This book is incredibly difficult to describe. There are many layers to the story, making it truly compelling. The characters are very likeable, and quite relatable, especially Eyla, who reminded me of myself at times.
J. Simon has a vivid imagination and an impressive creative mind, because this is not just one story but a tapesrty of them woven together and used to make utter sense of the world these characters live in. I loved reading the amazing tales, the outright lies that people told to get others to buy their wares or make a philosophical point. I loved the way that some characters would use a story to explain how they felt, using them as an elongated metaphor for their own situation.
However, it took some time for me to truly understand how this world worked and what was truth and what was mere fabrication. The writing style may be jarring for some because they may get confused within the story and in the fact that there is a lot of varied symbolism going on. Some of the tales in the book do go on for some time, sometimes beginning a chapter and making you forget which character is meant to you (thankfully you only have to choose between Aris, a clever young man, and Eyla, a forthright young woman). Honestly, sometimes this takes more concentration than perhaps some would like, but personally, I really enjoyed this.. once I understood what was going on.
The story centres around Aris and Eyla, and describes every character beautifully. The two protagonists are very human, with flaws just like everyone else. I love their arcs as they learn who they should be and what they have to give up to hep themselves and their families. Really, the themes revolve around friendship, family, love and sacrifice. There was selfishness, mixed with heroism and some romance thrown in, so overall this was a very human story instead of the oddity that I thought would be the entire book, thanks to the first page or so that made pretty much no sense to me until I looked back on it.
This is a great read and it really enraptures you with the charming stories and interesting characters. Very enjoyable and definitely readable, perfect for fantasy lovers and those who like a bit of adventure.
Majra on Goodreads