Twisting Every Way opens with a funeral and our main character Emya, a young woman with magic, in grieving. Things only get worse from here as the villagers mistreat her for her powers, and worse still when two barbaric Kings raid and conquer them. Everyone is terrified of these two tyrants, Emya not least of which, but once they discover her abilities, they take her in as their student. Magic is dangerous in this world, and Emya learns first hand what it can do when twisted minds get ahold of it.
I had fun with this book, and I often found myself coming back multiple times a day to continue reading even if it was only a couple pages at a time. I even stayed up past my bedtime a couple nights getting to the end of a chapter, which isn’t very common for me. Although Felix hasn’t done much yet since most of his time in this story has been spent sleeping or healing, I already like him. He’s got charm, and plenty of backstory yet to be told. Artyem is also set up to be an intriguing, gruff man that’s more focused on practicality than whimsy.
The biggest hitch for me in this book was the time skipping. There were several instances where the story leapt forwards over important scenes that could’ve fleshed out Emya for the reader. Her village being conquered, sneaking into her old home to get her mother’s necklace, and her training with the Kings could all have been bonding moments between the reader and the character. Each skip disrupted the flow of the narrative, and it’s often where I found myself pausing my reading session and setting the book down before coming back later.
I like Emya’s character and I’ll be picking up Winding Ever Higher to follow her and Felix along their journey, but I feel like I could’ve known her a little better before the end of book one. I know this is meant to be a short book though – a novella – so maybe by adding all that detail it would’ve turned into a much longer read, but I’d have happily read the extra content. What can I say? I guess I just want more of these characters!
For those of you on Minds, you can follow the author at @amyisgreat20 for updates on this series and a constant stream of LOTR memes to boot.