Strike the Zither by Joan He
The Xin dynasty is divided. Zephyr, a great strategist, has decided to help Xin Ren, a warlordess who is loyal to the empress. But can Zephyr help Ren without Ren losing her honor?
The book starts off quickly and introduces a cast of bold, interesting characters who grab you right from the start. I was uncertain I liked them at first because they are all arrogant and self-important. But there is something compelling about this rag tag group of underdogs and I couldn't help rooting for them even as I tries to figure out who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. Or even if there were good guys and bad guys. It was interesting to see the battles more from the strategy side as opposed to the fighting side. I liked the different approach. I was unsure about the big fantasy twist in the middle. At first, I thought it was pointless. But as I continued to read, I got a new perspective on characters that I thought I knew, and it started to make sense. There is a lot going on here, a lot of pieces, plots and characters. It is an epic story. A story too big for one book so I was left hanging at the end, but I was engaged enough to want to come back for the next book.
I got a free copy of this book from Bookish First.