This is making up for the three weeks that I have missed for reviews. Here we go! First book!
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
The Bright & The Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski
Synopsis From The Book
Seventeen-year-old Valeria is one of the only survivors of the freeze, a dark magical hold Knnot Mountain unleashed on her village. Everyone, including her family, is trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice. Ever since, she’s been on the run from the czar, who has set out to imprison anyone who managed to escape. Valeria finds refuge with the Thieves Guild, doing odd jobs with her best friend, Alik, the only piece of home she has left. That is, until he is brutally murdered.
A year later, she discovers Alik is alive and being held captive. To buy his freedom, she must lead a group of cutthroats and thieves on a perilous expedition to the very mountain that claimed her family. Only something sinister slumbers in the heart of Knnot. And it has waited years for release.
Fantasy | YA – E |Magical Plagues, Betrayal | Isolation, Love, Vengeance, Hope
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
Alright so I def picked up this book, one because its short and probably going to be easy to read. Two, it is a beautiful cover. I am a simple person, these reasons are all I need. The blurb seems like a major spoiler, so I’m kind of frustrated that I read it.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
Wow. That was a lot. Man, I really wish these characters would talk more sometimes, but then I remember… Did I talk when I was a teenager? LOL Also, if the person I trusted was claimed to be a liar, would I trust that? Doubted. So … Gotta give them a bit of slack. Still, I’m really interested to see where the gods and their champions, and all that, will lead.
When Valeria was seven her entire village was frozen over, with everyone turning to ice but her. Since then, her people, whit hair as white as snow and skin as pale as ice, have been hunted and captured as a claimed plague. She has hidden herself as a thief. A year ago her best friend died. When her thief boss Luiza, who has taken care of Valeria since she was a child, gives Valeria a mission to infiltrate a church to steal gemstones known as lovite, Valeria is nearly captured. She meets a man named Ivan and a girl named Chinua. They offer her a deal to get back to her hometown, where no one has been able to go without dying, and to get more lovite. They also tell her Alik is alive. She meets Alik again and a woman named Serafima. Serafima hates Valeria for who she is and where she is from. Together the five start their way in the snow to Valeria’s home town. They almost freeze because of a blizzard that Valeria warned them about, and then almost died crossing a river. OVer the journey Valeria and Alik get into many fights about lies and Luiza. Veleria loves her but Alik hates her and claims that she did everything to keep them apart.
They are almost captured by the Storm Hounds, soldiers for the Czar that hunt her people, and finally arrive in her town. Valeria proves to them once and for all who she is with tears in her eyes. She feels like she is being called to the mines, and something within. More fights happen as more secrets are revealed, including how Ivan was a former Storm Hound whose family was taken because he was harboring Alik who should have died. They enter the mines to find the lovite. They wander the mines and run into the monsters of the mine. Each night Valeria has a dream and it is only when they are pushed to their breaking point that Valeria follows the dream. She meets with the Pale God who says she is his champion. She refuses him and he gives her two more days to decide.
They escape the mountain and Valeria puts together all of Luiza’s treachery. The woman had planned it all and the Czar and Luiza knew that Valeria was the Pale God’s champion. They had made her get there so that the Storm Hounds could mine the lovite, which is the Pale’ God’s body. The group blows up the lovite that the Storm Hounds have, and then are captured by the Bright God’s Champion. Ivan is killed and then Alik. Valeria accepts the deal and wrecks havoc on the Storm Hounds. She and the bright God Champion fight but the Bright God Champion runs away. Valeria then frees all the people locked in ice and brings Alik back to life.
What I Liked:
Valeria; Wow this girl is pure spite, rage, and vengeance and I am so excited to see what she becomes as the Champion of the “evil” god. I can not say I was drawn to any of the characters in a massive way, but I do think I will really like her as the Pale God’s Champion.
Alik; He was sweet. Poor boy was suffering in silence the whole time, but he really was sweet. I hope that he and Valeria are able to finally communicate in the next book. Also, almost dying almost twice really sucks. I hope he doesn’t have lasting effects from any of that.
Chinua; This poor girl. Her story is so tragic. I really hope that she is able to run away from the emperor of her land, and not leave her family to suffer.
Ivan; He was a mysterious man and all I want is to ensure that his family is safe. He deserves that much at least.
Serafima; I really don’t like her, but she wasn’t meant to be likeable. Soooo… We’ll probably get way more of her in the next few books.
Pale God Kosci; I love him so much. This has everything to do with the fact that he’s a god that gets power from suffering and nothing to do with his actual character. I know I’ll get more about him in the future books, but right now? I’m all for his concept.
Setting and the ice plague; The rough ice and snow setting I really like. There are a lot of historic parallels that I’m drawing in my mind to this world and all I know is that the Bright God is evil and any Czar that rallies the people against a type of people, needs to be dethroned.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
Not really a change, but I feel so bad for Valeria and her family. It’s been ten years and she’s gotten so much older. How much is that going to hurt? A lot.
“I am Vengeance.” – pg 328