My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: August 2019
Publisher: Puffin Canada
Recommended Age: 9+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure, Action, Animals
I love that Kelley Armstrong, a Canadian author known for her Young Adult and Adult series, is writing middle grade stories. I like to see authors challenge themselves by stepping out of their comfort zones.
Alas, Kelley Armstrong needs to study the Middle Grade genre better. Not because she failed at it miserably – not true at all – but because I know she can be as successful writing middle grade as she is writing YA and Adult stories. Her writing style is very professional.
Sadly, the descriptions are a little dull. The story itself is gripping—a princess turned monster hunter hunting a gryphon? Hell yes. Who wouldn’t be curious about that premise? And indeed the scenes involving the monster hunter (Rowan) and the different creatures she meets are interesting and kick-ass. But I did not care to hear Rowan describe stuff.
That’s because her personality is two-dimensional. She is all of the following things combined: strong, impatient, resourceful and reckless. Yet, somehow, it’s not enough to make her three-dimensional. I would have liked more depth. It felt as though she was in the same state of mind throughout the story, even if some terrible events occur. I did not feel her sadness and pain there. And so I did not care about them much myself.
It’s a decent start to a series for young readers who adore fantasy adventures involving imaginary creatures and badass heroines. I simply was not amazed.
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