The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates 1) by A. K. Larkwood
What if you knew how and when you will die?
Csorwe does—she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.
But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.
But Csorwe will soon learn—gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due. (publisher)
Csorwe is an Oshaaru and her people worship the Unspoken One. Csorwe is a Chosen Bride, someone who will be sacrificed to the god on her 14th birthday. But on the day of the sacrifice, a stranger called Belthandros Sethennai makes her an offer that she can’t refuse and helps her to run away.
Sethennai is a wizard in exile and has his own reasons for helping Csorwe; she can help him to return to his land.
I have mixed feelings about this one. It had good things and then the not so good things. But it’s not a bad book by any means, especially for a debut.
I liked the world-building and it’s impressive but there is quite much to take in. The book is divided into several parts and I liked the first part most where it focuses on young Csorwe. But the transitions between parts were somewhat awkward with time-jumps. Fast forward a few years and suddenly she is all trained to fight. Then 5 years have passed, and she has worked with Tal for 5 years and they hate each other. We’re missing huge chunks of her life and I didn’t connect with her, or the others, because so much happens behind the scenes. It just made me detached from the characters.
It dragged a bit in the middle and I felt the book could have been shorter. And if I’m honest, the most boring thing was Csorwe’s love-interest Shuthmili. She’s a super talented wizard who must be kept safe. And who had a non-existing personality. I just couldn’t understand why her?
I realize that I’m making it sound worse than it was because it wasn’t bad. There were lots of good things in it. But I really wanted to like it more. And since this was a debut book, I’m interested to see where the author will go from here.
Published: Tor Books (February 11, 2020)