Alright here's the deal, this is one of those stories you read and keep on reading, and have no words to leave in a review, because all I want to do right now is reminisce the story with someone who already read it. And that's how spoilers happen.
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The opening with Grey's predicament was gripping as was the very vivid depiction of his ordeal and response to the gnome's actions and vices. The pacing was smooth, walking us through the story carefully, slowly and weaving in history, backstories, setting and world building in a way that leaves you elated... and did I mention the subtle humour? I never would have guessed that Reggie was a roaster, or that Alieda in a fit would enter him into the competition.
I like the author's take on a woman as a blacksmith and defying society's image of the female paragon. I mean as much as I adore the portrayal of Alieda, I was left curious about Sera, I surely would kill for a POV from hers or Grey's., and Thomas too. They were all great characters. I love Thomas's audacity to say things others wouldn't necessarily say, it was so fun to read.
Overall, the author put a lot of work into this, and it shows in the delivery. The politics of the town, Alieda's background and her relationship with her father's and her friends. It all comes together to create a picturesque town I wanted to be a part of.