OK. It has been a fairly long time since I read a book that sucked me in quite so much. Even one of my all-time favourites Facial Justice needed a second read for me to realise how it had crept into my mind. I think mostly it's due to the fact that so many dystopic novels nowadays are written for YA audiences and never quite deliver.
Overall, it's a fairly simple tale of two characters in a bit of trouble, and the rollercoaster of shit that follows. Some reviewers on here have noted it's wordy. It is. But it suits the story, the dialogue style suits the characters, and the prose itself just pulls you through without intending to cease. But it's so well written, so strong in itself, ties up the loose ends its needs to (it's a pentalogy so...) and gives well-rounded, imperfect characters that aren't too sentimental, passionate, raw and realistic. Bloody difficult when you read something like this when you're a writer, because you want to read the next part but you want to get back to work, too. I gave myself December off to read though, so lucky me.
I didn't really care if I knew the direction of where the story was going at any point, I was perfectly happy to go along with the ride, meets the friends and foes of Nate and Kitty, watch their arguments, their quieter moments, and get an inkling of something a bit weirder and deeper in the different parts of the kingdom, and watch the dark times unfold. I'm already reading Book 2, so I know that there's more world-building to come for those who've just started or finished this one.
What's actually really interesting is that though the world they live in is a fairly horrible place, it doesn't overshadow the character journeys. They're not (yet!) on a big journey to overthrow an empire or anything, they're just trying to find out where they want to fit in the world, and whether there's something happening that's more sinister than they know. They just want freedom but it seems their world is intent on taking that away.
Onwards Book 2.