4 stars

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book. The story caught my attention right away and I had a hard time putting it down. I finished it in 2 days! The writing style is easy, the worldbuilding is thorough without being boring and the characters are fleshed out fairly well.

The story begins with Frankie, a 17 year old girl in foster care. She enters a used book store that is closing for business and meets a mysterious older man that hires her to help him pack up the store. Frankie is an avid fantasy book reader, so the prospect of getting paid to be around books is very appealing. Plus, she gets her pick of the remaining books. All goes well until she arrives at the bookstore to find it vacant. Later that night she discovers that the older man has left a book for her with her foster family. Frankie begins to read the book and we enter Ashra’s world…

Ashra is a young human girl that works in the crystal mines in Krad City. Humans in Krad City are slaves to a hybrid race of humans called Krad. The Krads have superhuman powers and control the humans with crystals. They insert crystal chips (modicum) into human’s brains when they are born. These chips control, suppress and hold the humans captive because they can be “read” by the Krads. Any signs of discontent or rebellion in a human is met with swift and deadly punishment. But Ashra has a secret. She can sense the crystals. She can hear them. She can control them. Which means she can control the modicums and what Krads can “read” from them. This is a dangerous gift as only Krads are supposed to be able to sense and use the crystals.

The humans live in the first universe. A superior race of people called the Glasne dwell in the second universe, which does not have a physical presence. They are only able to reach the first universe through the mental manipulation and dreams of humans. Their leader Fleuric has learned how to enter people’s dreams and manipulate them, as well as make women pregnant, which creates more hybrid Krads. He wants to find a way to completely break through to the first universe where they can rule with impunity. The only thing that can ruin this plan is the rumor of a human that can destroy and banish the Glasne.

The rest of the story follows Ashra, the people that help her find her true path and the Glasne’s quest to finally break free from the second universe. There are plenty of characters to like, hate and root for in the story. The action is fast-paced and non-stop. The story is entertaining and keeps the reader engaged. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series.