The Never Tilting World
Author: Rin Chupeco
Publication Date: 15 October 2019
Genre: YA Fantasy
Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.
Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.
While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.
But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.
When I first heard this book described as Frozen meets Mad Max, I couldn’t help my intrigue because let’s be honest, what does that really mean and what does it look like. After reading this story, I totally get it.
The kingdom of Aeon was always ruled by twin goddesses, but after one sister’s betrayal, the Breaking takes place leaving two dying cities in its wake. Aranth suffers from never ending night and everything is essentially frozen. Conversely, The Golden City suffers from never ending day. It’s hot desert and full of chaos. In the respective cities, the goddesses each raise a girl, and the girls are kept in the dark about being a twin, and that they are both alive. Since the Breaking, the cities are suffering from ever more frequent attacks from monsters and deadly climate changes.
During the climate changes both Odessa and Haidee are expected to use their elemental magic (referred to as gates) in order to reverse the chaos. Now the climate changes (rising waters, vicious windstorms) are happening with more frequency, and to add a layer of complexity, both girls independently begin seeing mirages during these events that are able to communicate with them. The mirage tells each of that they need to go to the Abyss. Both of them are heavily guarded by their strict mothers and castle of servants, but both Odessa and Haidee are determined to go to the Abyss and find answers in order to finally get answers to the secrets surrounding the Breaking as well as putting their kingdom back together.
This story is told four different POVs: Odessa, Haidee, Lan, and Arjun. Odessa is chronically ill, mainly controls water, is lesbian, and is in love with her bodyguard/protector Lan. Lan is a healer and bodyguard, suffers from PTSD after losing half her team in a failed mission, and has feeling for Odessa. Haidee is nerdy and would rather focus on mechanics and engineering, but she has to find a suitable suitor as per her mother. Arjun is a disabled, rogue rebel who definitely likes Haidee, but don’t tell her that. Odessa and Lan are traveling together to the Abyss while so are Haidee and Arjun. While it seems like this may get confusing, I was quickly able to acclimate to which chapter belonged to which character since each of the character had their own distinct voice and personality.
When it comes to the characters and their relationships, I fell in love with both Odessa and Lan. I found their relationship honest and pure. Both struggle with the responsibility of duty versus their feelings for one another. Odessa knows that she would need to marry a male in order to produce a future heir, but her heart yearns for Lan. When it comes to Haidee and Arjun, I felt that their relationship was more clunky. It didn’t feel as genuine, and more often than not, I found myself annoyed with Arjun’s mannerisms. He’s definitely rough around the edges in comparison to the POVs from Odessa and Lan.
I thought the world building in this story was really well done. I loved the elemental magic. The first half of the book gripped me, and I was completely invested in the story. However, there was about 100 pages in the middle where I felt that the pacing of the story slowed a bit too much for my liking, and I felt that the story became heavily focused on dialogue rather than the journey to the Abyss. The last 100 pages of the story were an absolute page turner. I flew through the pages because I needed to know what was going to happen next.
Thank you to Wunderkind PR and HarperTeen for providing a finished copy for review. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.