This story is original and perfect for fans of Maria V. Snyder. The world building was strong and I really enjoyed the protagonist, she was strong and independent and showed real progression throughout the story. However, I couldn’t really get into the world, and I thought the romance element was weaker than the revenge plot, and wasn’t necessary to the story as a whole. I wouldn’t describe any of the characters as particularly personable, so it was hard to feel sympathy for the cause.
Zara has an incredibly strong magical power, which we only understand the true extent of by the end of the novel. I felt that the explanations of the history of the mages in this story were sometimes difficult to understand and I’m not entirely sure I really understand the war between the Makers and the Mages, even though the concept was intriguing. Plus, for a story about magic, there wasn’t an awful lot of magic! The concept of going into Elsewhere was also confusing – I mean they have control of their bodies so they can walk and be invisible, but one guy almost gets shot because he’s basically in a comatose state after going into Elsewhere, so, it’s definitely something I want to learn more about in the next book.
Tribute is a slow build, for sure. There’s quite a bit of backstory that you need to understand before you can fully enjoy the rest of the plot. Zara’s main motive is to avenge her best friend Swift by destroying her father and the tyrannical hold he has over her and the kingdom…magedom? I have to admit that I struggled getting used to the world, and it took quite a while before the story really found it’s feet.
As soon as Zara was with the thieves things started to pick up a bit. As previously mentioned, the characters were harsh with the judgements and they weren’t awfully sympathetic to Zara; ss a result there’s a lot of conspiracy. I’d say the only character I particularly liked was the protagonist herself!
Unfortunately, the romance felt incredibly forced, and I couldn’t really understand the attraction. I think the pair only had around two fill length conversations, and I think Zara’s interest in Aiden comes mostly from the fact he’s a Maker. The novelty may wear off in Outcaste. Tribute had a pretty serious case of insta love. Be warned!
Overall, I gave Tribute 2.5 stars , it’s not the most compelling fantasy story I’ve read, but it has an interesting cast of characters and a mysterious setting that’s sure to make you want to read on!