Title: Beneath the Citadel
Author: Destiny Soria
Published by: Amulet
Publishing date: October 9th 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
In the city of Eldra, people are ruled by ancient prophecies. For centuries, the high council has stayed in power by virtue of the prophecies of the elder seers. After the last infallible prophecy came to pass, growing unrest led to murders and an eventual rebellion that raged for more than a decade.
In the present day, Cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, is determined to fight back against the high council, which governs Eldra from behind the walls of the citadel. Her only allies are no-nonsense Alys, easygoing Evander, and perpetually underestimated Newt, and Cassa struggles to come to terms with the legacy of rebellion her dead parents have left her — and the fear that she may be inadequate to shoulder the burden. But by the time Cassa and her friends uncover the mystery of the final infallible prophecy, it may be too late to save the city — or themselves.
Trigger Warnings: panic and anxiety attacks, abusive parents, captivity and torture, and death.
Beneath the Citadel has five main characters, all of them with chapters told from their point of view, and all of them with distintive voices and personalities. The characters are flawed, they make mistake, they have insecurities and because of that they were compelling and felt like real, three dimentional people, which made them my favorite part of the story. Also, there’s a lot of diversity in this book, which is another aspect that I loved about it! One of the main characters is a POC; another is an ace, plus sized, POC, that has severe anxiety; another one is a bisexual POC, and the other one has trauma from being abuse by his father. All these aspects of the characters identities are integrated seamlessly to the story.
Another great things about this book is the way it shows complex relationship and dynamics between characters that disagree most of the time but still love each other; or characters that come from families that have bad blood between them but still trust each other; or characters that have history between them that makes things awkward but they still love each other. Honestly, there’s so many things that make the relationships between these characters complicated and STILL they love and trust each other and it’s so beautiful and it was something I loved about this book.
Beneath the Citadel has an amazing, layared magic system. This book doesn’t go into too much details about the history of the world, the gods and the magic, it focuses more on the actual abilities that people have and that choice works really well with the pace of the book. There are abilities that people are born with and that are more closely related to the mind, like being able to see and manipulate other people’s memories or being able to see the future. And then there are abilities that people acquire through a painful procedure that only a few have access to and that only one man knows how to perform, those abilities are more physical since people are able to control one substance in most cases a metal, but also other things like glass. As I said, the magic system is fascinating and adds a really cool element to the story, but I really liked the fact that not all the main characters have magic abilities, but all of them offer something to the team and contribute in their own ways.
Now, in terms of the plot, this is a story about a heist and what’s really interesting, more so that the actual heist, is that there are two people pushing the main characters to pull off the heist but they are expecting completely different results. So, it’s really hard for the characters to know what side to choose since they can’t trust neither of them, and that makes the story so much more captivating. Also, throughout the book, sometimes it’s hard to know if the main characters should trust each other, because they have secrets and different motivations that can force them to make choices that can affect the others in negative ways even if they don’t want to hurt them.
There are a lot of twists and turns in this book and there’s always something happening, so the book is entertaining and engaging the whole time. Sometimes it feels like everything is a bit too easy for the main characters, it seems like they manage to get out of the trickiest situations with relative ease, and at the beginning that’s true, but by the end everything gets so intense and so many things go wrong that the resolution is kind of shocking and bittersweet.
Overall, Beneath the Citadel is an entertaining read, with a cast of amazing diverse characters, complex relationships between them and a plot full of twist and turns that will keep at the edge of your seat.
Rating: 4,5 stars
Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? Are any fantasy books that are standalones and that you would recommend?
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