But her bravery and magical skill tested to the limit when a hostage from the other side of the wall arrives at her palazzo. Seeking a kindred spirit, she promises to help him - but before she can, her secret is discovered. Hunted by her own kind, she must convince the Knowledge Seekers that she is really on their side. But can she convince herself?
Tribute is quite unique, not least in the way that it tackles racism. In this world the mages dominate over the non-magic users - who they call kine, like cattle. These non-magic users are oppressed and downtrodden and loathe the mages. Zara believes that both groups are as human as each other and are equals, a spirit she inherited from her late mother. Zara is impressively imperfect - she's been brought up with the most racist of views and they still surface sometimes, and to experience her dealing from it from her own perspective is impressively distinctive.
There's a lot of big ideas in Tribute. Some common YA themes all thrown together and I feel like none of them were really given enough justice or explained fully. Even after the book has ended I have no idea about most of the world Tribute is set in, even though the first half of the book felt like little more than world building. I wish that more focus was given to the factions and guilds and what have you that I felt were mentioned randomly and not really explained. I kept thinking that I'd missed a few pages and found myself coming up confused quite often.
I honestly found it hard to get in to at first. It is such a big story and while the world-building was necessary, it was definitely boring me slightly. I spent much of the book struggling with the language, only to finish it and find a glossary at the back! About mid-way into the book, when the 'mission' of the story begins to get started it really begins to pick up and from then I couldn't really put it down.
All in all, I do feel that the second half of the book saved it for me. The plot moved quickly and the writing was excellent. It's set up the second book fantastically and I'm looking forward to reading it.
3 out of 5 stars. Honestly, I've found it really hard to rate! I really liked it, particularly towards the end but unfortunately the story ran away with itself and left me behind too many times for anything higher.
Tribute is released tomorrow March 6th! Let me know in the comments if you pick up a copy!
*I received my copy of Tribute from Hot Key Books. Thank you to them!
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