I was born with a reading list I will never finish.
I am somewhat split on this book. The first half was harder for me than the last half. Overall though it was a good offering from Lori Lee. The writing was strong and the world was quite interesting and those are both big reasons why this is getting 3*. It took awhile for the rebirth to be explained but when Lee got around to it (very naturally in the story, not just an info dump) it was an understandable situation. It is something that came through as a very human reaction to the situation.
I struggled with Kai a bit. I liked her but I never really connected with her. There was nothing obviously wrong or annoying about the character. She behaved reasonably and she never suddenly flipped a switch to become something different in order to move the story. But, for some undefined reason, she was always a shadow in my mind; never a clearly defined picture. This was the toughest part of this book for me. Typically if the MC doesn't connect for me I won't be able to get through the book and end up DNF'ing.
However, for this, the full cast around Kai kept me involved. I loved Avan. He was troubled, mysterious, flawed, and totally amazing. Reev was superb in my opinion. Even as he had a relatively small part in this book he was the catalyst for everything. He was the strong, stabilizing presence that Kai desperately needed. I really enjoyed these characters. I could almost give this 4* just off the strength of these two characters.
Irra was a fun character for me as well. But I think Mason stole the show in Etu Gahl. G-10/Mason was fabulous. He was strong and supportive throughout the book while also pushing Kai out of her comfort zone. He, alone, could have pushed this into a 4* had he been a larger presence in the plot.
What saved this book from a 2* though was the ending. Wow for the ending. Particularly as it pertains to Avan. I really didn't see that coming at all. Usually I can predict at least a portion of the so-called twists and am not typically surprised by the endings. This blindsided me though and I absolutely loved it.
I am going to be continuing the series, though not for Kai. I will be continuing for Reev, Mason, and Avan. They were much stronger characters for me, much more sympathetic. I am hoping, though, that I will connect more with Kai in the next book of the series.