Warmaidens, the conclusion to Gravemaidens, is a story that discusses sacrifice. In our pursuit for justice, for a better future, who will be the ones to pay the price? Keep reading to see what I thought about this action packed sequel!
In the refuge city-state of Manzazu, Kammani has built a thriving healing practice and a life she’s proud of with her siblings, the maidens, and her love, Dagan.
But when an assassin murders a healer he believes is Kammani and attempts to kill Arwia, the displaced queen of Alu, they realize they’re not safe in their safe little haven anymore. Uruku, the usurper to Alu’s throne, has found out they escaped the tomb and must kill them to protect his newly acquired power.
Burning for retribution, the ruler of Manzazu wants to unleash her fiercest weapons on Alu–her warmaidens. But when Kammani’s best friend, Iltani, is captured, Kammani must use her intuition and her heart to restore Arwia to the throne before the life she’s built–and a future with Dagan–burn up in the flames of war.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
One of my favorite elements of Warmaidens was the way Coon discusses the tradition of marriage, and specifically how the system disadvantages women. Without rights or, in some cases, choice, Kammani frequently discusses the ways marriage, even with love, can be restricting. While the world is on the brink of war, and her loved ones are in constant peril, Kammani still turns over her own feelings towards Dagan, and the concept of marriage.
It’s a theme that is reflected in a variety of characters about to be given away, without their consent, or trapped in marriages. Another theme that Warmaidens explores is the idea of the greater good. When costs and lives are discussed in abstract terms, we can lose track of what it means. Whose father and mother are the ones who will pay the price. Kammani and Arwia are committed to trying to minimize the lives lost, especially those of the innocent.
Is our goal worth sacrificing innocent lives? When it comes to our loved ones, we are always willing to bend the rules. Trying to balance the lives lost, and the greater good, is one that Kammani and Arwia are consistently trying to navigate. In a merciless world, how do we act with integrity and mercy?
While I enjoyed the themes in Warmaidens, there were times when the plot felt a little repetitive. To a degree, I think that’s to be expected given the circumstances, but it just lost a bit of my attention along the way. In terms of side characters, while I loved Iltani, like a lot, I felt that some characters, like Arwia could have used more depth. Additionally, I missed more of the sisterly interactions between Kammani and Nanaea.
These were just small details I didn’t enjoy, or was missing, but looking at the book, as a whole, I enjoyed the expanded world and action! And thematically I enjoyed watching Coon tackle sexism and sacrifice, especially while trying to build a better future. Warmaidens is a story about being united together, fighting for peace, and finding our own way.