This book happend to keep me up until the wee hours, laser focused and transfixed. I'm not sure if it was the writing, the 3 cups of Jasmine black tea or my insomnia but I found it difficult to put down and then even more difficult to eject from my brain in order to let the sleep in. There were annoying parts a plenty... A voracious itch in my cozy reading space that refused to be satiated. This was mostly due to a drawn out, ferverous Hate to an All consuming, unyielding, unparalleled Love that blossomed in just 3 days. "I love her but does she love me? If she does I'll love her always but if she doesn't?!? I'll still love her. She does?..but she shouldn't, but she can't fight it, but she must..blah blah blah". It was sweet at times and the other times it was absolute torture to endure. There were a couple of plot twists that I was blindsided by...YAY!.. and a couple of easier ones to suss out...Meh. The story was told in a duo of dueling POVs. Both Kestra and Simon had unique voices so it was never necessary to flip back and forth in order to remember whose head we were in...especially since Simon's main concern was any and all things Kestra. Kestra on the other hand was a mess making, extremely pretentious turned slightly less pretentious though all around bull headed, wishy washy wet noodle (mainly on the Love front but still...), pain in the rear. I never fully got behind her no matter what her deal was at that moment, especially difficult to pull off since who/what she was changed so often. I wish I liked her better and was able to feel/experience along side her but alas, I found myself stuck between an obnoxious wreck of an MC and a whiny/pining lump of a supporting MC hence the lower rating even though it kept my attention quite handily. The story was interesting BUT, in my most humble of opinions, you've got nothing if you don't have at least one character you can really align yourself with and this bunch?!? They earned a big NOPE from me.
3 stars for the plot BUT the character woes, insta-love mess and overall sense of Meh it cultivated in me lead me to penalize the rating and ultimately wish I had skipped this one. Book #2, Traitor's Heart, is definitely not in my future.
~~~~3.25 - 3.5 Stars~~~~
This book was a mixed bag of uuuwww interesting...no wait booooo... yawn....no wait MEH... no wait YAY!! Confused? I was too but I'll elaborate.
I loved the MCs voice through and through! His attitude and delivery of witty quips was perfectly executed and fun to read.
The mission? Try and turn one of three 14 year old (illiterate?), uncouth orphans into a long lost prince in 2 weeks time in order to seize control of a recently vacated throne. Wellll....it turns out that making a prince is slow, tedious and oft times a chore to read about. The storyline wasn't boring per se but it felt like I was working...working on my patience/ concentration levels.
I know this book was very well received but, for me, I was ready to start skimming before the halfway mark (definitely NOT a good sign!). I have so many tantalizing books on my formidable TBR pile that wasting time on a read that has gone sour just feels wrong. BUUUUT I soldiered on. At about the 70% mark things picked up and even though the twists weren't entirely surprising, it unfolded brilliantly. I really enjoyed the main reveal and how all of the subsequent events played out. From page 1 Sage (prince Jaron??) felt visceral and his attitude towards possibly sitting on the throne (with the weight of carrying a country soon to be at war on his shoulders) not only felt genuine but congruant with who he was from start to finish. This will go down as one of THOSE books...you know the type...the ones that draw you in and then somewhere in the middle test your resolve to see things through to the acknowledgments page and then BAM!! You're suddenly as happy as a thoroughly petted pup that you chose to persevere because it was one of THOSE books that come through (shining big sunny literary smiles) in the home stretch....GASP...end of run on rambling!!
I definitely ended up enjoying this book more than I thought I would but not LOVING it as much as most.
I'll update this post with my final review once I've finished/quit the book. But before then I just have to say I wish Nielsen were more patient with her story and with her readers. She explains too much too early and it's getting worse with every book.
Ugh, I got bored in the middle and just skimmed to the end. A disappointing, but not unexpected, ending to the trilogy.
I cannot stop comparing this series to The Queen's Thief, which is really not fair to these books since the Queen's Thief series is better than most everything out there.
Like The False Prince The Runaway King is compulsively readable. But I wasn't that into the story. Again it takes a loooong time to get going. And then too much of the story felt coincidental. Like, oh this person just happened to show up now, and I just happened to roll under a convenient plot device, and I did all this physically impossible stuff but yeah, let's have another sword fight.
The series could use some more women. Imogen is the best one but she's also pretty much the only one. Where are the lady pirates? Where are the lady thieves? Please develop the lady regents that were mentioned once in The False Prince.
Also this series is cataloged as both children's and teen's fiction at my library (separate locations), so now I'm confused if it's MG or YA and worried that a love triangle is coming. I'm tired of love triangles. I don't care.