Sowing (The Purification Era #1) by Angie Grigaliunas (2016)
YA Fiction | Fantasy | Dystopia
“They can take your house, your daughter, whatever they want.
For Ariliah, life under the militarized Hulcondans is one of order and safety. Despite the soldiers’ ruthless policies, she trusts their judgment. Beyond the city wall, enemies lurk – a vicious race bent on devouring humanity. And if anything ever happened to the protectors, nothing would keep them out.
For her older sister, Rabreah, every glance from a Hulcondan is a threat. When even a whisper against them is treason and treason is death, Rabreah can’t risk one seeing through her as she sees through them. Joining an underground resistance to end their corruption seems like her only hope – until she meets the group’s enigmatic leader and realizes she doesn’t know the people she’s aligned herself with at all.
But when rebellious posters appear throughout the city and people start dying, their world begins to crumble.
And as the line between friend and enemy blurs, both girls must face the truth: everything is about to change.”
pooled ink Review
Color me surprised and pleased as punch (what does that even mean? lol) because I just found a new series to get excited about!
I had not heard of The Purification Era series until the author reached out to me and I’m glad she did because this was definitely right up my alley! It’s an intriguing blend of fantasy and dystopia. While the world-building and monsters beyond the wall build this story upon a fantasy foundation, the plot itself is very dystopian. The humans live within walled cities protected and ruled by the mighty Hulcondan, but what if the real monsters aren’t lurking beyond the border? What if they’re hiding in plain sight within their own home?
Something that truly brought this story up a level was choosing to write it with dual POVs: the feisty Rabreah, and her younger timid sister Ariliah. By doing this we get to see two perspectives on the living situation of life within the wall and under Hulcondan rule. Rabreah loathes them all, willing to risk execution by joining the rebels to topple their power, while Ariliah sees them as a force honor bound to protect the humans within. The best part is that neither is wholly right or wrong and by following their lives as mysterious rebels begin making noise in town we get to see just how complex the world they thought they knew really is.
The world-building was cool and the plot was definitely intriguing, but another standout factor was the character work. Each character is multidimensional with pasts, presents, and questionable futures. There are themes of abuse, torture, murder, but strongest of all is sisterhood. Rabreah would do anything to protect Ariliah from anyone. She’s had practice with their own mother and now she looks out for any potential enemy within sight. No one is straightforward, you can never trust anyone’s truth to be objective or freely shared. Whether hero or villain each character will have moments that make you second guess your assumptions and gut-reactions.
Rabreah brings the fire and dark adventure to the page as we follow her below ground to the rebels and the testing she must undergo to become one of them. Their leader, Sorek, is too mysterious for me to fully believe quite yet but he’s definitely one of my favorite characters. Through Rabreah’s eyes we also get to see the darker side of the Hulcondan and how their actions have shaped her reactions leading to the inferno that burns within her.
Ariliah may be timid and clumsy, almost painfully so at times, but she didn’t annoy me. Like with Rabreah there is a whole past that stands as testament to who these girls have become. Ariliah’s POV gives us glimpses into the kindness possible with the Hulcondan showing that, like humans, they too stand on a wide spectrum between good and evil. I look forward to seeing how Ariliah’s character develops over the course of the series.
I don’t want to go into too much with the other characters because they’re so well woven into the plot and mystery. I will say that I am left with many a theory rattling around in my mind and cannot wait to read the sequel to see what happens next.
Between the dual plot lines/viewpoints and each character having a complex story roiling within them, this book became far more intriguing than if it had simply followed just one sister. It would have still been good but not nearly as fascinating, confounding (in a good way), and adventurous. The ending is a bit of a cliff-hanger and I am left with so many questions along with an excitement to learn more! Don’t worry, my review for the sequel will be out shortly!
Sowing kicks off a series filled with one-way mirrors, mystery, and the bonds of sisterhood. Packed with action, forbidden desires, and players keeping their cards close to their chests, this series is a intriguing read for both fans of fantasy and dystopian fiction.
Purchase Here: Sowing
Similar Recommended Reads: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, Gilded Cage by Vic James, Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta, Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith, The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh, Chained by Susanne Valenti
Meet Angie Grigaliunas!
I’m a fantasy writer and blogger. I’m a country girl at heart – in the sense that I want to be in nature and away from civilization. I love Jesus, the woods, and the stars, and I have ALWAYS wanted to be a superhero with a secret identity. I live in Ohio with my dear husband and my crazy cats. =)