Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Savage City by L Penelope
Narrator: Caroline Sorunke
Series: The Bliss Wars #1
on March 31, 2022
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Length: 9 hours, 3 minutes
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For Talia, death is only the beginning of survival...
When a tragic accident cuts my lonely life short, instead of heaven or hell, I’m stolen away to a terrifying city of warring shifter clans—the Nimali and the Fai. The Nimali mistake me for their missing princess. Her father, the dragon king, is identical to my own. But in this world, he dotes on me with the love and affection I always craved. And in a land with no tolerance for outsiders, feigning amnesia and impersonating shifter royalty may be the only way to survive.
For Ryin, falling in love is the worst kind of betrayal...
As a Fai warrior in captivity, I'm forced to serve my enemy even as I plot their destruction. The lost princess returned much changed, now the heat between us crackles irresistibly. While helping her heal using my magical talents, I begin to question what I thought I knew about the Nimali. She remains as forbidden as ever, but she also might be the key to freedom for me and my people.
Savage City follows a girl after her death to a different earth in the multiverse where she is mistaken for the missing princess. An Earth where after a drastic life altering event the planet has changed and humanity was split into three different people: The humans, Nimali and the Fai. Talia must pretend to be the missing princess if she wants to survive this new world. This is the first book of The Bliss Wars and my first L. Penelope story.
This is a world with magic. Where the Nimali can shift into animal form to be better and stronger warriors, while the Fai channel the essence of the animal without changing their physical appearance. As Talia learns about this world she craves love and attention from her doppelganger’s father, the attention she never got from her own father. But she sees the imbalance of power also and how cruel her father is this world is. Maybe she can find a way to help the captive Fai in this land and find her place in this world at the same time.
I enjoyed this story. The world was pretty cool and I liked how the two different peoples basically had the same kind of ceremony to receive their spirit animal but channeled them so differently. The plot was interesting and kept me very engaged in the building love story between Talia and Ryin. There are undertones of a conservation story happening as the Nimali need a mined type of mineral to run all of their technology while the Fai find those deposits sacred and do not touch them. The conflict between the two races is over a mineral called Bliss and the Nimali’s dependence on it.
I have a few nit picks. The first chapter was a bit jumbled, that could be on purpose because how clear should someone who is dying’s perception be. But I wasn’t sure what was going on in the first chapter. Then the insta love was totally insta-lovey. The characters got barely anytime together and then all of the sudden they had sex. A lot of the characters seemed a bit flat and could have been a little better fleshed out. Especially Talie herself.
Still overall, I really liked the idea of the world and the bound creatures from a spirit realm of sorts. It was a very cool take on a shifter premise. I like it enough that I’d give the second book in the series a try to see if the author couldn’t flesh out the next story just a little more fully.
I always appreciate it as a reader when a book with multiple PoVs does multiple narrators too. Caroline Sorunke and Nathan Lang were good story tellers for this and I liked how they portrayed each character’s PoV. I did enjoy Nathan slightly more than Caroline. I was able to listen at my usual 1.5x speed.
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The magical world in this book does sound pretty cool!
The world is so cool. If the author works on character development a bit in the next book it could be a solid 5 star easily.
I like multiple narrators for multiple POVs as well. So glad you enjoyed this enough to try the next book.
I honestly think it adds so much to a story.
Well, this does sound interesting. I like the sound of the general premise of the story. You always seem to find the most interesting books, Robin!
I do like jumping around and a cool description will always draw me in.
Excellent review, Robin. I had read/listened to the first two books in her Earthsinger Chronicles. Like you, I enjoyed the world and the mythology, but I had some issues with the story, so I didn’t finish it. This one sounds really good, so I may need to give it a try. Thanks.
Really great ideas, but she maybe needs a little help editing or fleshing out her stories just a little more. Super interesting premises though.