This review was written by a guest blogger! Enjoy!
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.
However, it’s not so simple.
The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
This book confuses me. On one hand, it was very cliché and felt like a million other stories that I’ve already read. But on the other hand, I was very intrigued by the ending and while there were cringey parts, a found some of the writing very good. So let’s talk.
Cohen is… well. I like his name? Here’s the thing about this book. It fell flat for me in a ton of areas. The writing, while delicious at times, almost felt like middle grade writing in the sense that it felt sort of young (though there were purposefully sexual scenes and kissing).
I found the worldbuilding to feel very one dimensional in the sense that the only places that really felt semi-real were the places visited in the book. I didn’t get much of a solid sense from the rest of the storyworld.
And also, our main character, Britta, has just lost her father, but her grief is, at best, minimal. Sure, most of the story is based on the revenge she needs and there are some scenes with her grief, but for the most part it seems like a plot device and I don’t care a ton for it. As someone who has lost a family member, I just don’t see my own grief relating to hers. I do understand that everyone grieves differently, but it just… It fell flat for me! Also Britta herself didn’t motivate me as a reader. I found her kind of annoying.
We have talked about this for many books, and it all circles back to the cliché aspects of the story, one of which is A FREAKING DUEX MACHINA. NO NO NO. If there was anything that could have rescued this story for me, it would have been NO DUEX MACHINA. I’ve said this many times. I am not a fan of Duex Machinas. At all. No. Do not give me a story with a duex machina unless you’re my best friend and you know it’s one of the rare ones I can actually tolerated without wanting to barf. LET THE CHARACTER DIE.
So moving on. The kissing in this was actually really good. xP Though I felt like the romance kind of took over the story a little and the sexually-charged scenes seemed a little… like every other one I’ve read? There was of course the classic “love interests stay in Inn and oh no! there’s only one bed” which I enjoyed in other books but didn’t really enjoy here.
So I guess for me this story fell flat. (and I didn’t even talk about ENAT y’all). I found it cliché, one dimensional, and a little “ughhhh”. However, I did kind of like the last paragraph so I’ll probably read the next book.
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