My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: March 3rd, 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Fantasy, War Setting, Magic, Family, Royalty
This is a ‘‘did not finish’’ from me.
The world building is so confusing. I can keep on reading and reading but I don’t understand more. Actually, I understand less. Because if from the beginning you’re not eased into the magic system and the different aspects that constitute the fantasy world, chances are you’re going to be so confused that you’re going to compensate by focusing on the characters more than the world around them.
But if, as is the case here, the characters—main and secondary—are one-dimensional, then focusing on them is boring and pointless because it doesn’t make you feel more invested in the story. It’s a little frustrating, especially when you’re kind of intrigued by the world. I genuinely wanted to understand it and love it but the combination of dystopian and urban fantasy elements did not work for me. Also, the world has magic but not anymore but some people still use it except Tala doesn’t because she’s different? I am lost.
I also did not enjoy the banter between the one-dimensional characters. There are so many scenes in which all that happens is that a bunch of people are discussing random stuff with each other. It felt so forced, like the author tried to appeal to lots of various fandoms out there and wanted this to be a funny book but also a serious one all at once. That’s a hard thing to pull off.
One thing I did like, though, was the writing and the chapters’ beginnings as well as the chapters’ titles. So, basically, I liked the author’s writing style but I did not like her ideas and characters. Sad but I should have seen it coming, since I read her THE GIRL FROM THE WELL novel five years ago and gave it two stars, too. Oh well.
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