Series: Bhinian Empire #1
Genre: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Published by HarperTeen (2.5.2013)
Hardcover, 304 pages
An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure.
Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.
Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.
So, I wanted to read this book really bad because the cover was amazing and it sounded cool, then when Inky was like, HEY this book is about a girl who can talk to cats! (because I somehow missed the cat part in the synopsis -JessiFail-) I was pretty sure I would love it. And love it I did!!! (I really don’t think there’s any possible way I could have NOT liked it!)
I really liked Nisha. She was easy for me to relate to (and she talked to cats, of course I’m going to like her). She screwed up a lot and tended to follow her emotions recklessly, but she had good intentions. And a good heart. She thought of other people before herself, even if mistakes she made affected the people she cared about.
Oh, and I adored Tac! He was quiet and mysterious, but for some reason I just thought he was awesome – and I found out in the end why….I knew there was a good reason!! ^.^
Because of the cats being main characters, this book tugged at my heartstrings! There were so many scenes were I AWWWed out loud, and in one scene I actually cried because something really awful happened. But there were just certain times when one of the cats (okay, mainly just Jerrit) would do something freaking adorable and I just couldn’t help but squee!
“You can’t fix this, Jerrit. You’re just a cat.”
Jerrit lowered his head, his tail drooping.
And of course, the murder mystery aspect was awesome! I didn’t really guess who the killer was (the suspicion crossed my mind a couple times, just didn’t actually think it would be that person). The motives were shallow, but justifiable. And I love how Nisha handled it in the end. Way to go, Nisha!
Oh, and I totally loved Nisha’s background! I figured it out pretty early – as well as the connection with the spotted cat tribe – but when it was actually revealed I was totally fist-pumping and yelling ‘I KNEW IT!!!’ instead of just feeling like, ‘Meh, I already had it figured out’ like I usually do in books I predict. And the revelation of Tac’s character….OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!! I let out a massive gasp (TOTALLY caught me by surprise! Didn’t see that one coming!) and was practically jumping up and down! XD (and okay I admit I may have gotten a little misty and squished the book to my bosom in a loving embrace….)
The originality of this book was amazing. First of all, the talking to cats! I can’t even think of one other book like that (except for maybe Iron Fey, but that was because Grim actually could talk, so that’s different). And because I’m a raging crazy cat lady, I was almost guaranteed to like it. But the rest of the story was just as good! The City with its castes and Houses was very unique, and I loved the setting with its exotic culture. It was very well thought out! Oh and the Sune were awesome!!! As soon as they were mentioned I wanted to see more of them (and I did!). I wish I could have known more about their culture, though.
Something else that worked for me was the infinitesimal romance. There were a few scenes where she met with Devan in secret, but they were short (not to mention few and far between) and the romance took a back burner to all the happenings. (As most of you know, I don’t care for too much romance.) I wasn’t really a fan of Devan, though – sorry Devan, but you were overshadowed by Jerrit’s awesomeness! And I didn’t like the way he acted toward Nisha after something happened to change her status. I understood because of the culture, but still. If he really ‘loved’ her, he wouldn’t have reacted so strongly.
The only complaint I have is that I would have liked to know more about the Empire and its background. I struggled a bit with putting some of the world building together. And maybe a clearer explanation of the houses, because I got the Houses and the castes confused a bit. I would have loved to see a map of the Empire, too! (I love maps!)
CAN WE PLEASE HAVE A SEQUEL, MIRIAM? PLEASE?! Or maybe a book about Jerrit? :D
Favorite character: Jerrit, of course! <3333
They are wrong, you know. You are beautiful.
Jerrit’s words erased the last of Nisha’s urge to cry. Well, as long as you think so. She reached down and ran her fingers through the short fur of his head. Jerrit rubbed his nose against her hand.
If he doesn’t realize how special you are, he doesn’t deserve you. Not that he deserves you anyway.
SEE WHY I LOVE JERRIT?
And now, I’m going to do something I NEVER do….share the book trailer!
(I don’t really like book trailers because they always fail to impress me but this is probably the best one I’ve ever seen and it’s awesome and you need to watch it! *takes deep breath*)