First of all it's the second in a duology and the very blurb has spoilers for book one, Gate to Kandrith. So if you hate spoilers and haven't heard of book one, then go here.
Secondly, there's the cover which I both love and hate. It's a great cover, stunning and bold. I love the way it's framed and the red tones. It telegraphs that this is a fantasy novel quite well. But it looks as if the book is about a sword-swinging barbarian. In fact my hero is a healer. There is only one scene in which he picks up a sword--and after seeing the cover I tweaked the scene slightly so that I could tell myself the man was in fact Lance.
Third, there's the content. The book starts off with Sara having lost her soul and trying to regain it. the ending is happy, but it goes to some very dark places in which she is enslaved and, yes, raped. It feels unfair to encourage people to buy the book without including a Trigger Warning.
And yet I am proud of this book. I worked very hard on it: the pacing and action scenes, the world-building, the characters. It was hard to write compellingly through the viewpoint of someone with no soul and therefore very little emotional connection to her surroundings, but I pulled it off.
|VILLAIN STOMPING ON MY OUTLINE|
Ironically, the rape scenes were not in my original outline. They are one of those (for me rare) cases where the characters came alive and the scene went sideways on me. I wrote the scene how it unfolded and told myself I'd fix it in the second draft, but when it came down to it I couldn't. Because I had something to say about slavery and sacrifice and rape. Too often in our world the victims of rape are shamed and told that they 'provoked' the attack or did something 'stupid' to find themselves in such a situation. But Sara, having no emotions, is not ashamed. She sees right through the villain when he tries blames her for the horrible things he does to her. And that is why the dark scenes stay.
So if you're in the mood for some light entertainment, look elsewhere. But if you're willing to venture a step or two into the dark consider giving Soul of Kandrith a chance.