I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Irona 700 by Dave Duncan
Published by Open Road Media on August 18th 2015
Number of Pages: 402
Genres: Fantasy, Historical
Purchase: At Amazon
It is Midsummer Day, the beginning of the year 700, in the city of Benign. All the children born in the year 684 celebrate their joint sixteenth birthday by passing in front of the statue of the blind goddess Caprice—but only one will become the Chosen and join the Seventy who govern and guide the city.
Much to her surprise, Irona Matrinko, one of the many children of an impoverished fisherman, is chosen. Irona 700 moves into the palace and, with the help of a new mentor, recognizes and cultivates her great talent for guiding wars: strategy and tactics, leadership and inspiration.
As Irona gives her life to the city, an ancient enemy, Maleficence, attacks again and again, corrupting Irona’s friends, destroying her lover, and continually defeating her grandest plans for peace and harmony. Along the way, Irona becomes a masterful politician, a shrewd judge of character, and, even at great cost to her personal happiness, a true heroine.
I really enjoyed this book. It was the first time I’ve read a book by Dave Duncan, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the synopsis sounded good, so I requested it. In some very small ways, it reminded me a bit of Priestess of the White by Trudi Canavan.
I really liked reading about Irona and her life, the little bits we saw before she was chosen, as well as after. She had realistic strengths and flaws, and while I didn’t always agree with some of the things she did, it made sense for the character to do them. I loved Vly, didn’t care for Veer at all, and the little boy (you’ll know whom I mean when you read it) made me wish he had died as a child.
The world was really well written and fleshed out. Almost all the things that happened, were believable. One thing seemed too easy, but explaining would be a fairly major spoiler so I’ll leave it at that.
The ending of the book was a bit disappointing, it ended with a lot of loose threads left. I wanted to know what would happen to Irona next. If Maleficence was finally defeated or if it would come back again. Would she ever make it to become the First? The end felt more like the end of a first book in a series end, instead of a stand-alone book end. But I don’t think a sequel is planned, nor do I know how there could be enough plot left to make a decent sequel.
Most of the book revolves around politics and intrigue, and maneuvering for the best status in said politics. So if that kind of thing bothers you, I wouldn’t recommend reading this. It was written in such a way that for me at least, it didn’t bother me at all. It just made me want to know what Irona would come up with next, and how she would stay on top or at least one of the top.
If you like fantasy with a bit of historical and military feel, and lots of plot twists and intrigue, I would recommend this book.