“This could be it. This could be where it all falls apart and my faith in people is what finishes me.”
Notice: Choice of the Sezel is the final book of the Daughter of the Zel trilogy. You can read my review for Daughter of the Zel (book #1) here and Girl of the Nevda (book #2) here.
Notice: I was contacted by Phoebe and offered a free kindle version of her book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions of the work.
“You don’t think it’s senseless to carve marks onto yourself for someone else?” he asks.
“No. I think it makes perfect sense. Our relationships mark us after all, even if we cannot see an outward sign.”
Efa finally has certainty in her life. She has chosen who she is and where she truly belongs.
But choosing a future as a daughter of Zel is not without its risks and, although she has walked away from her past in Nevda, this may not prevent it catching up with her.
It may be a bold statement to make, but the synopsis of this book does not do it enough justice. Choice of the Sezel brought me smiles, laughs, and a mix of heart-racing and heartwarming moments. When my eyes met the bottom of the last page, I was filled with immense satisfaction with the final turn of events in this final installment.
So let’s talk.
“Something disturbs the seagulls below and the sound of them is raucous. Hearing them will always make me remember Eluena’s apt description, back when I was a recluse emerging from my ignorance.“
Choice of the Sezel begins where Girl of the Nevda ended: the long-awaited reunion of Efa and Cordelia with the other half of their Zel family, Ydris and Vito. From there, a time skip places us on the other side of three years later, where the relationship between Zel and Nevda is only getting worse.
First of all, gone from this book is the version of Efa Valerian who was afraid of who she is and the power that she holds. Even though I mentioned in my review for book two that Efa’s character arc is beautifully developed, she truly shines in book three. Her sense of self and belonging have crystallized. Her determination has piqued. There’s something so empowering about juxtaposing who she was in book one and who she is by the end of book three. She steps into her power and becomes the version of herself she never knew she could be.
Although my lifestyle post for my 2020 resolutions is yet to arrive, let’s just say: I hope to foster a character arc as profound as Efa’s as I step into another decade of life.
Let’s also talk about the writing style of this book.
I am truly blown away by how much stronger of a voice there is in this book compared to the previous ones. In my review for Daughter of the Zel, I mentioned that it was a book that oddly benefited from its simple language and lack of world-building details. Coming back to that viewpoint with the entire series behind me has provided a unique perspective as to why this worked so well.
The simple, tentative language of Daughter of the Zel directly mirrored who Efa was in the beginning. I said in the review that it made me want to protect her.
The assertive but conflicted language of Girl of the Nevda directly mirrored the beginning of Efa’s metamorphosis. In that review, I noted the themes of independence and self-discovery.
Now, the commanding, self-possessed language of Choice of the Sezel mirrors the final product of Efa’s metamorphosis.
And she’s not playing games.
“I’ve found a downside of being a Hand of Judgement is that everyone is very suspicious of your hands. A benefit of being a Hand of Judgement is that everyone is only suspicious of your hands.”
The writing of this book perfectly complimented the high-stakes of the rapidly deteriorating relationship between Zel and Nevda. A war is brewing. The entire rising action of Choice is a series of escalation attempts by Nevda, and because Efa is who she is, her big question is how to stop it.
Let’s just say it made for a very gripping final installment of the trilogy.
There are other things I could talk at length about in Choice of the Sezel, but I’ll leave you with a list of social themes that this book illustrates and some conversations it could start.
- Use of propaganda to manipulate a country’s citizens into hating another country
- Political corruption and malice
- Genuine friendships/mentorships and sibling bonds
- Healthy romantic relationships and conversations around accepting ALL of your partner vs. just the parts you like
- Acknowledgement and ownership of past wrongs; genuine apologies
- Representation of how one person and one initiative can make all the difference
Again, thank you so much to Phoebe Ritter for providing me a Kindle version of all three books in the Daughter of the Zel trilogy. Growing with Efa has truly been a great experience and I wholeheartedly recommend this series for readers who crave amazing character development and short books that pack a punch.
Follow Phoebe on Twitter and BUY HER BOOKS.
Until next time!
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