You can plunge into an ancient American world where a kingdom’s skewed knowledge of truth and virtue drives them to make sacrificial offerings in The Last Messenger Of Zitól by Chelsea Bagley Dyreng published by Cedar Fort Publishing. In this story, a kidnapped girl meant to be the next sacrifice to the Gods transforms a vicious society with her goodness, purity, and knowledge of the truth.
“When a person is kind and virtuous and displays honor and tolerance—such as you do—‘beauty’ ceases to become a label that can come and go with your appearance. ‘Beauty’ is who you are.”
Rishi is kidnapped from her island home and taken to Zitól, an immoral city that sacrifices people to bloodthirsty Gods. She is chosen to be the next messenger, a sacrifice made to keep Zitól prosperous. While she waits for her sacrifice, Rishi meets the anointed king of Zitól, Nadal, who asks her to teach him to read so he can gain power over the Speakers of Zitól. But as Nadal learns of Rishi’s moral, righteous island traditions, he soon realizes that the people of Zitól may have all been misled about the nature of their sacrifices.
“Doing something that feels good isn’t the same thing as doing something that feels right.”
I received a digital copy of The Last Messenger Of Zitól from Cedar Fort Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
I loved this book! From the concept to the characters to the theme to the climax all the way to the end. I loved Rishi’s pure nature and how her example and teachings transformed Nadal and helped him to change for the better. How they learned to sacrifice their desires and gain self-control was a very powerful message. This book made my heart glow near the end.
“Our patience, our ability to take command of our instincts, making our bodies do what our minds tell them to is what makes us superior. That is self-mastery. That is intelligence. And that is why man is the only living thing with the potential to become a god.”
The only problem I had with this story was with the structuring. I felt that it could have started in the middle, when Rishi enters Zitól, becomes the messenger, and learns that she will be sacrificed. I felt the first half of the book, though well done, was just waiting for the second half of the book to get started. Perhaps sections of the first half could have been flashbacks, or told in segments to Nadal. That being said, overall, the story captured by heart. It was entertaining and intense, taught powerful lessons, and left you wanting more.