Started: April 10, 2016
Finished: April 17, 2016
Rating: 3/5 stars
Actual rating: 3.25-ish
I have such mixed feelings about this book! And I’m not sure I’m going to be able to talk about them without revealing a lot of spoiler-y stuff, soo I’m going to hide the majority of this review.
I think the mixed feelings about this story started when Richelle Mead announced this book last year. At first glance I thought it sounded really interesting; fantasy, rich girl disguises herself to avoid an arranged marriage, exploring a new world, plus a gorgeous cover. Aaaand at the same time I was a bit “What’s this about new series? I’m still waiting for The Eye of Andromeda, can’t you please finish that instead?”
But of course I was still going to read it. It started off quite slow and it didn’t feel like a fantasy novel, as it had been described. I know that fantasy doesn’t have to involve heavy use of magic – I mean, look at The Winner’s Trilogy – but this felt a lot more like a late 1700s / early 1800s novel than a fantasy. The world building was just meh – after all it was literally just about taking the world we know and changing the names of the countries. Also the idea of a noblewoman running away from an arranged marriage to a place that earns its money by arranging marriages…… where’s the logic in that???
Then, as the story got going, I got back to what I really like about Richelle Mead’s stories; her characters. Not just Adelaide, but Tamsin, Mira, Cedric, Jasper, Warren, Clara… everyone is interesting to read about. Then came the romance, which wasn’t as good as in some of her other series but still good. So by the middle of the book I was kind of enjoying it again.
And then we got closer to the end and everything just became a jumble in my head. I really, really, really looked for a more fantasy-esq New World, where Cedric and Adelaide (after being discovered) go on the run and face strange creatures and people. But instead we were back to period drama and my mind went constantly to The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen, which held a lot of similar elements. The actual ending was good enough for me to feel that yes, I do want to read more, but I’m missing the feel of “old” Richelle Mead books, like Vampire Academy and Bloodlines and Age of X.
So, in conclusion, this was a disappointment. Still a good book, despite several plot holes, but if someone asked which book by Richelle Mead they should read first I would not recommend this one.