I read mostly science fiction and romance, and often a combination of the two.
I greatly enjoyed the setting for this story. The planet Zulaire and its people resembled modern India in several aspects, including dress, religion, mannerisms and caste system. The caste system, and the mythology/history surrounding it, was a neat part of the story, and also acted as the center of conflict which moved the story events forward. The world building was exceptional and was the main reason I enjoyed reading the book.
Zulaire finds itself caught up in a caste-system rebellion, but there are a few twists to the normal reasons for an uprising. I won't go into this, because these twists are part of what made the story enjoyable for me. In the middle of the conflict is the main character, Andi, who works for a trading company. She loves Zulaire, even though she is treated as an outsider by most, and finds herself smack-dab in the middle of the war-zone when conflict breaks out. Tom, a member of the elite special forces, is sent to pick her up before the conflict breaks out, but things don't go according to plan.
Andi, as a character, is strong and well-rounded. Tom is a bit alpha, but as a soldier, he has his reasons. He also has a tragic story and his own personal hang-ups which add to both the story and the building relationship between him and Andi. Although I never got a good feel for their relationship or any warm-fuzzies, I could understand how the trying circumstances and their personalities would bring them together.
There is a lot going on in this novel. Andi finds herself in one dangerous situation after another, with only a few lulls for her, and the reader, to catch a breath. This hurry-up and heavy-action pacing left me a little wanting in the character / relationship development department, but I can certainly say there wasn't a single dull moment.
The story is told via Andi's point of view throughout the entire novel. The only problem I had with Andi's POV was her constant talking to herself. I don't mind internal dialogue (usually noted by a tense shift and italics), but Andi internally commented on everything in just about every paragraph. Most of the time, it felt like unnecessary side commentary or used to point out the obvious to the reader. I found it a bit tiresome and it took me out of the story. This was my main reason for giving four stars instead of five.
All in all, this is a recommended read with exceptional world building, an adventurous story and good science fiction.
I was provided a copy by the author with the request for honest feedback.