By Makiia Lucier
November 9, 2021 • 336 PAGES • 9780358272090
I had a great time reading Year of the Reaper.
It has bold, fierce heroines; a grumpy but gold hearted protagonist; plot twists I didn’t see coming; and one of my favorite underutilized tropes: unbreakable brotherly bonds. I think it’s hard to write the evolution of a person in ways that are consistent with their character, but Lucier does a spectacular job of doing just that.
The world building is beautifully crafted (familiar but new and not overly complicated). I personally love historical fiction and even more so when it’s fantasy, so I had no problem placing myself in the setting of this novel, which is set during the Black Plague.
I did have some small gripes, however. For one, the resolution feels a little rushed. I guess I expected the main antagonist to go out with more of a bang. I would have liked to have learned a bit more about them from them, as opposed to other characters’ perceptions of them in the book. There were also some side plots that I wish I got more of– like the protagonist speaking to ghosts– or more character exploration– like the King and Queens relationship and Ventillas and Kemen. But there’s really only so much you can explore in a stand-alone, so for what it does explore with its length, YOR doesn’t disappoint.
Overall, I would recommend this to anyone wanting to delve into a historical mystery with complex and endearing characters. YOR is a YA, but I personally feel the tones of the novel were a bit darker than what you’d typically expect from its genre.
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