The Wicked King by Holly Black – The Folk of the Air #2

I have been sooooo excited to read this book, considering how much I adored The Cruel Prince!

This book has also been highly anticipated by many Holly Black fans and others in the book community, so the hype was definitely there. I waited quite a while to read this book (even though the anticipation was KILLING me) because I didn’t want to be swayed by anyone else’s opinion …. so here are my thoughts:

26032887Summary (Goodreads): You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

 


Review:  I would highly recommend if you don’t remember what happened in The Cruel Prince that you read it right before reading this book because the story takes off right where the previous one ended.

Once again, the author did a great job with pacing and characterization. There was never a dull moment in the story, which means the reader is always kept hooked to the story. The characters also stay true to their nature, which is something I always appreciate because there are many cases where the things you loved about a character tend to disappear as the series progresses. If anything, some of the characters seemed to reveal their treacherous nature even more, which just made this novel even more enjoyable for me. The one thing I will mention is that I wasn’t as enchanted with Jude as I used to be; for a character that is constantly mentioning how deceptive this world is and how careful she must be with her trust, she really does a bad job of avoiding traps. Nevertheless, her misadventures and attempts to get out of sticky situations got my heart pumping and she had my support throughout the story.

The one thing I couldn’t help noticing – and maybe this is just a small pet peeve of mine – is that the language being used in the story was not always consistent with the setting. For instance, Jude and some of the other characters in faerie would use common modern slang at times, which was incongruent with their position in the faerie court and the world that they were in. Now, I know Jude is human and would visit the human world, so I can excuse her use of slang but why characters like Cardan or other fae would do so just made no sense to me.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book. It had great pacing, plenty of twists and turns to keep readers interested, and the same awesome characters I fell for in The Cruel Prince. I cannot wait to see what the author will come up with in the next book in this series: Queen of Nothing! I’m giving this a solid 4/5 stars!

4 star

Happy reading ~

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Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

My first encounter with Claire Legrand was when I read the book Furyborn. I absolutely loved it and I’m still eagerly anticipating the sequel. In the meantime, I found out that Legrand was releasing another novel and I knew I had to get my hands on it ASAP! So here I am, having read it and I’m finally ready to share my thoughts:

38139409Summary (Goodreads): Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep. He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

 


Review: While I thought this story was interesting, it didn’t quite hold the spark for me that Furyborn did.

I really liked that it featured 3 strong female characters who were all very different. Marion was a girl who was consumed by grief and while she could be annoying at times, her behaviour and personality made sense with what was happening in her life. Zoey was spunky and asexual and the kind of character you always want to root for. My personal favourite character was Val. She may seem like the typical popular “bitchy” girl, but there is so much more to her and the story really allows you to connect with her.

But apart from the character development and their interactions with each other, I didn’t really enjoy the story. I think my two biggest problems with this book was that it felt childish at times and that there were too many themes that the author was trying to address all at one go.

In terms of maturity, this novel was a bit too childish even for a teen read. I think my comments regarding this stem from my experience with Furyborn: while that was also a teen read, it had some maturity to it that made me take the story seriously. My feelings about this book might be a bit unfair in that I’m comparing these 2 novels together but it did affect my ability to enjoy this novel.

There were quite a few themes that the author tried to explore in this story …. but I felt that it was detrimental to the story in the sense that none of the themes were really explored as fully as they could be and it detracted from the story itself, leaving many vague plot points that the reader just had to deal with. Throughout the story, I was left with tons of questions that were just never answered. For instance, where did the monster that terrorized these girls come from? Why was the rock (is it a rock, is it the earth, is it the island?!) talking to these girls? And where did this random organization come from?! There were so many things that the reader was just supposed to accept and that really didn’t work for me. I want proper world-building and explanations for things or else I just can’t enjoy the story! Perhaps if the author had focused her attention on this rather than trying to shove in a bunch of feminist themes, it would have been better.

Now, before you take offense, I do think the themes that the author brought in were important. They should be addressed and we need more books that talk about sexuality and the struggles of women to be recognized as independent, to be more than just sacrificial lambs. But this just happened in bursts here and there and wasn’t fully developed. While the intent was great, the execution didn’t really work, making it a moot point.

Overall, this story had a lot of potential and it had an interesting plot. However, the execution was just not where I wanted it to be. I’m still looking forward to reading more by this author because Furyborn was absolutely fantastic. But this book gets a 2/5 stars from me.

2 star

Happy reading ~

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When I saw this title at my library, I knew I had to get my hands on this book. As an Indian-Canadian, I was really excited to read a book that showed what life is like for a child growing up “indian” while being raised in a Western country. So here are my thoughts:

28458598Summary (Goodreads): Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

 


Review:

This book made me very happy and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! It was fun, it was a fresh perspective, and it was just downright adorable when it came to romance! I can go on and on about this book but I’m going to try to break it down into specific sections that I think were done really well:

First of all, the author created some wonderfully memorable characters. Dimple is such an amazing protagonist, fierce yet sensitive and full of spunk. It’s easy to connect with her and you really want to root for her! Compared to Dimple, Rishi’s character is much softer, but still likable. Just because he has a gentler and more romantic personality in no way means he is a pushover, and the way he stands up for his beliefs is admirable. It is easy to see how the two of them have this natural friendship and chemistry, and readers can’t help but “ship” them!

One of the things I really loved about this book is the way it explored parental pressure in an Indian family setting. As someone in her 20s, I could really empathize with Dimple, who was being pressured to consider marriage instead of focus on her career. This is something I’m going through currently, and let me tell you, it is NOT fun! The author explores this in such a way that even people who haven’t necessarily experienced this can still understand what Dimple is feeling and going through. The author also ensured that she showed both sides of the situation, through Rishi’s character and his own acceptance and support of arranged marriage.

Not only was the plot interesting, the writing style also made the story very readable. I loved that the author had alternating chapters from Rishi and Dimple’s point of view to give a fuller picture and see what was going on in each of their heads. It made this such a cute read and there were so many times when I would internally “aww” over something Rishi or Dimple said/thought about the other person. It’s always nice to see both people’s feelings evolve in a romance, and the author definitely delivers on that front.

All in all, this book was a major success for me. It is unique in its representation of second-generation Indians and their struggle to assimilate into the Western culture while still adhering to Indian traditions. It also highlighted the importance of females in STEM, and how girls should never have to give up on their dreams. And it had one of the cutest romances ever, and I completely fell in love with Rishi and Dimple and their growing chemistry. For those reasons, I’m giving this book a 5/5 stars!

5 star

Happy reading ~

Sadie by Courtney Summers

When I read the synopsis for this book, I thought this would be right down my alley. You know how much I love reading books that are seriously messed up, and a revenge story with this premise DEFINITELY fit into that category. But after reading this novel, I must say that this is so much more than that. Here are my thoughts:

34810320Summary (Goodreads): Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.


Review:

Wow. This book. Wow. I’m struggling to write this review because there is just so much I want to say about this novel. To say it messed me up would be an understatement because it SERIOUSLY messed me up. And I mean that in the best way. This novel has a lot of triggers for child abuse and assault so please do keep that in mind if you plan on picking it up.

The story has a very unique writing style in that it is told mostly through Sadie’s perspective but also through a podcast, where you can read the transcripts (or listen to them, if you have an audiobook version – and I really recommend that experience). This allows the reader to see the story from an outsider’s view, which is very much appreciated because it just added more depth and realism to the story.

There is so much going on in this story from an emotional perspective. As the plot shows Sadie’s journey to get justice for her sister’s murder, we also see Sadie handle her grief and get a glimpse into what her life has been like. And let me tell you, it is heart-wrenching. The author does not hold back the punches when delving into dark material like abuse, murder, pedophilia, and sexual assault. Readers get to really understand the experiences that Sadie has been through and how she has tried to stay strong and be mature for her sister. I loved Sadie’s character, even though there were times when I didn’t feel like I could connect with – at times, her reticence made her distant to the reader. But the rawness of the emotions, and the significance of the message of the story were so real and I was completely drawn into Sadie’s world.

There aren’t very many books that I say everyone should read. But this is one of those books. It is gripping, it is heartbreaking and it is completely relevant. If you haven’t tried this novel, I highly recommend that you do. I’m giving this book 5/5 stars!

5 star

Happy reading ~

Children of Daedala by Caighlan Smith – Children of Icarus #2

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

When I was approved for this title, I had not realized that it was part of a series. I went through a lot of trouble to order the first book Children of Icarus and read it prior to this one. You can find my review of the first book here. Suffice to say, I did not enjoy the first book. However, I was determined to not let my previous experience cloud my judgement with this next installment. Here are my thoughts:

36049722Summary (Goodreads): Six months alone in the labyrinth has made her strong. But the search for the exit means gambling on an old ‘friend’ and going against everything she’s been taught to survive. You know the labyrinth will have yet more horrors lurking in its depths. You’ve learned few people can be trusted. But freedom is tantalizingly close. Are you ready to take the risk?


This book is an improvement from the first novel. But not by much. I still didn’t love this story as much as I had hoped. NB: you will definitely not understand this book if you haven’t read the first novel in the series!

The main character – who was still Nameless – wasn’t as irritating in this book as she was in the last. She came into her abilities a lot more in this novel so I wasn’t as mad when reading. But there were so many new characters that were involved and they all were just so flat and one-dimensional that it was hard to tell them apart. I had a tough time telling who was an ally and who was an enemy because they all sounded the same.

There was less violence in this story but it was still unnecessarily violent and graphic at times. Now, I love gore but even I had to say that there was too much of it in this series – and that’s saying something! I also thought that the book was unnecessarily long. It could easily have been a good 100 pages shorter, without losing any plot. Maybe that’s because not much happens in the story. I kept wondering when things would get going but it never really did. I definitely felt that this novel suffered from second-book-syndrome in that it was just filler until the next book came out.

I also felt that there just weren’t enough questions answered. The first novel left me with a lot of questions and I was hoping this one would provide some answers. Instead, it presented more questions. The story also lacked a solid backstory. I wanted to know more about how things got to be the way they were but that didn’t really happen, which was disappointing. I wanted more mythology and more explanations about mythology for those people who perhaps weren’t as familiar with mythology. This was definitely lacking in both books in this series.

Overall, this novel, while an improvement from the first in the series, was still not what I wanted or expected. Since it has gotten better, I’m going to give it a 2/5 stars. But I don’t think I’m going to be sticking to this series.

2 star

Happy reading ~

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

I love dark fantasy stories. And this one? Well, it sounded pretty dark to me. I was very excited to get the chance to read this ARC, especially when it has such a pretty cover. And the best part? This is a standalone so I knew I didn’t have to worry about waiting forever for the next book in the series. So let’s get on with the review:

32824058Summary (Goodreads): Once, a witch made a pact with a devil. The legend says they loved each other, but can the story be trusted at all?

Long ago, a village made a bargain with the devil: to ensure their prosperity, when the Slaughter Moon rises, the village must sacrifice a young man into the depths of the Devil’s Forest.

Only this year, the Slaughter Moon has risen early.

Bound by duty, secrets, and the love they share for one another, Mairwen, a spirited witch; Rhun, the expected saint; and Arthur, a restless outcast, will each have a role to play as the devil demands a body to fill the bargain. But the devil these friends find is not the one they expect, and the lies they uncover will turn their town—and their hearts—inside out.

 


Review: Initially, this novel started off quite slow, which worried me because I wanted something with a ton of action. But after a few chapters, the story started to shine and I was hooked.

I actually really liked the plot of this story. The entire premise of a place where people could live a peaceful life in exchange for a sacrifice once every 7 years was very interesting, and the mentality of the people about this was both bizarre and understandable at the same time. I think the author set up the story very well and there was a lot of depth and darkness to the plot; this is in no way a light and happy read. The author took a unique approach in that she did not make the events in the forest the main part of the story; instead, the story could be divided into before entering the forest, and after entering the forest. Most authors would have tried to capitalize on the experience in the forest itself, making it the entire plot of the story. I actually enjoyed this new approach because it added more intrigue to the story. What happened in the forest? How did it change the various characters? What is the big secret?

I did think that the two major reveals in this story weren’t that hard to guess. Well, okay, let me be more fair. I think the first reveal that occurs right after the forest wasn’t really explained well enough to give me that shock factor. When that truth came out, I thought … wait, isn’t that how it was supposed to be? There was a question raised from that secret (sorry for being so cryptic in my explanation but I really don’t want to spoil anything!) that I don’t think was ever properly addressed, so that was a bit of a bummer. Nevertheless, I did like the way things came to a climax and the final conclusion of the story. It was well-rounded and tied up all loose ends.

My one issue with this novel was with the main characters, specifically Mairwen and Arthur. I just couldn’t get my head around their personalities. Arthur has a very abrasive personality, and while the author tried to justify it, I felt it was a bit too abrasive for me to connect with him. I couldn’t really empathize with a character that was constantly attacking people and sneering at those who cared for him. And that brings me to Mairwen’s character. She supposedly cared for Arthur but I never really felt that? Perhaps the author was trying to portray a love-hate relationship that was complex, but it felt quite forced for me, with no real tenderness to it. I also didn’t really get a sense of Mairwen’s personality. All I knew was that she kept getting “called” or drawn to the forest. Apart from that (and her confusing feelings for the other characters), there really didn’t seem much to her. She kept being called weird but I didn’t really see what was so weird about her? It was all a bit strange and I think this aspect of the novel could have been strengthened.

This novel started off slow, but as the darker elements of the story began to unfold, I was drawn into it and could not wait to see how things would end. However, the characters were not developed as well as I would have liked, which affected my ability to fully connect with this story. For those reasons, I’m giving it a 3/5 stars!

3 star

Happy reading ~

The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara

Thank you to Netgalley, Edelweiss, and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

While I have rarely read a book about pirates, it isn’t for lack of trying. I LOVE PIRATES but I just haven’t found many novels that feature them. That’s why I was absolutely psyched to be approved for this title and give my opinion on it! So here is my review:

32295460Summary (Goodreads): There’s no place for a girl in Mary’s world. Not in the home of her mum, desperately drunk and poor. Not in the household of her wealthy granny, where no girl can be named an heir. And certainly not in the arms of Nat, her childhood love who never knew her for who she was. As a sailor aboard a Caribbean merchant ship, Mary’s livelihood—and her safety—depends on her ability to disguise her gender.

At least, that’s what she thinks is true. But then pirates attack the ship, and in the midst of the gang of cutthroats, Mary spots something she never could have imagined: a girl pirate.

The sight of a girl standing unafraid upon the deck, gun and sword in hand, changes everything. In a split-second decision, Mary turns her gun on her own captain, earning herself the chance to join the account and become a pirate alongside Calico Jack and Anne Bonny.

For the first time, Mary has a shot at freedom. But imagining living as her true self is easier, it seems, than actually doing it. And when Mary finds herself falling for the captain’s mistress, she risks everything—her childhood love, her place among the crew, and even her life.


Review:

Oh boy… where do I start with this novel? I so wanted to love it but it just did not work at all. I think the idea was fantastic. It just failed on execution.

I found the story to be quite boring, which is weird because this is a book about PIRATES. But it really just felt like nothing was happening throughout the story; at times, it even felt like a biography than an actual fictional tale. I think this can be attributed to the fact that the characters were very one-dimensional and were hard to connect with. It was hard to distinguish the different voices of the characters because they just didn’t really have much of a personality. I think Anne Bonny was developed a little bit better than Mary Reade, but even that is a bit of a stretch. I also didn’t love the writing as it was far too juvenile for this type of story. It read more like a middle grade book than a YA fiction novel. It also seemed as if it was just a draft copy and not a full-fledged book. It definitely needed a lot more editing for the story to really shine through.

I don’t want to go on and on bashing this novel. Clearly, the author had a really great concept and just wasn’t able to follow through with it. Suffice to say that it wasn’t what I had wanted or expected. For those reasons, I’m giving it a 1/5 stars.

1 star

Happy reading ~

Copycat by Hannah Jayne

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Most of the thrillers I read are for an adult audience, so I was quite interested to see how a thriller written with a teen audience in mind would differ. I also thought the premise, which involved fan fiction, was an interesting one. I decided to request this novel and give it a chance. Here is my review:

36691530Summary (Goodreads): Everyone is dying to read the latest book in the popular Gap Lake mystery series, and Addison is no exception. As the novels biggest fan, Addison is flattered when the infamously reclusive author, R.J. Rosen, contacts her, granting her inside information others would kill for.

But when the most popular girl in Addison’s high school is murdered, Addison can’t help but think that life may be imitating fiction. And as other terrifying events from the book start happening around her, Addison has to figure out how to write her own ending -and survive the story.


Review:

Well …. I didn’t like this book.

Let me start with the positives: this book was a fast and easy read. Things moved along quite quickly and there were quite a few interesting moments that had a lot of tension and even some gore. I also liked the dual narrative style with one taking place in reality and one taking place in the fictional Gap Lake. 

But I disliked pretty much everything else in this book.

The story was extremely juvenile. Again, I understand that this was written with a teenage audience in mind but it sounded so unrealistic. The author’s forced attempts to make the narrative style sound like that of a teenager only served to make it sound artificial and unnatural. This meant that it was really hard to connect with the characters.

I also don’t think things were set up very well. The connections between the different individuals was not developed too much; it was as if the author just wanted us to assume the characters were close (or not close). Considering that this story is all about being suspicious about people, this was not a good thing.

I also thought that the motive and the murderer’s identity were developed in a very lazy way. It simply didn’t make sense. When I read that part of the story, I had to reread it to make sure I understood it properly. My frustration was that there was absolutely no way that any reader would have been able to guess this because the author hadn’t given the necessary information to the reader. The motivation was so far-fetched and there was barely any background to it, so it felt very much like a last-minute decision.

I think that the author really tried to come up with a unique story that would be appealing to a teen audience. But the juvenile writing combined with the lack of proper set up just didn’t work for me. Simply put …. it just wasn’t that good. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 1/5 stars.

1 star

Happy reading ~

The Loneliest Girl In The Universe by Lauren James

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t read many science fiction novels that take place in space. I think I’ve always been very worried about there being too much space jargon that would leave me befuddled. However, I’ve been actively trying to change that and when I read the premise of this novel, I thought it was interesting enough to give it a go!

36066142Summary (Goodreads): Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .


Review: 

While the story sounded interesting, this novel ended up being a flop for me – but not for the reasons I was anticipating. I actually did not feel overwhelmed at all by any of the science. In fact, dare I say, there wasn’t enough science in this story? But that’s me being a little unfair so I won’t get into it. However, I definitely had an issue with the execution of the story.

There were multiple ways in which the execution just did not live up to my expectations. For one thing, the main character was just a little too normal for her situation. Think about it: you are the first child to ever have been born in space and you have been alone there for years! For her to be such a normal teenager was quite unexpected. Her typical teenager would have been something to be loved had she been in a story that was more realistic. I also thought it was a bit too weird that the author focused so much on Romy’s love of fan fiction; it just served to make the story sound more juvenile.

And that was my general problem with the entire story. Everything was so juvenile. Even though the actual concept behind the story was very plausible, it came off as ridiculous because of its execution. There was just no serious undertone to the story and everything sounded very childish. Even the way the characters revealed their motives sounded fake and lacked the genuineness and emotion I was hoping to see. Now, I know this is YA fiction but that doesn’t mean that it should seem kiddish. This element of childishness really threw me off and it made it hard for me to connect with the motives of other characters in the story. It also made it hard for me to believe in the gravity of the situation, and it caused me to never properly connect to Romy.

Honestly, I pushed through this novel until the end in the hopes that the plot would be good enough for me to forgive the execution fails. But it wasn’t. The story was just blah and the only thing I remembered about the story was how much I didn’t like it. There just wasn’t enough depth and development to keep me interested. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 1/5 stars.

1 star

Happy reading ~

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

As I wait for the sequel to The Cruel Prince to be released, I decided to check out other books by this author. I was really happy to find that the author has written many standalone books, because I’m not sure if I’m up for the commitment of a series right now – I have far too many series to complete as it is! I decided to read this one in audiobook format, because I’ve been doing a lot of commuting and haven’t had a lot of time to crack open a physical book. Here is my review:

20958632Summary (Goodreads): Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

 


Review:

So the premise of this novel was very interesting. I loved the idea of putting a story about the fae in a modern setting. Usually, you only read about characters being transported to the world of the fae or vice versa, so it was refreshing to have this element of magical realism/urban fantasy in the story.

But while the story started off well, it didn’t stay that way. Something about the way the story was presented just didn’t hold my attention. I wasn’t really able to pinpoint if it was the writing style itself or the plot, but it just felt a bit bland compared to the description I was given at the beginning. I was missing that building tension, that darkness that this novel was promising to deliver.

Some of my unhappiness with the story can also be attributed to the portrayal of the characters: it just wasn’t done very well. They just lacked personality and I couldn’t feel a connection to them – or between them. There were quite a few instances of romance in the story but it just felt so unnatural and forced; it was more of an insta-love situation than a gradual buildup of emotion. Even the fact that there was an LGBTQ+ presence couldn’t save it.

Maybe it was the poor characterization. Or maybe it was my expectations for a dark and creepy tale. Either way, this novel let me down. Now, this doesn’t mean I won’t try other books by Holly Black. I clearly LOVED The Cruel Prince. However, this is one of her earlier books and it may just not have been my cup of tea. I’m giving this story a 2/5 stars, but I am definitely not giving up on this author!

2 star

Happy reading ~