2 Oct 2018

Review: The Lion of Ackbarr

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

From Goodreads:
Fifteen-year-old Mika is to be married to a foreign boy she has only met a few times, despite her family mourning the recent and unexplained disappearance of her twin brother, Kaylan.

Forced to live in a strange land, far from her home in Cassai, she is resigned to her life as a lady until the day she discovers her new family dead around her. Mika escapes the city and disguises herself to travel to Ackbarr, certain she will discover the real reason for her brother’s disappearance.

Meanwhile, her dreams are filled with a predator stalking the forests of her homeland. Dreams that make her wake, trembling with the feel of iron blood filling her mouth.

Was I uncomfortable reading this book? Yes.  Was it necessarily a bad thing? Yes and no.
The Lion of Ackbarr is set in a world of two competing kingdoms, one named Cassai and the other Ackbarr. The Cassai Ambassador's daughter is forced to marry an Ackbarr merchant's son for what seems to be political reasons. The Ambassador's daughter, Mika, is just fifteen years old, used to getting her way in life. Now she has to face reality and behave like ladies in the society in her world are expected to. She travels to the Kingdom of Ackbarr with her new father-in-law and the husband who mistreats her constantly, believing her only job is to bear his babies. Being a foreigner in the new city she is brought to, she is the center of stares and she leads a lonely life until she finds her in-laws brutally murdered.

Mika disguises herself as a boy and begins her journey to Ackbarr to find out what really happened to her brother. Her journey is interrupted by the bounty on her head and an opportunity that might just enable her to escape the horrors of her marriage forever.

Mika, as a character, is very unemotional. She tries to feel a lot, but in the end, she is driven by a force that makes her seem cold on the outside. Her life is now full of constant change and the fear of being discovered. To me, it felt she made some irrational decision time to time, but still being level-headed most of the time.

The book was brutally honest about gruesome things we are used to reading in muted versions. Especially, if the book's blurb indicates it's not just for adults. The descriptions of the rape-scenes and the blood and gore from the attacks, might feel too explicit or triggering for some. 

The book is more world driven than plot-driven. Sure, there is a lot going on, but there are a few lulls in the plot when you feel like you are not moving in any direction. Those stand-stills are filled with the explicit description of the world's workings and the every-day business. 

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