I’m writing this full of regret. I’m usually pretty positive, and very generous with what I review and how I review. I really enjoy almost every book I read, and it’s really hard for me to not give at least four stars.
But today, dear reader, I have something to tell you. Something hard for me to admit. Something that I hope never happens to you… I’ve found a DNF.
I try so hard to power through, because there have been a lot of cases where the beginnings are slow and then in the middle it picks up and ends up being such a great read that I’m glad I endured the pain. It’s happened with Rebel of the Sands, A Crown of Wishes, Six of Crows… They start out slow, but it’s world building, and then BAM, you can’t put them down.
In the last two years I’ve only found two books that I couldn’t get through. One of them was High Fidelity, but that’s a whole other story. And the second was this book.
This book, this book with a beautiful cover... this book is the first book I haven’t finished this year. The description was full of promise, full of hope. I mean it literally talks about there being an assassin and “assassin” is one of my buzz words, guys. I am ALL ABOUT THEM ASSASSINS. But this book totally failed to deliver.
The writing for me is lazy. There are points in this book where she sums up conversation instead of using dialogue. Normally this doesn’t bother me, as long as it’s done well. But this just felt lazy, and it made the scenes drag.
Speaking of dragging, literally NOTHING happens in this book. I’ve read 200 pages, and they’re stuck in this village and Lia does nothing but whine and complain about how hard her life was and how rotten of a childhood she has had. Like I actually found myself skipping entire pages just to get to dialogue, that’s how bad this is. There was nothing worth note in this book.
Which stinks because this book had SO MUCH POTENTIAL. There was so much that could have been executed so much better, and I feel like if she had edited it and made it flow and find a way to make it well-paced, it would have been much easier, and much more enjoyable to read.
Within two chapters the assassin (Rafe? Kaden? Do we ever actually find out?) and the prince (Rafe? Kaden? Do we ever actually find out?) find Lia? Like I just don’t get that? If anything, that should have been the climax of the book. Especially when the author already splits up the book into different points of view. Like give the guys a little bit of an adventure. Give the prince challenges for goodness sake.
You’ve got a map in the front of the book, tell us about the other cultures. Throw the guys into different lands and tell us about them. Or, give LIA the adventure. Have them hot on her trail the whole time. Give us an ensemble. With a map and a new world: USE IT. World build ffs. Give us something, literally anything. I need MORE. More of the world, less of the stupid stuff.
Even the interjections between chapters of their folklore and Holy texts seem out of place. I don’t know. It just. It’s lacking. All of it is lacking.
Like Rafe and Kaden (the assassin? The prince? The prince? The assassin? Do we ever find out?) literally show up at this tavern and are like “Lol what’s up, bro? Are you travelling? ME TOO LETS BE BEST FRIENDS!!” LITERALLY WITHIN FIFTY PAGES LIKE WTH GIVE THEM SOME CONFLICT. Not to mention they’re destined to be part of a love triangle. Like I’ve had enough of that noise. Please, authors, stop with the love triangles.
Give us a badass female lead who doesn’t need no man. Or give us a badass female lead with a dopey sidekick who ends up stealing her heart in the very end. I don’t care. Just STOP with the love triangles. I’m OVER it.
Plus, the only deception is that they don’t tell each other that they’re royal and an assassin. Like what the heck?
Not to mention there is next to no character description so you can barely tell them apart. They’re written so similarly, and have such similar personalities there is nothing to distinguish them. AND we never even learn their names?
Like they both introduce themselves to Lia, but it’s almost like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, because you have no idea how to know who is who. And then, even the subheadings of the chapters go from Kaden to Rafe to the Assassin to the Prince and literally the entire time I’ve been reading this I have been like “wtf is actually happening?” In the Assassin chapters, no one ever calls him by name so you’re never sure who is who. It’s the same in the Prince chapters.
And don’t even get me going on Pauline and Lia and the others in this book. Pauline thinks the sun shines out of Lia’s ass and it makes me so angry. Lia, I don’t even think Lia is a three-dimensional character because there is nothing about her that is interesting. Like there isn’t even a single trait I can think of to describe her. She’s boring. She’s bland.
And then it only takes a month for her brother to find her? A brother we’ve only heard by name before? Like there is nothing said about him. We hardly even get introduced to him in a good way.
There’s so much of this book that didn’t need to be there. It’s like 486 pages of confusion and frustration, and the main character isn’t even someone I can root for. Please, for the love of all things holy, don’t read this book.
Another thing that annoys me is that it tries to sell itself as a high-concept fantasy. If you want a good high-concept fantasy, pick up something by Sarah J. Maas, Reneé Ahdieh, or literally ANYONE ELSE. This is a poorly written romance at best. The only deception is how this book sells itself and then fails miserably to be what you’re expecting.
Hopefully next time, I’ll have better news for you, but for now: save yourself the pain, and don’t pick it up.