This review has also been posted on The Social Potato
This book though. It is so deliciously intense and I cannot help but want to jump up and down with equal parts excitement and fear. There is so much I want to say about this book but so much I cannot say without spoiling certain things.
For starters though, I would like to commend Melinda on her geniusness. Seriously. She is super clever and I just want to, I don’t know, do something to let her know how much I appreciate her cleverness. The sad thing is that after everything I have been put through in this book, and believe me, this book will DRAIN you, I am kind of scared of the sequel.
Let’s not talk about the sequel though, let’s talk about this book and why I think it’s the best thing ever and why I kind of want to shove it in everyone’s faces and tell them to READ THE DAMN BOOK!
Twylla is an interesting main character but I am not going to tell you she is badass because she isn’t. What she is is real and sometimes pathetically so. She came to the castle because it was her dream and she didn’t want the life she had. She left her siblings behind to live in comfort and didn't contact them. It isn’t that they ever left her thoughts, they didn’t, but on the queen’s insistence, she didn't contact her own family. Sometimes I really did question why she didn’t question things, but seeing the way she grew up, it was easy to see why. I am not making Twylla sound particularly admirable and in the beginning, she isn’t. There isn’t much to her that makes her stand out, but by the end of the book, she is absolutely amazing! She undergoes SO MUCH DEVELOPMENT. She starts to stand up for herself and she grows into her own. She isn’t drowning in self-pity; she is starting to take action and right at the end of the novel; she does me proud. That’s the kind of development you want in a book. Perfect characters are not fun to read about. Non-perfect characters are!
Lief is our love interest and sometimes he was annoying, but goddamn, in spite of it, I cannot help but love him. There are things I want to say about him but I will not. Lief is beautiful and mine and no one can have him *takes him and runs away*. You must read the book to find out more and if there are things you need to talk to someone about with, I am here. We can have an entire conversation in exclamation marks!!!!!!! if need be.
This brings us to the romance and while some of you might be wondering if there is a love triangle, I never thought there was one. Twylla seemed to have wanted the prince’s attention in the beginning, but half way through the book, she knows who she wants. She never goes back and forth. It’s plain old romance that takes its time to develop and is SO MUCH FUN to read about.
One thing I always look forward to in a fantasy novel is the world building and the world building in this novel is gorgeous. There were aspects of it that shocked me, but at the same time, this is a world that has been finely crafted. The author doesn’t just tell us about the superstitious nature of the people but she shows it and she does so well. It’s scary but it adds a whole new interesting layer to the book and I appreciated it. I can already imagine this small kingdom that is secluded from all other kingdoms and so unlike them as well. It makes me wonder what is in store for us in the next book world building wise, when we’ll finally get to see the ‘rest of the world’.
The plot is definitely the highlight of this book. There were certain twists I saw coming but the final one shocked me. It was the middle of the night and my roommate was sleeping so I didn’t get the pleasure of screaming in agony as things turned the way they did and I cannot even begin to tell you how shocked I was. Rarely have I ever been so caught off guard and in the best way possible (or the worst way depending on how you look at it).
In spite of how traumatized I was by the twist I adored how Melinda didn’t just end the book there. The epilogue was gorgeously written and the way it ended, instead of making me crave the sequel in the worst way possible, makes me want it even more because it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger. It ends on a certain hopeful note that will have your heart beating faster than normal and will leave you with a smile on your face even though you just endured traumatizing events.
The ending leaves the book complete and makes it so that it could be a stand alone (I am glad it isn’t one though). I want the sequel and while I am terrified of what Melinda might do and what else she might put us through, I want to see more of this world she has created and I want to spend more time with the characters I have come to love.
If you haven’t gotten the memo, what I need y’all to do when this book comes out is to stop, drop and roll. I mean read the book. I recommend this to lovers of fantasy and anyone who just wants to read a book that has high stakes.