Across the Room: This was such an exciting read, especially toward the end! I closed this book with so many emotions that I had chills. Though there were a few parts that slowed me down in the middle, I ended this story ready to pick up the next leg of Tao’s adventures right away! Check out the assessment below:
Temperature: Normothermic: The overall tone of this book was a great balance between whimsical and dark/gritty. I am unfamiliar with a lot of the mythology that was included in this story, but I absolutely loved all of it. Tao’s struggles were so visceral, it made me wonder if I was reading a biography or a fantasy!
Heart Rate: Normal rate and rhythm: The pacing was great with this story. The action sequences were never too fast or slow, and the slower portions would—occasionally—get a bit too slow, but the rate remained pretty regular throughout.
Blood Pressure: Normotensive: The overall plot was super easy to follow. Not to the point of predictable, but definitely easy to follow. With that, there were a couple of points that felt like they dragged on, but overall, I’m not concerned with this vital sign.
Respirations: Regular rhythm, slightly tachy: The characters in this were amazing. To some extent, however, I felt as though the villain was a bit *too* evil for the sake of being evil. I’m not 100% convinced in his motivations, and he feels just a tiny bit flat for me. Otherwise, the rest of these characters are very well-rounded
Oxygenation: Well-oxygenated: The setting here was amazing! I can’t really comment beyond that.
Work of Breathing: Transient Shortness of Breath: For the most part, I didn’t have to work very hard to stay immersed in the story. However, toward the middle, I found myself struggling to get through Tao’s academy days. It’s likely just from this reader’s perspective. I’ve never been a huge fan of the monotony of training montages in books.
Medical: I don’t have any complaints about Evan Winter’s writing style/author voice. He didn’t overly rely on adverbs, nor did he allow the constraints of "proper" grammar overtake his overall style.
Psychiatric: These characters’ relationships are what really drew me into the story! The nuances of their social castes, political hierarchy, genetic makeup, etc. made the world building part of this tale so vibrant!
Socio-economic: Marketed and reads as "Adult Fantasy"
Head to Toe Assessment
Head and Face: This cover is BEAUTIFUL. As someone who’s in the market for a cover artist…I drool every time I look at it. The blurb is what won me over, however. I was so interested in immersing myself into a different type of fantasy than I’m used to.
Neck: This tale starts off with blood, and it warms my heart. I don’t know *why* I’m into such violent beginnings, but…that may be a blog post for another time. I was hooked from the first sentence!
Chest: Oh, Tao. I can’t really say anything without spoilers, except that. I was invested from then on. My goodness.
Abdomen and Flanks: Here is where there’s a bit of waxing and waning for me. While I wanted to root for Tao, I also wanted to smack him upside the head. The sort-of monotony of watching Tao with his training and his refusal to learn the emotional lessons he needed (for a while, anyway), this is where I slowed down for a bit. However, it never slowed down to the point where I fully DNF’d it. It just had a touch of "Middle of the Book" syndrome.
Perineum: Again: Oh, Tao. At this moment, I was face-palming so hard, I thought he was going to get himself killed…and give myself another concussion. But it was an amazing fight, and an even *more* amazing turn of events!
Extremities: I broke. I nearly threw this book against the wall when I got to this point (don’t worry, Mr. Winter. That’s a good thing). I was only stopped from making *that* mistake by the thought of having to explain the subsequent hole in the bedroom wall to my husband (hardcovers are no joke!)
Backside: By the end, I was shaking. I need more. That’s all I’m going to say is I. Need. More.
Prognosis: Very good (4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 on Goodreads). Again, the only part that took away from an "Excellent" prognosis was the slowdown in the middle of the book. It wasn’t enough to make me shelve it, but I *was* enough to make me consider it. Overall, an excellent debut for Evan Winter! (Yes, I know I’m late to the party on some of these books I’m reviewing).
Thanks so much again, dear readers! It's been a heck of a roller coaster with this one!
Stay safe. Stay sane. Keep healthy. Keep smiling. Much love!