I read this as part of a collection of books, entitled Magic. It turns out it is the first two books in a trilogy.
Book 1, The Given
For over one hundred years the Civic Order and the Alchemic Order have held a shaky truce, peppered by violence and mistrust. But when Koa, a Civilian-born insurgency, bombs an Alchemist summit, the truce is shattered. Now, Koa is rising. War is coming. And all sixteen-year-old Zeika Anon can do is keep moving as she watches the lords of alchemy slowly overtake her home.
But when clashes between Koa and the Alchemic Order put a final, deadly squeeze on the remaining Civilian territories, Zeika finds herself in the crosshairs of fate. She must walk the line between survival and rebellion against the Alchemists. On one side of the line awaits death. On the other, the betrayal of her civilization, her loyalties, and herself.
Book 2 The Taken
If Zeika Anon didn’t know she was screwed before, she definitely knows now. Between Azures, Koa, Sal Morgan, and the delightful demonic “newcomers” to her Demesne, Zeika finds herself pinned, enemies on all sides. And yet a hidden route, one only she can take, may be the only way to escape the insanity and death that awaits her at every turn.
But as her government succumbs to the pressure of the Alchemical Order, a catch-22 kicks off a different journey that Zeika loathes to take. A journey that will force her to expose who she really is, unite with a hated enemy, face deadly adversaries, and abandon the people she loves the most.
The freedom she wants must be TAKEN… and she must do it before the Azures— and a man who fancies himself a god— take her first.
It tells of a dystopian world after something called the Cataclysm has occurred. We are never told what this was and why it produced such a terrible world.
The world is divided into the Haves—the Azures—and the Have-nots—the Civilians. There is also a group called the Alchemists, who have magic, and who come exclusively from the Azure class.
The Ghosts of Koa, in the title, are a group of insurgents who are trying to wreck the current situation.
The main characters are sixteen-year-old Ezekiel, known as Zeika and her five-year-old sister, Manja. Zeika feels a great responsibility to her sister as their mother is addicted to drugs and their father is away. The child is also unwell.
It is Manja I have the biggest problem with. We learn (later) that her illness is haemophilia. Now that is a sex-linked illness and is VERY rare in females. In fact, it can only be passed to a female if the mother is a carrier and the father a haemophiliac. Since Manja’s father is portrayed as a large, healthy man, working in the mines, I do not think he has this disease.
The other problem I have with Manja is that she does not sound, nor act like a five-year-old. Yes, she’s a genius, but still—even geniuses of five don’t sound quite as grown up as Manja.
I also have a problem with Zeika’s name. As far as I am concerned, Ezekiel is a male name. (Remember the prophet in the Old Testament?)
The other main character is an Azure who takes an interest in Zeika and Manja. He has a mysterious background that we gradually disconer more about in the course of the story.
The writing is not of the best. There are quite a lot of errors, both gramatically and in word usage. One example that annoyed me entensely was that he does not know the difference between ‘to lay’ and ‘to lie’. He uses ‘to lay’ all the way through, even when it should have been ‘to lie’. Stylistically, it is not good in a number of places, although not all through.
Although I enjoyed the story in the main, there were a number of things that Colby R. Rice did not explain. For example, he talks about the Demesnes. Now that’s clear, but he also talks about the Protected. Are these the same as the civic demesnes or just some of them, or something different altogether?
He mentions people he called ‘wolf-moons’, but gives no explanation as to what these people are until nearly the end of the second book, when it just happens that he mentions it almost in passing.
There are one of two other things I found confusing, especially what The Collapse was and how it ended up in such a dystopian world.
I am giving the book 3 stars ***. Although I enjoyed the story, and would like to know how it ends, the confusions and factual errors lose it one star, and the grammar and word usage loses it another.
All three books are available on Amazon.
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