My rating: 3 of 5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased Ebook
Publication Date: September 2016
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Point of View: 3rd Person
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Wow, it took me FOREVER to get through this one. Sorry, poor little book! I don't think it was entirely your fault.
Truth is, it was just really hard to get into this story after just reading Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor and Spindle by W.R. Gingell. It wasn't that this book wasn't good . . . but BOTH of those books were PERFECT fits for me (in very different ways). They made my All Time Favorites list right away.
If I'd encountered this one at a different time, it might have been a four star read for me. As it was, it FELT like a two star read, but I'm giving it three out of a sense of fairness, because I don't think it deserves two, I really don't.
WHAT I LOVED
Well, the opening with the magical rhyme was excellent. I really thought from that scene that the book was going to be a great fit for me.
We have a strong female lead in Daleina. She's quiet and smart and hard working, all of which endears her to me. And her storyline didn't get lost in a love story along the way (though there are romantic touches, to be sure), which I appreciated.
I liked the themes of female friendship. The storyline is set up as a competition, but I liked that it didn't devolve into a Mean Girls against Daleina storyline.
And . . . I thought the world building was interesting. Kind of reminded me of "Uprooted" by Naomi Novik, but not so much that it wasn't original too. Just some of the same eerie mood is all, and a feeling of threat from the forest. Ultimately handled in its own unique way, though.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE SO MUCH
While I appreciated Daleina as a character, I just never bonded to her. I never felt any urgency in her storyline. Maybe it was the writing? I'm not sure. The writing was good, but had a bit of a workman like feel to it. Like, the author never did anything WRONG, I just didn't feel that special spark.
I get really, really bored by academic schedules and training sequences. It's a rare book and author that can pull it off in a way that I find truly entertaining. Again, there was nothing poorly written about these scenes, I just couldn't get into them. So it dragged the story down.
Ultimately, I don't have any desire to bash this story. There's truly nothing WRONG with it. And honestly, you might absolutely love it! I might have loved it if I'd come upon it at a different time. (And I own it, so maybe I'll pick it up again in a year or two, see if my opin has changed.)
Meanwhile, I'm kind of glad it's done, and I can move on to something new.
COMING SOON . . . My Book of the Month Giveaway! I've got one more book I'm trying to slip in for June, then I'll be picking my favorite read of June (and May, because I'm cheating and splicing two months together this time) and giving it away to one lucky mailing list subscriber! So if you haven't subscribed to my mailing list yet, you should do so now