**An copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**
How? HOW does this have such high ratings and favorable reviews? 'Cos this was so bad, you guys. Oh, I should have DNFed. There's an hour of my life I won't be getting back.
It started out, not promising perhaps, but not totally terrible, in a generic fantasy story marginally better written than if written by an average 12 year old sort-of way. And it continued in this vein for the next 350 pages or so, with the addition of about a bajillion hackneyed cliches, an honest to goodness Pixie Hollow (with accompanying names eg. Penelope Plumpleberry), and a terribad romance. Let's look at the story, noting some of the cliches, shall we??
(Okay, not all of this will be totally 100% chronological. I'm only human. And I was speed reading.)
Aurora, an orphan, lives with her horrid adoptive aunt and uncle and cousin. Her uncle sells her to some baddie, who takes Aurora to a magical land, where Aurora discovers she is not only royalty but has inherited both of her parent's powers; she is both a mage AND an immortal fey, the combination of which is practically unheard of. She is also literally the most powerful fey-mage since the bestest and most awesomeest fey-mage whose names escapes me but basically he was super important and powerful. Her aunt wants her dead so she can take over the throne with absolutely no competition from the true heir. (But the "true heir" was in an entirely different fricking WORLD before the aunt brought her to Avalonia.) She falls into Insta!love (she actually refers to him as the love of her life, and her soul mate *gag*) with the Black Wolf, a dashing tall dark and handsome dude who runs around the kingdom doing who knows what but he's got this big huge reputation and he is actually the crown prince in disguise (I didn't see that coming AT ALL) and a total smarmy ass-hat. Aurora can talk with Pegasi, and she has one named Snow, and every scene with those two was dripping in awful saccharine pretty princess Pegasus power hour writing. Aurora is sent to a magical boarding school to learn how to control her powers, and where she encounters an Avalonian version of Draco Malfoy named Damien Blackwater, if memory serves, who blathers on about his pure "bloodline", is a general twat, and whose family is secretly in cohoots with Morgana. (At which point, I was jabbing at the Ipad screen at the rate of probably 20 pages a minute, just scanning the pages, because I was pretty confident there was nothing worth reading past that.) Aurora moons over Rafe, and they make out a bit but it never seems like it comes from any place of actual affection and it's written TERRIBLY. (This, and what was going on plot wise, had started to induce groaning and facepalming.) And then I think we are learning more about this special book of Abraxis that Morgana wants so she can control Dragoth (who is a demon?? I forget) but there are four keys you need to open the book, and she only has one. And then Aurora is an idiot (see below) and opens a portal (to hell?????) and lets Lilith (...like....that Lilith???) into Avalonia, and I don't know, Lilith is gonna use Morgana as a host body, because her wraith form will dissipate or she's weak in wraith form, or something like that. And that's mostly the end.
Aurora is also incredibly stupid. She's on the run from people who want to kill her, but instead of trying to get to someone who can help her, she begs to stay in Pixie Hollow (or whatever it was called) to sightsee the fairy market. Which gets raided by the Shadow Guard and she gets captured. Aurora also decides NOT to tell on one of the girls at the boarding school who let the Shadow Guard in, and is basically a big fat traitor, because.....that would be...tattling??? Oh gosh, there were so many instances of her stupidity, but here's another goodie. Aurora is told that bringing Snow back to life would be "dark magic" aka VERY VERY HELLA BAD DON'T DO IT and she fricking does it, because she neeeeeds Snow back. Well, guess what, Aurora? I hope you're happy that you using dark magic opened a hell portal.
Anyways, up till the last 60 pages or so, it was pretty darn bad, but it would have probably gotten two stars, because it was basically just a poorly written generic fantasy amalgamation of tropes and tween dreams when you'd daydream in your backyard about secretly being magical royalty. It wasn't something I would ever recommend, but as a wee girl with very few standards I might have even enjoyed it. Until Aurora and Rafe's gag-o-matic tripe of a "romance" was two-sided, and the plot went completely haywire.
Also worth mentioning is that this reads VERY middle grade, from plot to characters to the writing style, but then some bits felt more like they belonged in a YA? I think maybe this is one of those weird little books that was meant and marketed as YA but comes off as extremely childish and MG.
Thank goodness it's finally over.