I really really wanted to enjoy this book. The concept of the land and magic is fascinating, and I loved it. An apprentice that has a hidden past, a chip on her shoulder, and more power than she knows what to do with right now - alright, let me have it. I want more.
But then I met Kayden. Who is a character that I DID NOT LIKE even after getting part of her backstory and learning a bit about why she was so cruel (yes cruel, not mean, but cruel) to everyone (yes everyone) around her. I didn't want to see her succeed. I wanted to see her get put in her place and in many respects she became the bad guy. Although at 50% through when I gave up, we hadn't met anyone else to fill the bad guy role, so maybe she will be.
Also, everything was about sex somehow. Kayden blackmails two instructors, gets accused of being the lover for another, assumes one is trying to get in bed with her just because he knocks on the door, and everyone is either flirting with her or jealous of her unusual beauty. Knock it off already! I get it - she's exotic and really pretty, but there can be other conflict that doesn't revolve around sex. That was what ultimately made me put the book down. I just couldn't anymore.
There were a lot of great things about this novel, but there were a lot of not very good things as well. I'd love to see a version with a more sympathetic Kayden. Still a brat with a chip on her shoulder, but some redeeming quality that lets me like her from the beginning. And find a way for her to blackmail, get her way, have conflict without it being about sex all the time.
**I voluntarily read a complimentary copy of this book**
Title: The Exercise of Vital Powers (Legends of the Order #1)
Author: Ian Gregoire
Some Lessons Must Be Learned The Hard Way.
Since its inception, The Order has been dedicated to the prevention of the misuse and abuse of magic. For seven decades this mandate has guaranteed peace and stability throughout The Nine Kingdoms. But a potential threat to the peace has emerged, and its source is much closer to home than the leadership of The Order may realise.
Arrogant, manipulative, confrontational and angry. Undesirable qualities in a person at the best of times, but more so in a young woman born with the power to bring kingdoms to their knees. Kayden Jayta, precocious apprentice of The Order, is all these things and more, yet wholly unwilling to acknowledge and rectify her many troubling traits.
Unbeknown to anyone, Kayden’s resolute determination to join the ranks of The Order is born of a secret that puts her priorities at odds with the precepts of the organisation, setting her inexorably on a collision course with the most powerful institution in The Nine Kingdoms.
If Kayden is to be dissuaded from walking the path she has chosen, averting tragic consequences in the process, two unanswered questions must be answered: What is the dark secret guiding Kayden’s actions? And, why has a legendary figure within The Order, with a secret of her own, taken undue interest in Kayden’s future?