Rating: 4.25 stars
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Ilya doesn’t remember anything before he was found in the forest at the age of six. He also doesn’t know anything about the world before the wars—no one remembers. There are a few books in the village from before, but it’s all mostly lost at this point. Except, the villagers know about the wolves, and they know about the bears that supposedly no longer exist. Ilya also knows about Caleb, for he found Caleb one day in the forest. But Caleb is a mystery and, while few people can understand him, Ilya has always felt drawn to Caleb.
Winter has hit the village hard and with little food left, Ilya is tasked with hunting rabbits. Yet even though he is hungry and his family is hungry, Ilya cannot bring himself to kill a rabbit. The forest has always felt like home to Ilya, but when he and his sister are attacked by a bear, the animal that is not supposed to exist, everything he thought he knew starts to shift. Ilya has his own secrets—secrets that he doesn’t understand, secrets that he can feel heartbeats and sense all of the life in the forest, secrets that the villagers would kill him for. Caleb has his own secrets, and together, Ilya and Caleb share the greatest secret of all and they will have to fight everything to be together.
I alway look forward to a new Suki Fleet book. The author’s writing speaks to me and although the main characters in all of their books always live in different levels of peril, I find the author’s writing soothing.
The Witness of the Sun is filled with beautiful imagery and I was transported to Ilya’s small village. The author’s characters are once again cold and hungry, but this is also a different type of story. Ilya lives in a post-apocalyptic world where life is harsh. The setting is also part fairytale and part fantasy. Ilya’s life is with his mother and his sisters and even though they are not related by blood, they are his true family. Ilya has always felt himself to be dispensable, which is compounded by his not wanting to hunt, and when he is tasked for a journey, he learns it might be because his life is valued less by the village leader.
Ilya loves the forest and he feels connected to the forest. He hasn’t yet figured out just how connected he is to the forest and how connected he is to Caleb. Caleb and his family have their own story and by the end of the book there is a lot to take in. Yet, Ilya and Caleb’s story is an emotional journey that plays out at a measured and slow pace. Ilya is often so overcome by emotion and overwhelmed by what is going on around him that he is unable to process things. This slowed down the pace of the book for me as it took a long time to get to the heart of the story. The payoff at the end is worth it, but while reading, and even looking back, I would have liked if I hadn’t been kept in the dark for as long as it took to get even a few details as to the larger story. I also felt that too much was still left a mystery with the world and their families and there were threads of storylines that seemed to have ended, but felt incomplete.
Ilya and Caleb are the ultimate in fated mates. Their atmospheric story is unique and filled with paranormal twists along the way. There will be more coming to this series and the book ends with a set up for Caleb’s brother that is certainly intriguing, which leaves me once again anxiously waiting for more words from Suki Fleet.