Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review
Release date: 09 Oct
Beneath the Citadel follows 4 teens who are trying to bring down the empire that enslaved them. With quick thinking, they manage to escape only to find themselves forced to choose whether its better the devil you know or the one you don’t. Narrated by 6 different characters, all keeping secrets, readers slowly learn of the history of the Citadel, its religious leadership, and the connections between these characters.
Beneath the Citadel is set in a word where power is derived from prophecy, these prophecies have kept the powerful council in their positions for centuries and led to rebellions for equality, the notion of fate dictates everything about the city of Eldra and how it moves forward in the world. The main conflict is an age-old tale where those with power have no problem committing acts of violence or even orchestrating mass murder in order to keep those dynamics in play and to keep in control. I love that the pace never really let up and the characters were constantly on their toes, racing against fate to change their lives for good.
I really enjoyed the main cast of characters, each of the characters has their own motivations and flaws, which play into the plot and how things come about and so combining those plus a defined prophecy is very intriguing. As most of the narrators are teenagers their interactions are often teasing, witty, and fun. I loved how each character clearly has their own distinct voice and I made it effortless to tell whose point of view I was reading without having to check. This allows the plot to unfold slowly, as this is a very character-driven novel, and so understanding each of their histories and motivations is key to following the plot. The character development seemed to evolve in a more realistic way so to speak you could effortlessly understand how the characters grew over the course of the story rather than using the cliched 'I'm a child who knows no power' and then suddenly they are the most powerful mage anyone has ever come across.
This YA fantasy acknowledges character sexuality without making it a central focus point it is mentioned just as casually as their height or hair colour. One character is bisexual! Another is gay! And a third is aromantic asexual. These characters are who they are, and there are no angsty plot points that revolve around them suffering because they're queer. Even when discussing intimate relationships, the non-heterosexual pairing felt natural rather than placed in the book for the “shock factor”.
I felt that Soria really hit the mark in her vision of the city of Eldra. Although there was no map, I could identify each character’s journey through the world. I was fascinated by the world Destiny created and revealed the plot little by little. This book has almost a fairy tale type feel to it where everything you want comes with a price with the details murky at best up until it’s time to pay up. Destiny’s approach to ‘magic’ and abilities not just, prophecies but the kind of magic that can alter memory, unmasks intent, and bonds blood to pure elements at a cost. It is such a wonderful concept.
The theme of magic is great because for the most part in the book it’s more the ability to see just enough into the future but not enough to know that any plans will work out how you expect. A lot of thought went into the small details in this book. The powers people can possess and where those powers came from and the government system made sense. I also think the religion in the book was well explained, it was enjoyable to see how everything intertwined to make a well-rounded tale.
ps no idea what the white bits on my kindle are only appear on the photo