I recently picked up the trilogy on Audiobook for IFA 2021, and I have to say the first of Eska's tale works even better for me in that format. The narration and story meshed well and elevated it for me. My only concern when coming back to the story was the ending feeling abrupt and more of a break point/pause, than a rounded conclusion.
With the local nature it makes sense to stop book 1 there, but I'm left with a very slight taste of anti-climax. That want I'm sure will be sated as Eska's take escalates.
Blagged an ARC and well worth the read. Shame for the delay, as it is a solid and accomplished piece of writing and feels akin to a female Prince(ss) of Thorns, minus any royalty and thrown into a pit not unlike in Faithless in tone.
A young woman is conscripted to war - and they lose. Throughout I had flashbacks to Royce in Malzan and that wasn't a bad vibe as Eska's predicament develops and worsens. Really worsens.
I especially liked the claustrophobia of Eska's story as on her own she is powerless and her friend is in the same predicament. Between Malice and brutality. Secrets and living in fear is quite a combination to start a girl's tale and it does not disappoint whit how Eska survives, forms alliances and uneasy friendships behind her veneer of defiance and forms a plan.
Cunning and desperate, hiding behind blackness Eska forms a plan to escape and rolls her dice. Behold there are twists and confrontations to overcome and maybe the odd betrayal. I felt it was a risk keeping the story localised, yet it was cleverly written and the fact was a neat twist to the tension.
I look forward to seeing what Eska does if/when freedom occurs. I suspect in her case, revenge is a dish best served angry.