My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: September 24th, 2019
Publisher: HMH BFYR
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure, Dragons, Magic, Friendship
It should not be legal for a book that promises to be so exciting to end up being so… dull. I choose my Middle Grade reads wisely, because so few actually appeal to an older audience, even though I believe they should be for everyone, not just for children. Yet clearly I made a mistake this time by letting myself be wooed by the beautiful cover and the promise of an intriguing and entertaining plot.
It has potential. It’s not devoid of qualities. Actually, now that I think about it, the author’s descriptions are pretty mature so if she modifies her dialog she could write a Young Adult novel. Needless to say, the conversations between characters are juvenile and sometimes really pointless. One of my pet peeves is clueless characters and Anya and her friend are often very clueless, so much that there’s a lot of ‘‘I don’t know’’ and ‘‘Oh…’’ in the dialog. I can’t stand it! I need answers!
I’m not going to lie, I skimmed a lot of this story because, as mentioned, it is BORING. The author uses a lot of Russian words in the story, which are not always clearly defined and there’s no glossary at the end, so I wasn’t fan of that either. This feels like a first or second draft to be honest, and Stephen King says in his memoir that the final draft should have a significantly lower word count than the previous ones, yet the editing here feels limited to the storyline in general but not individual scenes and interactions. Not a winner.
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