Review: The Never Tilting World

Title: The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World #1)
Author: Rin Chupeco
Genres: Fantasy, Action/Adventure, LGBTQIA
Pages: 496
Publisher: HarperTeen
Review Copy: Purchased
Availability: Available now

Summary: Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.

Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.

While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.

But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses—along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger—set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.

Review: [Note: This book contains graphic depictions of violence and character death.]

THE NEVER TITLING WORLD was a lot of fun. I needed something that would grab my attention, and Rin Chupeco built a fascinating world and populated it with interesting characters. I was actually surprised when I realized that the Breaking only happened seventeen years ago rather than being a calamity further in the past. But a sudden and near-world-ending climate change would certainly result in the catastrophic loss of not just life and but also history/records and the general feel of continuity between “before” and “after.” Despite this, both sides of Aeon feel well-lived in and drastically different, even if each of them is ruled by a goddess and her daughter.

The book throws you in the deep end, in a variety of wonderful ways. One of the first big events in THE NEVER TILTING WORLD is a demonstration of magical power that is a lot of fun to read, especially when it takes an unexpected turn and kicks off the larger plot in Aranth. Honestly, I really like how magical and dangerous and mysterious this world is—the obstacles feel truly perilous for both groups, and I spent most of the book seriously worried about whether or not characters would make it to the end.

All four main characters take turns narrating the story, and Chupeco does an excellent job of giving them distinct voices and insights, and I was actually rather pleased when they paired up the way they did. Odessa, the daughter from Aranth, actually met Lan and started a romance with her before the beginning of the book but did so under a fake name and appearance. So when Lan shows up as her bodyguard, their dynamic (both from the lies and the rank difference) change rapidly for them both. Watching them navigate their longing for each other, Odessa’s illness, and Lan’s PTSD while embarking on a dangerous quest was a delight.

On the other side of the world, Haidee, the daughter from The Golden City, and Arjun, a desert scavenger/rebel, had an equally hair-raising adventure on their journey to the Abyss. If you enjoy enemies-to-lovers tropes, you likely enjoy these two together. Watching the two of them fall for one another in between running and/or fighting for their lives was great.

While I had some nitpicks for THE NEVER TILTING WORLD, it was a rather entertaining book. I liked the setup of these two groups (unknowingly) rushing toward each other in an attempt to save the world, and I am very much looking forward to the next book.

Recommendation: Get it soon. THE NEVER TILTING WORLD is a fun action/adventure quest story set on a magical world ravaged by catastrophic climate change. The characters were fun, the action was gripping, and I’m excited to see what happens in the next book.

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