My rating: 3 1/2 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased ebook
Publication Date: April, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Point of View: 1st Person Heroine
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Well . . . that was a beautiful, beautiful book!
WHAT I LOVED
This book was a work of art. Seriously! Every paragraph was so beautifully constructed. Roshani Chokshi is a poet with words, and she captivated me with her atmospheric descriptions. She made magic both more real and more magical!
A fascinating take on the Hades/Persephone myth. Sort-of. Really, it was its own thing, but with touches of the old myth to give it a sense of mysterious familiarity.
LOVED the setting. Having recently traveled to India and being married to my own handsome prince from that part of Asia, it was so lovely to revisit it through a fantasy portal! The details were delightful, and I could breathe the spices and feel the silks so vividly.
All the time spent in Arakan before the Big Betrayal. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the new world through Maya's eyes! Both the beauty and the subtle, creeping horror.
The suspense built beautifully, and I was on pins and needles for the big pay-off!
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE SO MUCH
Um . . . the big pay-off. Sadly.
I just couldn't quite get behind Maya's motivations. I was so excited as I got to the 50% point and the plot was REALLY thickening. But then . . . I don't know. I just didn't believe it anymore. Granted, it's a fantasy. But characters living and breathing in a fantasy setting still have to have solid motivations for their actions.
So yeah, Maya ultimately was not my favorite either. She was sweet and endearing in her way, and I really enjoyed her story for the first half of the book. But after the Big Betrayal, I struggled to stay interested in her.
Honestly, the whole second half of the book lost my interest. I still read for the pretty writing and the imagination (And the demon-horse. She was awesome!). But I simply didn't CARE anymore. The last third was a bit of a slog, and I might have skimmed more than I like to admit. It was all TOO artsy, TOO surreal.
As for a rating . . . I'm conflicted. For the first half, I thought for sure I had a 4 star read on my hands, maybe even a 5. Yes, it was slow going, but I loved the vivid world, loved the building suspense, and I am perfectly happy to read a slow-start if I get a thrilling pay-off. But the second half was such a disappointment. It felt more like a 2 star read.
So I'll give it 3 stars. Maybe 3 1/2. Because Roshani Chokshi can WRITE like no one's business! But I didn't ultimately care for the characters and lost interest in the somewhat meandering plot.
Will I read the sequel? Maybe. I liked Gauri a lot in this book, and I do think I'll find myself craving more of Ms. Chokshi's writing given time.
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