Review: Beneath the Citadel aka I Know What You'll Do Next Summer

Book Cover
title: Beneath the Citadel
author: Destiny Soria
pages: 480
format: eARC
buy it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
rating: 5/5
genre: Fantasy
topics: Asexual character, Bisexual character, Classism, Found Family, Prophesy, Rebellion

Summary 

 In a city ruled by seers and prophesiers, where the government knows your every move before you make it, four friends attempt to break into the Citadel to find proof of corruption. They’re caught, of course. But in the course of escaping, they also discover the very proof they were after, in the form of a living prisoner with all the answers. Now they have to decide whether or not to help this prisoner escape, and figure out how to do so against an enemy that is always one step ahead of them.

Claustrophobic worldbuilding

The setting for this book is a great example of small-scale worldbuilding in a fantasy. The city of Eldra is walled-off, self-governing, separated from their country, and left behind by their wider culture. It’s a city in decline, in a world where their magic used to make them powerful but that magic has faded and everyone else has moved on to more efficient things. So Eldra consolidated its power and focused very narrowly on controlling its immediate population as thoroughly as possible. The whole book does a great job of giving off this claustrophobic feeling, using that as an element that drives the tension of the book’s plot.

The magic system is one that relies on four kinds of magic users related to seeing the future, seeing the future but better, reading people’s minds, and taking people’s memories. And I love the way that prophesies were used in this book. Its so easy for prophesies to be a kind of short-cut way for authors to explain things or get out of a plot hole, but Beneath the Citadel uses prophesy magic so deliberately to drive the plot and the tension.

The characters

Some of the best character introductions, really. A bit info-dumpy, but the introduction is a great way to see how that can work as long as you make it entertaining.

I liked most of the characters. There was a wide variety of personality types and struggles, and they each had different relationships with each other that were unique and complicated. Newt was probably my favorite, with his self-doubt and his history that he grapples with, his quiet nature, and of course the absolutely adorable romance that develops between him and Evander. Gah, they’re so cute. Cassa struggling with her history, the legacy of her parents, and her own need to leave a mark on the world was also pretty great.

Alys… Alys is asexual (doesn’t use the word, but describes it pretty clearly) and has anxiety and panic attacks. And while I love her and feel that she is a good character in her own right, I still feel the next to bring up this fact relative to the wider context of ace rep. I’m not sure I have anything to say besides bringing it up, though. There’s certainly plenty of people with anxiety who might want to see those two factors in the same character, as it is for their own life. There’s also people for whom their sexuality was blamed on anxiety or other disorders (whether they had it or not), and seeing those presented concurrently might feel…less than validating. I didn’t feel like Alys’s asexuality and anxiety were linked in the text, but I’m still putting that information out for anyone who might want it.

My thoughts overall

A wonderfully paced book with a magic system that contributes to its plot twists without being predictable, carried by thoroughly engaging characters.

Will I read this author again? Yup.
Will I continue this series? I don't think it's part of a series.

More Reviews for Beneath the Citadel


Mel to the Any - Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria
Dreamer J's Book Reviews - 'Beneath the Citadel' by Destiny Soria


Note: I received this copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions. 

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