My Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Age Category: New Adult
Four centuries of blood. All for a lie.
In this captivating sci-fi debut, a nonverbal autistic woman refuses to stand by as her sexist, ableist, dogmatic society clings to a centuries-long conflict.
Citadel, the only city on the planet Edalide, has a holy mission: exterminate the demons from the Flooded Forest. The unholy, vicious animals were a mistake made by their god that must be corrected.
Or at least, that’s what everyone’s been told.
When Olivia, a nonverbal autistic nineteen-year-old, has a chance run-in with a “demon,” she realizes that these beings are not vicious, animals, or unholy, but sentient people. Forever scarred by her mother’s legally sanctioned murder, and determined to prevent either side from losing more loved ones, Olivia embarks on a hazardous journey into the Flooded Forest where she faces flesh-eating predators, telekinetic zealot-warriors, and the demons of her own past.
Olivia’s quest for answers forces her to decide to either seek justice for both sides or continue the cycle of war, revenge, and death.
I received a free copy from the publisher through Netgalley.
Citadel caught my eye when I scrolled past it on Netgalley. The blurb sounded good and I am glad I decided to request a copy. This book is amazing! It grabbed me from the first chapter and kept my attention throughout. This is one of those books I had a hard time putting down as I just wanted to read more. And I was sad when I finished the book as I wanted to read more.
This book was so good! The plot was exciting and I liked seeing everything play out. Seeing what the characters did next and what happened was great. And I liked all the twists and turns. There are some great reveals and I was just so excited to see what would happen next. It’s hard to say much about the plot as I don’t want to give any spoilers, seeing everything play out and wonder what would happen next was one of the best things about the book.
Citadel mainly follows the point of view of Olivia, a nonverbal autistic character. I loved reading about her. I don’t think I’ve read about a nonverbal character before and wasn’t sure how that worked, but I was impressed how the author handled it and how Olivia still found ways to communicate with others. She’s considered a freak by many people in Citadel. I admired how she didn’t feel that way about herself and instead embraced her differences. Her neurodivergence causes some challenges as well as strengths, I liked her unique view on the world and open-mindedness, the way she acted and handled things that came her way.
Besides Olivia there are chapters from the point of view of her best friend Riley, who is a great character too. He has a controlling father who is the governor and he wants a different path for himself than what his father set out for him. There are also chapters from the point of view of Ormus, Olivia’s father, who has some great character development throughout the series. Everyone felt so realistic. There are a few chapters from other point of views and I thought the multiple point of view really worked here and the other point of views added to the story and character depth.
I didn’t realize this was the first book in a series until I got to the ending and was surprised as that did not read like an ending of a standalone book, so that was a bit confusing. I had expected this to be a standalone as I didn’t see word anywhere of this being the first book in the series. The further I got in the book the more I was wondering how the author could possible wrap it up in time. The ending left me feeling sad as I didn’t realize this was the first book in the series and book 2 isn’t out yet. At the same time I am glad there will be more books as I can’t wait to read more about this world and characters.
The world building is one of my favorite things about this book. I love books that can paint a picture of a different world so well. There are huge blue trees in this world, two moons and the tide influences how much water covers the ground. The city, Citadel is walled and build on a hill to defend against the water of the tides and the demons that roam the forest. Then there is the religion and the way this influences how people act, there’s a lot of depth there too. The world really comes to life and I could imagine so vividly how everything looked like. And throughout the book the world building gets expanded on and I enjoyed learning more of the world.
To summarize: I loved this book! The story is exciting with plenty of twists and turns as well as some great reveals. The characters feel very real and all have their own personality and motivations. I liked reading about Olivia, who is nonverbal and autistic, although this world doesn’t have those words for her. I liked how her being autistic was an integral part of who she was. I admired her belief in herself and how she didn’t feel less because of her differences. She has a lot of courage and is open-minded and I liked how she handled things in this book. I also liked the chapters from Riley’s point of view, who is a great character, and Ormus, who has some great character development throughout the book. The world building is fantastic, this alien world really comes to life and I could vividly image what everything looked like. The world building was done super well and I liked how it was different from our own world, yet also made sense why things were they way they were. As the book progresses I liked learning more about the world. I was sad when I finished this book as it was so good and I want more. I thought this would be a standalone, but with the way things ended I am pretty sure this will be a series. And I can’t wait for the next book, I want to read more about these characters and this world!