Top critical review
This book doesn't know what it wants to be when it grows up
August 25, 2019
I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. That annoys me, because this author can write. This should have been a much better book. Of course, I'm not the target audience, but I read a lot of YA, a lot of fantasy, & a lot of classic fiction. This story starts out GoT, morphs into a 19th century Du Maurier novel with a little bit of Victoria Holt romance thrown in, & ends up (as the author herself admits in the Acknowledgements) Silmarillion fan fic. I found it annoying. Pick a style and do it well. I suppose if you've never read 19th century literature, 20th century gothic romance, or Tolkien you might enjoy it. There is almost no world building, no explanation for the magic system, and absolutely no sexual tension between the heroic couple. Talia is, I'm sorry to say, very inept in her attempts to carry out her quest. It's so clear that she can't succeed without Wen, yet to the very end she is trying to leave him behind. I found that extremely annoying. There are massive holes in the explanation of the lineage, which is vital to the plot. For instance, why was Talia's mother drawn in by the magic at the slightest exposure to it, but not Wen's father who had lived with it all his life? Why were Wen's mother & stepmother affected by it when they were not part of the magical lineage but Caiden was not, though he was of the bloodline? These kinds of things make me crazy. However, the second half of the book is beautifully written. I can only imagine the author has honed her craft in her later novels, since she is clearly talented. I don't think I will take a chance on them, myself. If you do, I hope you enjoy.