“You never knew who you could trust in a place like this.”
Notice: I received an eARC of this book from Book Sirens in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my view of the work.
What would you do to save a sister?
As the last mortal kingdom of Kepler resists the Immortal Empire, its young queen faces a devastating attack. Queen Vivian is two minutes into her reign when an arrow pierces her heart and infects her with the Immortality Virus. But she has too much magic to become immortal and not enough to survive. She must find more magic fast, or she’ll die.
Meanwhile, another young mortal faces an uncertain future of her own. Carina is fleeing for her life, but her magic is a tracking beam for immortals. She must learn to harness and control it, or she’ll be captured and killed. Then she meets the queen of South Kepler.
Vivian needs Carina’s magic, and she can offer safe haven in exchange. But can Vivian trust this common girl? Carina isn’t on the kingdom’s registry of magicians. What if she’s a Northern rebel? A spy for the Immortal Empire? And will the truth be revealed in time to save them both?
As many reviewers have pointed out, this book is quite frankly a wild ride of magic and science fiction. What I enjoyed most about my reading experience was definitely learning about the very nuanced and detailed world-building.
Sisters is set on a foreign planet named Kelper, which was settled by mortal humans because it was the most similar to Earth. In this book we follow two perspectives: 18-year-old Queen Vivan of South Kepler and her brothers Bast and Nate, as well as the perspective of 16- and 13-year old sisters Carina and Miguela, who are orphans that have spent their lives in hiding in non-religious sisterhood.
We as readers are thrust into chaos with the opening of this book: an assassination attempt is made on the moments-ago crowned Queen of South Kepler. She has been infected with the Immortality Virus, which is an engineered strain of Influenza.
With this, we learn the key divide of this book: mortals vs. immortals. The key difference between mortals and immortals is that mortals have magical abilities but don’t live forever, and immortals live forever, but completely lack empathy and have characteristic red eyes. The background of how mortals vs. immortals came to be was very thrilling to read, and was a great example of how uncritical enthusiasm can lead to serious consequences for the world. In all, the highlight of this book for me was definitely learning about the world of Kelper and the history behind the Cardinal Families of the North, South, East, and West.
Let’s talk about the magic. The magical abilities in this book are pretty representative of YA magic (telekinesis, mind reading, elemental powers like fire and ice wielding, etc), but they can also be used in a unique way.
For instance, if the characters have a pure enough connection with each other and their emotions align with the situation, they can actually siphon their own magic to someone else. This happens the most with Vivian, whose brothers are constantly siphoning magic to her to help her fight the Immortality Virus that’s slowly killing her.
Another interesting thing about this book is the “Log” entries between chapters (almost like diary entries from other off-page characters). I read this as an e-book, so I’m curious if the final print will have these “logs” take a multimedia format (kinda like the Illuminae Files). The logs were basically ways to learn more backstory on something that happened in the previous chapter. They came in very handy for my overall comprehension of the story.
In all, I think this book was a seamless blend of fantasy and science fiction. But beware, it ends on what heck of a cliff hanger that will leave you asking yourself, “wait, what?”
There is one aspect of this book that wore on my patience every now and again, and that is the lack of communication between characters. As one reviewer on Goodreads has put it perfectly, the plot of Sisters kind of meanders in places where it really didn’t need to. Why? A series of miscommunication (or lack there of) between characters kept spinning new redirects to the story.
Of course, some of these scenarios are wander into spoiler territory, so I can’t give details. But let’s just say, the book would have ended a whole 100 pages sooner if two key characters would’ve just had an honest conversation.
Nevertheless, this is the beginning of a series, so I guess we’ll just have to find out what happens next. Will you?