When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide. Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…
Packed with high-stakes adventure, romance, and dueling identities, this gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first novel in an epic YA fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo.
I was highly anticipating this one for 2020 and, for the most part, I got what I wanted. I enjoyed this big tale.
What was I expecting? Well, a lot, to be honest. It’s a Count of Monte Cristo retelling, which fascinated me from the get-go, it’s gender-bent and different enough to still be a fresh story, and I also have to admit I was impressed by the “perfect for fans of” authors too. I also happen to love all those authors. It seemed fated.
The book started off quick and really took off for a while. I loved the world-building and the straight-forward way of writing and dialogue throughout the story. These details made it feel easy to slip into the magical world and the passion of revenge. My favorite part was probably the main character’s inner voice: I liked the way she talked to herself and saw things from other angles than myself. This book was full of characters that I really enjoyed getting to know and I will probably read the sequel/finale (it’s a duology) just to find out what happens to everyone.
The book does struggle with pacing in some moments. It takes off like a rocket in the beginning and then drags a bit in the middle when everyone is planning and waiting. Thankfully, I do think it all came together in the end, somehow in a way I didn’t expect but also wasn’t surprising.
Overall, despite its slower moments, this was a fun, original and yet still familiar, and highly character-driven story that I enjoyed reading. If you like this story or retellings, or if you happen to like those authors (especially their character-driven) books– this might just be the book for you. Check it out! It’s available for pre-order now.
Tara Sim is the author of SCAVENGE THE STARS (Disney-Hyperion) and the TIMEKEEPER trilogy (Sky Pony Press) and writer of all things magic. She can often be found in the wilds of the Bay Area, California.
When she’s not writing about mischievous boys in clock towers, Tara spends her time drinking tea, wrangling cats, and occasionally singing opera. Despite her bio-luminescent skin, she is half-Indian and eats way too many samosas.
Tara is represented by Victoria Marini at Irene Goodman Literary Agency.