One word comes to mind to describe this book: exquisite. It’s so, so good. It also has a description and premise very similar to Six of Crows. And yes, it has a lot of similarity but still manages to be so unique that the comparison feels unnecessary.
Séverin, after a job gone wrong, gathers his unlikely allies together to find the most challenging-to-find artifact of all, and unknowingly save the world at the same time.
The book has four voice, that of: Séverin, a man seeking his stolen inheritance; Laila, an Indian dancer with a complex past; Enrique, a troubled historian; and Zofia, a brilliant engineer. (Zofia, as speculated by most of the book community, is autistic. Though I haven’t seen “confirmation” of this intention, the description rings true.
There’s also Tristan and Hypnos. Though without a time to narrate, they round out the team in equally important ways. The cast is both diverse, and unique in qualities beyond that diversity. There isn’t a single point of view that drags, nor one that I most look forward to. There is maybe one of the main six characters that feels sidelined throughout, but without spoiling anything, it becomes obvious at the end why they had less prominence.
The story is grounded in mythology; name it, and it is there. It helps the magic of the world, making it feel more probable than not. My favorite kind of historical fiction is the kind with fantasy, and this is definitely the type. The Exposition Universalle makes up the backdrop of this story, to great success.
The more I would hear about this book, the more I wanted it, and clearly the praise was for a good reason: the characters are amazing, the backdrop incredible and the writing is gorgeous. It is highly worth the read.