Overall- This book was not a bad book but I felt like it was so hard to be so many things that it got confused and confusing for the reader.
The plot is basically that a peacful (predominantly Jewish) country is under threat by a menacing country that is pushing refugees into the peaceful countries land and imprisoning all of the Jews and taking their things and making them disappear. A young Jewish woman from a noble family decides to take it upon herself to raise an army when she thinks that people are not taking the threat seriously.
Like, are you trying to be speculative fiction? Are you trying to be your own inventive novel but you're borrowing so hard from history that it's reading like weird, steampunk historical fan fic? I was distracted through the whole thing.
Also, another thing that makes it hard is that there is a fair amount of references to practices in Judaism with no references. I knew some of them, just because of books I have read in the past, but it's pretty much thrown at you with no context. And there is a fair amount of dialogue in (sorry for my ignorance) Hebrew or Yiddish that you kind of just have to infer things. I'm all for not being spoon fed every thing but it got to be distracting.
My favorite thing: so many golems. And I love me some golems. This is the first book that really go into depth of like "Do they have a soul? Can they worship? Are they ashamed that they are naked?"
I gave this book two stars, and that was mostly for the golems and the one other supernatural thing that makes an appearance. Shrug. But (!) if you've read this and you love it tell me why!
(I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books)