by Gail Carson Levine
256 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Kristi

Good read with confusing spiritual content.


To save another, Kezi must be sacrificed in one month to the god Admat. But the young immortal god Olus is determined to save her. As the two fall in love, they face the difficult path toward gaining immortality for Kezi in order to save her life.


Mostly the characters adhere to general guidelines of right and wrong. Olus steals from someone once out of vengeance.

Spiritual Content

This story owes more than a little to the myth of Cupid and Psyche, in which a mortal girl falls in love with an immortal god and must undergo a trial in order to become a goddess herself. Consequently, the world is populated by any number of gods in the Greek mold. The mortals of Hyte, Kezi's hometown, worship a different sort of god, Admat, who is unseen and everywhere at once. In short, he bears a nearer resemblance to the God of the Bible than the other gods in the story. Kezi and her family believe wholeheartedly in him. The trouble begins when, like Jephthah in the Bible (Judges 11:29-40), Kezi's father makes a vow that unintentionally lands his only daughter as a sacrificial offering. After meeting Olus, Kezi struggles with the concept that there are other gods besides Admat, and with the confusion over whether Admat exists at all. The world is also populated by masmas, sorcerers, which Kezi initially mistakes Olus for. The healer called to aid her mother performs various rituals, and the priests of Admat seem a little on the bloodthirsty side, though not entirely without compassion for the family.


One human sacrifice, which takes place offstage. One scuffle in the street. Not much else.

Drug and Alcohol Content

I don't recall any. One might consider therka, the drink of the gods, a drug of sorts.

Sexual Content

Kisses, and a very veiled suggestion that one of the characters might want to go further.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

We witness a birth in the first page of the book from the first person of the baby, which isn't too graphic but is a little surprising. A couple of young boys urinate in front of each other.


In a way, this story feels like the other half of C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces. It's the story from a Psyche-like character's point of view. The nature of godhood is explored, there is a visit to the underworld, and the god Olus can mask himself with cloud, reminding me again of Cupid. It is unclear however, after one read, what exactly Levine intended the spiritual significance of the story to be. Admat comes across largely as nonexistent or at least indifferent, though Kezi never loses complete faith and continues to search for him or evidence of him. I would not recommend this book for younger readers because, while it's a good tale, well told, it's not especially useful to one's spiritual life in Christ, and might even result in confusion.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 3.5
Written for Age: 13+

Review Rating:

Did we miss something? Let us know!

Kristi This review is brought to you by Kristi.
Read more reviews by Kristi