Stand Alone // YA // Western Fantasy
This book even starts off with dealing with hard topics right away, not glossing over the fact that the main character sisters live in a brothel or one of them committed an accidental murder. Though this ended up less interesting than I thought it was going to be, the worldbuilding and intrigue, along with the characters figuring themselves out as the book goes on, makes this a worthwhile read.
I want to start talking about the interesting mystery around trust and traveling long distances with people they didn’t really know. Can you trust someone who has treated you badly their entire life? Can you trust someone who may betray you at any time for extraordinary rewards? I loved this feel the whole book, it added so much tension to an already fast-moving plot.
The setting is also insanely interesting. I loved the dystopian feel in a Western wilderness, with them traveling long distances over the course of this book in search of this book’s lore – a fairy tale that could save them. We actually learn a ton about this world she has created, meeting real people and encountering actual cities and places, which means the characters didn’t feel isolated from the world they live.
This brings us to the point that really drove me crazy the entire time. The characters could have been a deep, interesting, conflict-filled party. I am definitely not alone in loving the “found family” trope and this group of girls had all of the workings but none of the follow-through. I didn’t feel connected to any of them because of the writing in particular. There is no emotion words so we can’t really see their hearts. This, in turn, means they don’t read like real, living, people, which is a shame. I loved how these girls really supported each other, especially the sisters. Their journey is personal so I would have loved to feel connected to them.
The magic pieces were also not explained. Usually that is alright with me, but for some reason it felt like the explanation was missing, not un-explained. We heard a lot about their tattoos that can’t be covered and the guards which can drain energy and instill pain, but I don’t really know a single thing about how that fit into the world.
It was the plot that really was the best part. Maybe it’s just my love of action movies and my middle-grade heart that loves a non-stop plot with danger lurking around every corner, but I love it and this book had it. There were so many parts that got me excited or nervous, and that’s the best experience I could ask for.
Started: November 28th
Finished: December 13th
Read Time: 3h 28m over 5 days
Average pages/h: 100
Most pages read in one day: 116
Other December 2019 Reads:
The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis
The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh (DNF – may finish later)
Eight Will Fall by Sharah Harian (DNF – may finish later)
Darth Bane: Path of Destruction by Drew Karpyshyn
The Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-el