The Lives That Live Between Us – Entered in the 2018 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

Kai Raine

These Lies That Live Between Us by Kai Raine is the first book in the What Words Have Torn Apart series. War has come to the continent as the army of Seleukos marches against its neighbors. This book follows Gwenaëlle on her journey to uncover the location of The Phoenix – a mythical weapon capable of helping her country win the war.


These Lies That Live Between Us is an epic tale of sisterhood, political drama, and magic. If there is one thing this book could benefit from it is perhaps more explanation of the nature of The Words. The reader has almost as much knowledge of The Words as the characters do, but the characters have the advantage of being exposed to stories about The Words from childhood. Including one of these short tales about The Words and Speakers – something the characters themselves would have read or heard – would elevate this part of the narrative. Including more information about The Words in the story itself would work just as well. Overall, These Lies That Live Between Us leaves the reader wanting to delve deeper into vast history of this world.


Kai Raine has created a fully-developed, complex world. Though the reader is not exposed to each country, it is clearly established that each has its own culture and societal norms. The characters are well-developed, and the stakes are real. Raine deftly balances the stories of Nicole, Gwen, and Estelle while commenting on the nature of power and sisterhood. She has done an excellent job crafting a unique world inhabited by relatable characters. These Lies That Live Between Us by Kai Raine is a must-read for fans of high fantasy and young adult fiction.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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