My rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased ebook
Publication Date: January 2016
Publisher: Tor Teen
Point of View: 3rd Person
Genre: YA Fantasy Adventure
Oooooooh my! Does this book have EVERYTHING or what???
WHAT I LOVED
I don't believe I have ever encountered a YA fantasy adventure in which the CENTRAL relationship was a best friends relationship between two women. That right there was so unique and so endearing. And the dynamic between these two was fantastic, a real thrill to watch play out on the page!
Iseult--she, as a character, really interested me. She's definitely an underdog, but she never lets that get her down. She's the quieter of the dynamic duo, but somehow, I felt like her choices tended to drive the plot in more positive directions than Safi's choices often lead! She was my favorite.
Aeduan--I loved the mysterious bloodwitch with the hunter's drive and the interesting conflict his faith presented. A truly fascinating character, one I hope gets much more page-time in the future!
Honestly, all of the characters, both primary and secondary, good and bad, captivated my interest. And their interactions, the twists and turns of their motivations, were fascinating.
The world-building was excellent in my opinion. Complex enough to feel convincing, but never so complex that I had to work hard to keep up (which is not what I want in a YA fantasy read!). The portrayals of the four main leads' different kinds of magic was particularly good.
The climax--Oh, my! That climactic sequence was a breathless ride! I was turning pages so fast, my Kindle nearly burned up! I don't want to spoil anything here, so I won't, but . . . seriously guys. There are some slower parts to this book, but that climax brings everything to SUCH an explosive and amazing end, every moment of the journey was worth it to me!
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE SO MUCH
Honestly, Safi got on my nerves. This is only a PARTIAL "Didn't Like," because ultimately I decided that I appreciated how distinct of a character she is. She is unmistakably herself, not a Mary Sue, and not about to be mixed up for any other YA heroine out there, and that's good writing. But her distinct self seriously irritated me most of the time . . .
And as a result, I really struggled much more with the romance of this story. I just couldn't quite see what our Handsome Hero saw in her! Sure, she's beautiful . . . and his magic is apparently drawn to her in a profoundly irresistible way . . . but I just didn't see the two of them actually interacting in any positive way that lead me to believe the attraction between them.
Honestly, there are two other characters I'm much more interested in watching as far as shipping is concerned . . . But I don't want to speak too much to that for fear of a) spoilers or b) jinxing what I'm hoping for !
Anyway, all that to say, it was a GREAT read. It had that summertime blockbuster thrill-factor, like the first time I saw the Pirates of the Caribbean movie in theaters as a kid! It was fun, adventurous, with high stakes, twists and turns, and a sheer pleasure to read. I'm looking forward to seeing more of this world . . . and to seeing if my shipping wishes come true!
This book, along with all my other March reads, is a contender for my Book of the Month. I'll be giving away a print copy of whichever book I end up picking, so sign up for my mailing list if you want a chance to win!