It’s the year 2054 and India has a ratio of five boys for every 1 girl. Suddenly girls are highly valued. The city of Koyanagar, formed by women tired of seeing their daughters married off to anyone with a lot of money, has implemented a series of tests to determined the worthiest boy in the group and he shall be chosen to be married to the girl. Sudasa has no intentions of being someone’s wife and Kiran, chosen to compete for her hand, has no desire to be a husband. They could help each other, if they could only figure out that they want the same thing.
The concept of this book was really interesting. My favourite thing was the two different styles of narration between the POVs. Sudasa’s POV was told in beautiful verse, flowing and dramatic. Kiran’s POV was in prose, more detailed, heavier. It was a good contrast and the switch between the two styles was done well.
I liked both main characters. They were very different, came from different background, but ultimately wanted the same thing. Their freedom. Sudasa never wanted to be a wife, to be pressured to have children, baby girls, marriage to her meant being put in a cage. Her grandmother was one of the founders of their city so there was a lot of pressure on Sudasa as she started her tests to determine her husband and I loved every time she threw a curve ball into it. Kiran was a farm boy and knew he was destined to be sent to protect the wall if not chosen, a fate most boys don’t come back from. But he had an escape plan and I was hoping it would work for him.
Since most of the book was set during the testing phase, it was interesting to see how the interactions between the two main characters played out. Most of the time, there were many people watching them so they could never talk openly. Their interactions were very limited, which led to confusion as to what they each thought the other wanted, what their intentions were. It was confusing to them, but as the reader, I found it easy to follow.
I do wish there had been more world-building, especially where the tests were concerned. Considering the limitations of the two POVs, teenagers not involved in politics, I understood why not a whole lot of the details were revealed but it would have been good to know more.
It was a fast read, under 250 pages, especially with one style being verse, but there was also a lot of details woven into the little amount of pages. There was no romance, which was a big change from what I was used to, and I found myself just enjoying the read.