While it's not perfect, the fascinating premise and vulnerable-but-fierce protagonist makes this fantasy thriller a compelling enough series starter. Odessa isn't always likable and she makes plenty of questionable decisions, but that's part of her appeal. She's grieving, and she dulls the pain with a drug that allows her to "see" her dead beloved. Not many fantasy books deal with the issue of addiction, much less an addicted protagonist, but Odessa's grief journey is believable and helps readers empathize with her as she attempts to climb out of the depths of her sorrow and do what needs to be done to save Karthia.
What's slightly less believable is Odessa's new romance with the sister of her first love. While that character is beautiful, frank, and courageous, she too is grieving two losses, and the new relationship feels a bit forced and abrupt. Still, it's refreshing for Karthia to be so open-minded and tolerant of LGBTQ citizens (there are heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and gay couples throughout the story). The action takes a few unexpected turns but ends up predictably open-ended (albeit not an outright cliffhanger) to ensure interest in the next installment. Supporting characters, particularly Odessa's fellow necromancers Jax and Simeon; Simeon's boyfriend, Daniel, a healer; and Valoria, an inventor/princess, are all so skillfully described that readers will hope there'll be even more of them in the next installment.