4 out of 4 stars
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Metanoia by Jiří Stacho is a historical fiction book set in Eastern Europe during the 16th century. I will try to summarize the plot with all the care in the world to avoid spoilers. Bohdan is a thief who is struggling to survive in a hostile environment. His encounter with nobles turns his life upside down. The reader will witness several unusual events, such as morganatic marriages in disguise, a dispute for the throne, intrigues between nobles, the despair of an older man on the verge of seeing his dynasty die out, and so forth.
This book reminded me in some ways of the movie The Man in the Iron Mask. In both, the protagonist was raised as a "commoner" but is thrown into an environment of nobility intrigue. Even though it's just the first book (it's unclear how many books there will be, it's just written in the title "Metanoia Book 1"), the author successfully presented the plot and left the reader curious about what will happen next. Even if I can't review the sequel, I'm excited to see what happens in the following books.
It is challenging to present a single positive aspect in a book full of many qualities. I particularly liked the character Katrina. Even though she was a noblewoman who grew up in an elitist and patriarchal environment, she proved to be a strong woman far ahead of her time. In many cases, she is even against her father (always doing what is right). She will make an exciting duo with the protagonist, having values that, in many cases, were not common for a noblewoman of the time.
I couldn't find anything negative in nearly 200 pages of an epic, cohesive book. There is no grammatical error; therefore, it can be considered an exceptionally edited book. The only aspect I didn't like is that the book seemed to end too quickly, but as it's just the first book and will have a sequel, you can't consider this a defect.
On the whole, Metanoia by Jiří Stacho has everything an excellent historical fiction book should have: a realistic historical setting, a decent plot, believable characters, and vivid descriptions of the era. I couldn't find anything negative to mention. Thus, the only possible score is four out of four stars. I recommend this book to lovers of medieval historical fiction. There is no sexual content, and profane words are absent. I recommend this book to teenagers and older people.
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