Let’s deal with the prologue first. It is in present tense. Ninety percent of the rest of the book is in past tense, till the story reaches where the prologue left off. The book then goes back to present tense. We know from the prologue that two of the main characters are hale and hearty ‘in the present’ so no need to worry about their fate for ninety percent of the book.
The rest of the book reads like a good first draft. The writing is very clunky, and it is hard to make sense of some sentences. The story is under-baked, full of contradictions and continuity slips. You can see where the author has changed her mind or tossed in a new idea without properly integrating it into the story.
For example, take Kellin. Druj appoints him as the captain of Durj’s army at one stage. Later this title changes to commander. Even though the captain of Durj’s army would be a position of responsibility, Kellin seems completely detached from Durj’s schemes. Durj doesn’t display any need for him, so why appoint him? Durj shows Kellin written proof of Liz’s treachery but later says that Kellin can’t read.
There is a strange dissonance in the main character, Liz. She is far too likeable for someone who is a ruthless killer. And she is ruthless—she admits it herself. She says that she’d kill anyone who got in her way on one of her boss’s missions.
She is the centre of her friends’ attention to an almost psychotic degree. For example, each of her comrades has very personal reasons to hate Durj, but, except for Cat, it is Durj’s betrayal of Liz that is their sole focus. Liz’s violent past (for which she never displays the least guilt) doesn’t matter. She is nice and (too) loyal, and that is all that matters.
The least thing Liz does is met with vociferous praise. Leadership of the rebellion is thrust upon her by other people, for no logical reason. Even she cannot understand it. Admittedly, the training she gives might be useful, but does that really qualify her to be a leader of a coalition of peoples? If you were a Lord, would your natural choice for leader be someone who was once your biggest enemy’s most loyal assassin?
I am sorry, but these issues killed my enjoyment of the book.