hard time as well with the units of time used in this story; while I understand the need for a unique system in a world where there is never darkness or never daylight, I couldn't wrap my head around exactly how it worked without several rereads.
Spelling/Grammar: 3/5. I noted many places in this book where commas would have been extremely helpful. Question marks appeared in strange places. Spelling was acceptable.
Overall: 3/5. I think that this book, this story, and this author have a great amount of potential and could do amazing things. Unfortunately, I don't think that this book realizes all that potential. Keep at it!
Jason P. Crawford