I had a hard time deciding what to do with this book. The first 60% or so is told as an overview from the heroine's perspective, with breaks for scenes that illustrated something the author wanted us to know. I usually hate that kind of storytelling. And yet the first scene hooked me hard enough (kind of creeped me out) that I felt engaged regardless of the pace. I kept thinking I would put the book aside, but I really wanted to know what was going to happen!
Eventually the book did drop into a typical pace, and I was so engaged that I read the next one, and will read the third even though it's a grim tale without much in the way of levity. I had to take a break because of the intensity, but I really will go back. I need to know how it ends!
The Fourth Element Series has a strong historical fiction feel (think Ancient Persia, not England) but with magic woven throughout. If you don't like fantasy on the dark side, you may not enjoy this, but then again, I'm buying sequels even though I shy away from darker stories, so maybe you will.
Violence: Yes. This is a dark story and there's a lot more gore than I usually read. A lot of heartbreak and people you want to behead.
Sexual Content: Not exactly. It's mentioned and often it's violent and/or plain gross in nature (part of book 2 takes place in a brothel of young boys) but that really was common and acceptable in ancient times, and in the story it isn't glamorized. It makes you glad to live in the modern world where those kinds of things are at least illegal. Anyway, there's a bit of content like that (told you I needed to take a break from it) and although it's not graphic, it's disturbing. That's the idea, I think. There are other references as well, but again, I can't remember anything graphic. Still, it's an R rating in my opinion. Just like war movies often are just because of the story they're telling.
Foul language: Yes. I'd say it has a PG13 rating.
Overall Message/Plot: The book is about finding freedom for the oppressed and enslaved. It's about not believing everything you've been taught, but rather searching for truth. About understanding that your enemies might actually be your friends if you faced your own illusions.
Find it HERE.