Book Review: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

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Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Published by Sourcebooks Fire on September 6, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 336 – hardcover, paperback, & ebook

Format Read: eARC

Rating: 3 stars

Source: NetGalley

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Blurb:

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…


Review:

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This in no way impacted my views and opinions below.*

Alright, so I went into this book with no prior knowledge of anything except for what I gleaned from the synopsis. Imagine my (pleasant) surprise when I discover that not only is there f/f representation, but also a WHOLE POC CAST. Um, have I died and gone to heaven?? It also really helped that the story makes you want to keep flipping pages by sucking you into this highly original fantasy world. So, you might be wondering…. Despite the above, why did I choose to give this 3 stars?

My main issue with this book lies with the execution of the story. You know that feeling when you’re starting a new book and you know nothing about the world? You’re still getting used to it as the author slowly immerses you into it page by page, and eventually, your confusion fades until your familiar with the book. Well, in the case of Labyrinth Lost, I was still stuck in that confused phase for the majority of the book. You’ve got all these ideal elements like an amazing premise, a wonderful setting, and an even better background, but… they just weren’t executed properly. The story lacked a certain order to it; it was like a mishmash of plot ideas. This greatly dulled it’s ‘spark’, leaving me very disenchanted.

Furthermore, I had a teeny issue with the Rishi + Alex pairing. You see, Rishi and Alex were supposed to be this AMAZING couple. We should have been more invested in them, since they already had an established friendship, but sadly I didn’t feel anything. No chemistry at all. I’m all for LGBT+ representation, but there should have been more work put into Rishi and Alex’s relationship. However, a relationship that was actually focused on was Nova and Alex. We actually have a clear progression of their relationship from the moment they meet. I found myself rooting for Nova most of the time; he’s very intriguing. I just hope Rishi’s character is developed as well in the next book.

OH, and was it just me or did this read like an MG book at times? It kinda had this whimsical feel to it. Still, the world was great and so original & unique. Kudos!

In short, this book has tons of potential. With a highly original premise and inventive world, it’s bound to keep you reading ’till the very end. Seriously, the momentum’s great. Bonus points for the LGBT+ and POC rep! However, the story just lacked this sense of clarity because of the execution. There are a lot of relationships and characterizations that could’ve been done in a better way. Due to that, I felt like it was teeming with plot holes. This was good read, but here’s to hoping that the next book will be even better! I believe in you!

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Rating: 3 fish

3 fish

Book Review: Under the Lights by Abbi Glines

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Under the Lights by Abbi Glines

Published by Simon & Schuster on August 23, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 336 – hardcover, 320 – paperback & ebook

Format Read: paperback

Rating: 3 stars

Source: Simon & Schuster

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Blurb:

Willa can’t erase the bad decisions of her past that led her down the path she’s on now. But she can fight for forgiveness from her family. And she can protect herself by refusing to let anyone else get close to her.

High school quarterback and town golden boy Brady used to be the best of friends with Willa—she even had a crush on him when they were kids. But that’s all changed now: her life choices have made her a different person from the girl he used to know.

Gunner used to be friends with Willa and Brady, too. He too is larger than life and a high school football star—not to mention that his family basically owns the town of Lawton. He loves his life, and doesn’t care about anyone except himself. But Willa is the exception—and he understands the girl she’s become in a way no one else can.

As secrets come to light and hearts are broken, these former childhood friends must face the truth about growing up and falling in love…even if it means losing each other forever.


Review:

Many thanks to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This in no way impacted my views and opinions below.

Okay, so, I do admit to kinda being nervous that Under the Lights wouldn’t live up to my expectations after Until Friday Night or that it would just be too similar to the first book. I was wrong about the latter; it had a completely different feel to it than the first book. Under the Lights could probably be read as a standalone, though it’s set in the same town as Until Friday Night with the same cast of characters making cameo appearances. Reading the first book definitely isn’t a necessity, but I personally like the feeling of recognizing old characters and already being acquainted with the world and all.

Under the Lights is told in multiple points of view — three, to be exact. Brady, Willa, and Gunner used to be childhood best friends until Willa had to move away. Now she’s back, but she’s not the same. All of them aren’t. They have haunted pasts and dark secrets (you know, the package deal). I know what you’re probably thinking… love triangle? Yikes. I was a bit disheartened by that, too, but it actually wasn’t that bad. For starters, it was pretty obvious who Willa would end up with from the beginning. For me, it didn’t even take away from the book. Their relationship development still made my heart beat all the same. There wasn’t much drama about the love triangle itself as expected. Instead, the “drama” was mostly focused on each character’s individual struggles. Needless to say, there was jealousy here and there, but it didn’t stir that many problems.

The story itself was an incredibly enjoyable fast read that’ll have you wondering where the pages flew. My overall level of enjoyment of this book alone is enough to warrant it 4 stars; however, there are a few issues that did bother me enough to make me take away a whole star.

Firstly, the way every single girl character except for our MC, Willa, and the previous book’s MC (Maggie) was written irked me so.much. They were all so stereotypical and mean, and it was obvious they were written for the sole purpose of being props to the guy characters. In addition, older women like Willa’s and Gunner’s mother were such awful, conceited people and I just- arghh. What pissed me off the most was the fact that two women in this book *no spoilers* said that they’d been raped, and guess what? They were ridiculed & disbelieved by almost everyone, including some of our very own MCs.

Second, unlike the first book, the character development in this was almost nonexistent. Maggie’s character development was honestly phenomenal, but Willa? Not so much. What this book did have in abundance, though, was inner dialogue. There was lots of it. Like, it would span the length of 1-2 pages! At first, I didn’t really care or notice that much, but there were times that this inner dialogue started to get repetitive and, dare I say it, boring.

(At this point of the review, I started waffling about what to rate this book, but finally settled on 3 stars for the reasons below.)

On one hand, this was a very quick, cute, and enjoyable read – no doubt about that. The romance was able to pull me in and the love triangle (thankfully) wasn’t that obnoxious. The writing was pretty great and articulate, too. The characters made me fall in love with them, and the book made me feel so many wonderful things. I just really, really, really enjoyed this book!

On the other hand, when I start analyzing the book and delving deeper into all the technicalities, I start to find underlying issues. The way the female characters were written and how they tried to bring each other down (which is a huge pet peeve of mine), the lack of character development & abundance of internal dialogue, and the sexism.

I don’t know if the first book had the same problems as this one and I just didn’t see them, or if I was just in a really weird place while reading it, but what I do know is that both books still managed to capture a part of my heart – no matter how small.

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Rating: 3 fish

3 fish

Book Review: The Buried Symbol by Jeffrey L. Kohanek

The_Buried_Symbol_5-Star_Cover_1024x1024The Buried Symbol by Jeffrey L. Kohanek

Published by Black Rose Writing on May 5, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 356 – paperback & ebook

Format Read: ebook

Rating: 3 stars

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Blurb:

Discover a lost magic, long buried and forgotten…

Without a rune marking his role in society, Brock is doomed to an existence below the lowest rung of the social ladder. Unwilling to accept his fate, the teen risks his life to obtain a fake rune that marks him as a member of the Empire’s ruling class. He then embarks on a quest to join an institution where the Empire’s future leaders are trained.

As a student of the Academy, he soon uncovers a chain of secrets kept hidden for centuries, secrets that expose cracks in the foundation of Empire society. Among his discoveries is a powerful magic, long buried and forgotten.

Brock’s compassion and sense of justice are seeds that sprout tight friendships and a blossoming romance. An unwillingness to be bullied earns him a dangerous enemy, becoming a feud that escalates to a climactic showdown.


Review:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my views and opinions below.

So, I found this book very easy to read. It wasn’t the best; it wasn’t mindbogglingly awesome, but I certainly didn’t hate it. Sure, I had a few issues but… we’ll deal with them later. There were so many amazing elements – the world, the characters… They were so refreshing to read about!

As always, we’ll talk about the protagonist first. I found Brock to be a very pleasant character, to say the least. He was so agreeable and nice, I had no problems reading about him. It’s just that, his character kind of lacked depth. He read more like an 11 year old to me. He seemed one-dimensional. I wanted to see what really went on inside him. I just thought his motivations were shallow; I wanted to actually connect, but unfortunately that did not happen.

The cast of characters was so charming, though! The bond between Tipper and Brock was really something special and I actually felt like their friendship had an amazing dynamic. What I thought didn’t have an amazing dynamic, however, was Brock and Ashland’s relationship. I didn’t like how fast Brock found himself infatuated with every single woman he met. I mean, come on. Their relationship was so predictable, and the moment she was introduced I was all, “Yep, we’re doing this again.” I just wish more effort was put into building up their romantic relationship instead of it just being an afterthought.

The world-building and setting were very refreshing, though. They weren’t very complex, and they made this book just what I wanted to read at that moment. The world is very nicely fleshed out – but not too detailed -which I thought was perfect. I loved the overall undertones of adventure and mystery and friendship in this book. To me, it slightly echoed Harry Potter. Also, the author does leave many things to be desired at the end of the book. So many unanswered questions and loose ends… I’d love to know what happens next!

Overall, I thought this was a pretty solid read. It was well-written and had an appreciable amount of action. It has great potential and lots of intriguing questions that I must know the answer to. The main character is kind of too underdeveloped, so what I’m hoping for is that he grows more as a character in the sequel.

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Rating: 3 fish

3 fish

Book Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

 

tue The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 3, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 519 – hardcover & paperback, 528 – ebook

Format Read: paperback ARC

Rating: 3 stars

Source: Simon & Schuster

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Blurb:

Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.

Future? A top-tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.

So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.

Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?


Review:

Many thanks to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my views and opinions below.

Okay, so I love Morgan Matson’s books; they’re all such memorable reads and I always find myself enjoying every single second of them. I only have, like, 3 auto-buy authors and she’s definitely one of them. So, imagine my excitement when I hear that she has a new book coming out! I.am.pumped! Seriously, the excitement I felt was surreal. Unfortunately — I don’t know if it was just me or if it was the book itself — but… this book kind of fell flat. I kept waiting for that moment when I would get completely sucked in, that heart-racing ‘omg‘ factor… 400 pages in and… nope. Zilch. Nada. Maybe it was just because my expectations were ridiculously high and the hype was massive, but I still can’t help but feel a twinge of disappointment. Compared to her other books, The Unexpected Everything just failed to grab a hold of my attention and actually keep it until the end.

I’ll start off by talking about what I liked about the book, because although it just wasn’t up to par with her other books, the book in and itself did have some redeemable parts. I loved the dynamic between the characters, especially between Andie, Toby, Bri, and Palmer. Their friendship was just so precious! It’s always nice to see books that give as much importance to the platonic relationships as they do to the romantic ones, and that’s something that’s always been emphasized in Morgan’s books — which I absolutely love. Also, the humor and banter was 10/10! I found myself giggling at the book more often than not. It made the pages fly by a little faster.

Andie was a nice protagonist, too. Not my favorite, but she was okay. I couldn’t understand her reasoning sometimes and her decisions seemed to lack common sense a lot of the time. You know when you’re reading a book and the MC does something that you just know will come back to bite them in the ass at a later point? Well, that was Andie… times ten.

Speaking of Andie, can we just talk about her dad? I loved the subplot there. I loved watching their relationship develop. I loved watching them slowly get to know each other. Most of all, I loved the care with which Morgan explored their relationship. It was really something to read! Especially the scavenger hunt scene.

Now that we’ve covered what I enjoyed, let’s touch bases on what didn’t work for me. The biggest and most important issue for me, perhaps, was how predicable everything was. As I mentioned above, there was just no ‘wow’ factor that made me want to ignore life and keep reading. I could’ve guessed what was going to happen from the get-go, but I just had to give the book the benefit of the doubt and keep reading. To be honest, most of this book could’ve been condensed into fewer pages. The five-hundred-something pages were just completely unnecessary. The first half of the book barely had anything going on and the second half felt like one very long epilogue that just dragged on and on and on.

Another thing that fell flat for me was Clarke and Andie’s relationship. I wasn’t feeling it. Their interactions were clunky and forced (especially at the beginning) and just tragic. I couldn’t really enjoy the scenes of them together because they were just too tedious. I wanted banter, chemistry, a spark – call it what you will – but their dynamic just made me cringe. I feel like, as a romantic pairing, they weren’t very compatible for each other; Topher would’ve made for a more exciting interest, probably.

In short, The Unexpected Everything wasn’t what I hoped it would be, but it did have qualities that compensated for the defects. The writing was articulate and the characters were relatable and their banter was hilarious. It just that, unlike Morgan’s other books, I couldn’t feel the feels.

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Rating: 3 fish

3 fish

Book Review: This Is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang

tiwtwe This Is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang

Published by Greenwillow Books on March 22, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Pages: 304 – hardcover & paperback, 320 – ebook

Format Read: eARC

Rating: 3 stars

Source: HarperCollins

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Blurb:

Janie and Micah, Micah and Janie. That’s how it’s been ever since elementary school, when Janie Vivien moved next door. Janie says Micah is everything she is not. Where Micah is shy, Janie is outgoing. Where Micah loves music, Janie loves art. It’s the perfect friendship—as long as no one finds out about it. But then Janie goes missing and everything Micah thought he knew about his best friend is colored with doubt.

Using a nonlinear writing style and dual narrators, Amy Zhang reveals the circumstances surrounding Janie’s disappearance in a second novel.


Review:

Thanks to HarperCollins for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my views & opinions below.

This is the first Amy Zhang book I’ve ever picked up. All I could say is that it was so-so. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the writing but… I can’t say the same about the story itself. I tend to usually steer clear of books with poetic or nonlinear prose because I feel like the writing kind of takes away from the reader’s ability to connect with the story. I don’t know, maybe it’s just the books that I’ve read, but so far, I haven’t encountered a single book written in nonlinear prose that still left me able to empathize with the characters and their story. (Except for We Were Liars).

Let me tell you, when I started reading this book, I was confused for 35% of it. That was probably because of Micah. He didn’t even know what was going on around him and his forgetfulness made him a very unreliable narrator. Janie, on the other hand, was a bit more of a complex character. She was sweet and naïve, yes, but she was also rude to people and obnoxious. She has so many personality traits that her character gave me a whiplash sometimes. However, the extremes of her personality were very compelling to read about. Her fairytale fantasies were whimsical and quirky which I think contrasted with Micah’s bleak grayness. Even though I couldn’t connect with either of them, it was interesting to read about their downward spiral and the toxicity of their relationship with each other and other people.

What bothered me about this story was the way Janie treated Micah. Micah would do anything for Janie, which she was quite aware of, and Janie used that to manipulate him. Why did she tell him she loved him and then date other people? Why did she ignore him at school but talk to him outside it? Janie practically had Micah at her beck-and-call and he was too spineless to do something about it. In a weird/sick way, it was fascinating watching all of this unfold.

The main factor that irked me about this book was its predictability. It was obvious where the story was going, which made it lack a sense of urgency. The inability to connect with any of the characters contributed to that, too. Yes, Janie and Micah were two very emotional narrators but it was just very difficult to devote myself to their story. Also, was it just me or was the ending extremely lacking? So many loose ends, unanswered questions and zero impact. When I finished the book, it was less of an “oh damn” moment and more of an “oh okay” moment.

There are so many conflicting emotions about this book. The writing was magnificent and outstanding, but the story itself failed to pull me in. The unreliable narrators were very hard to connect with and the story was predictable. I adored the writing but disliked the story. The struggle is real. I won’t be dissuaded by this book, though. I’ve heard tons of good things about Amy Zhang’s Falling into Place so I will definitely be giving that shot!

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Rating: 3 fish

3 fish

Book Review: Changers (Drew) by T. Cooper & Allison Glock

changers 1 Changers Book One: Drew by T. Cooper and Allison Glock

Published by Akashic Books on January 13, 2014

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction, Contemporary

Pages: 288 – paperback

Format Read: PDF

Rating: 3 stars

Source: Hachette UK

BUY LINKS

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Blurb:

Changers Book One: Drew opens on the eve of Ethan Miller’s freshman year of high school in a brand-new town. He’s finally sporting a haircut he doesn’t hate, has grown two inches since middle school, and can’t wait to try out for the soccer team. At last, everything is looking up in life.

Until the next morning. When Ethan awakens as a girl.

Ethan is a Changer, a little-known, ancient race of humans who live out each of their four years of high school as a different person. After graduation, Changers choose which version of themselves they will be forever–and no, they cannot go back to who they were before the changes began.

Ethan must now live as Drew Bohner–a petite blonde with an unfortunate last name–and navigate the treacherous waters of freshman year while also following the rules: Never tell anyone what you are. Never disobey the Changers Council. And never, ever fall in love with another Changer. Oh, and Drew also has to battle a creepy underground syndicate called “Abiders” (as well as the sadistic school queen bee, Chloe). And she can’t even confide in her best friend Audrey, who can never know the real her, without risking both of their lives.

Fans of the books of John Green, the Joss Whedonverse–and empathy between humans–will find much to love in this first of a four-part series that tracks the journey of an average suburban boy who becomes an incredible young woman . . . who becomes a reluctant hero . . . who becomes the person she was meant to be.

Because, while changing the world can kinda suck, it sure beats never knowing who you really are.


Review:

Many thanks to Hachette for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my views.

I went into Changers with some presumptions about the book; I thought I knew what to expect, what to anticipate. However, the way the unique concept of this book was presented worked pretty well to battle these preconceptions – though some still remained. Generally speaking, it’s safe to say that I enjoyed this, but my only problem was that some things didn’t quite work out with this story. The concept behind the plot was an attention-grabber, for sure, and the characters were interesting enough to read about, but the way the world was set up seemed jumbled up and vague to me. The book left me very curious and I do hope some of my questions will be answered in the second book.

One thing that’s undeniable about this book is that it’s very captivating; it’ll keep you turning pages until the very end. What makes it such a page-turner is the humor. At the beginning, I thought it was too forced and did not find it funny at all, but as the story progressed and Ethan’s Drew’s character developed and grew, the wit did too. The writing style of the book also helped with this, it was conversational and served to portray the protagonist’s personality really well.

There are many notions that the book tried to tackle, namely gender fluidity and accepting who you are. I’m no expert, but the former wasn’t exactly portrayed accurately. The book tried – which is the keyword here – to push the boundaries between genders but all it ended up doing was showing us a 2D model of the characters. It was unrealistic how fast Drew forgot what it was like to be a boy and jumped into the role of being a girl. I mean, what happened to these 14 years of being a boy? How did he start to view the world in terms of being a girl in just a few months? To say the least, it was unrealistic and very disconcerting. It also didn’t help that the protagonist wasn’t very relatable, so I wasn’t able to sympathize very much. Everything just sort of fell flat. Despite all that, there is something I really liked – the fluid sexuality. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be a love triangle or what, but Drew falls in love with a Changer boy who used to be a girl AND there also seem to be feelings between Drew and her girl best friend. I totally loved the dynamic of that and am disappointed to see the characters go. Maybe they’ll reappear in the second installment? It’s definitely enough to keep me reading.

I mentioned previously that I wasn’t a fan of the way the world was set up. Nothing was explained properly and when an effort was made to explain things, it was just a confusing jumble of information dumping and vague statements. For example, what’s the role of Changers? “The Changer race is the last hope for the human race on the whole to reverse the moral devolution that has overcome it. Changers believe more Changers equals more empathy on planet Earth. And that only through empathy will the human race survive.” Say what? The whole story is riddled with vague, elusive statements like that. The world was never fleshed out properly, either, leading to a ton of questions about it that haven’t been answered.

If you’re looking for an interesting read with no depth to it, then this is your book. It had potential, but failed to fulfill it. This had more plot holes than the ozone layer and a world that wasn’t fleshed out properly. Despite all that, the book featured moral qualms such as accepting yourself and fluid sexuality, handling them pretty well, while failing to appropriately address the part about gender. It was a page-turner, alright, with a humorous protagonist and a chatty, conversational writing style. Many questions were left unanswered, but I still do have hope for the second installment.

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Rating: 3 fish

3 fish

 

Book Review: Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

assassinsheartAssassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

Published by HarperTeen on February 2, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Pages: 400 – hardcover, 432 – ebook

Format Read: ARC

Rating: 3 stars

Source: HarperCollins International

BUY LINKS

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Blurb:

In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a story of love, lies, and the ultimate vengeance.


Review:

How to rate this book is kind of a blurry affair for me because on one hand, it was pretty enjoyable, but on the other hand, so many things pissed me off. For a book about rival assassin groups involved in a blood feud, this was kind of underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, there was some ass-kicking going on but the first half and middle of the book were just very… sluggish. The second half did have some slight improvement, though not by much.

Can we start off by saying how much I usually love assassin books? Bonus points if it’s in the Fantasy genre. So when I got this book you could definitely see why I was over the moon. I, however, was let down by the very poor assassining (assassinating?) going on. From the very first few pages we see our protagonist get poisoned by… wait for it… her mom. Here, we have everyone singing her praises and amaaazing “Clipper” skills then she goes and makes rookie mistakes all throughout the book. Forgets her weapons, gets poisoned by her mom, repeatedly gets caught by whoever she’s sneaking up on or trying to avoid (Captain LeFevre), and constantly gets injured and blames her less-than-exceptional fighting skills on these injuries. Girl, what type of assassin are you?!

The characters in this book really lacked complexity, especially the “bad guys”. They’re just handed to us on a silver platter like ‘Here, these people are evil; you have to hate them… They’re BAD.” The Da Vias, especially Estella and Val, were portrayed as the bad guys with no clues or justification given as to what the reasons behind their actions might be. The author did try with Estella with the whole pregnancy thing, but it just served to make it seem more lacking and hastily thrown together, in my opinion.

Also, as I mentioned a few paragraphs back, the pacing of the story seemed off. Three-fourths of this book consisted of pointless journeys and excursions that led to nowhere. To get from one place to another probably takes fifty pages of mind-numbing self-rumination from the protagonist. It was so goddamn boring – like, can we please just get back to the relevant plot material?! And speaking of plot, when we actually do get a fight, there always has to be some type of convenient rescue to aid our humble main characters — like a mysterious smoke bomb or, say, a rescue from the goddess of Death and Resurrection herself!1!! How opportune.

However, not everything about this book was a plodding disappointment; there were redeemable aspects! For example, the romance between Lea and Alessio (I’m not calling him Les because ‘Lea and Les’? Hell nah.) It was obvious Alessio fell for Lea really early on, although she remained oblivious to it for the most part of the book. It still made my heart stutter. Alessio is an adorable mess – he reminded me of a puppy. He’s definitely one of my favorite characters in this book!

In a Fantasy book, the world building is usually what makes it or breaks it. In this case, the world building is what glued the whole damn story together. The setting was rich and imaginative and along with the writing, helped to immerse the reader into the story. Such unique world building and setting surely deserves an award!

All in all, this was an enjoyable book… just not that hooking. It was kind of underwhelming and screamed ‘debut author’, but it still had potential. I’ve heard that there will be a sequel, though I don’t know what it could possibly be about since this book already wrapped itself up. A companion novel about another character maybe? I’m pretty picky about fantasy, so if all the above appeals to you then go for it. There are definitely a lot of things that I enjoyed, more than I hated.

Many thanks to HarperCollins for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my views.

Rating: 3 fish

3 fish