Top critical review
Potentially good, but ultimately okay
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on October 28, 2013
I admit that after seeing the cover and reading the blurb, I was greatly encouraged to read this novel. However, I'm sorry to say that I don't have many positive things to report on its behalf.
To be fair, this book isn't horrible by any stretch. The writing is decent and so is the premise. It falls short with characterization and pacing most of all. My main issue is that I just don't like or care about Verity or Dominic.
I chalk this up to a couple of different issues: (1) despite the novel being told from Verity's point of view, I still don't feel like I know her. I know her qualities, but it's like reading the back of a baseball card. She's just not the kind of heroine I can get behind. She's supposed to be sassy and quick witted, but I often just found her to be cocky and rude. This may be intentional, but she has such a haughty, unapologetic voice that I couldn't connect with her on any kind of personal level. Furthermore, I feel like I don't truly understand her values and what's important to her underneath. For instance, I know she loves dancing and I know she wants to protect the cryptids, but that's all through telling. I don't see her values through her actions because she's so petty and argumentative throughout the novel. I think it's because the focus is mainly geared towards proving that she's a sexy bad ass that I can't see anything below the surface. I don't feel her heart coming through in most of her actions. She's got quite a lot of Mary Sue characteristics, and that's coming from someone who really doesn't care for that term because it's overused. However, in this case, Verity kind of fits more than she doesn't: she has an unusual name, she's beautiful, she's powerful, she comes from a family of successful cryptozoologists, she always has a witty one liner prepared, and she's generally pretty fearless. There aren't enough layers to her to keep me coming back for more.
Dominic is the same way. I was hoping to get to know him, but the plot just glosses right over him in favor of pushing forward from place to place. He came across as a very bland, run-of-the-mill type love interest, and while there was plenty of friction, there wasn't enough build up to Verity and Dominic's roll in the hay, so to speak. They just sort of did it and it was way too soon considering that they were both on opposite sides and they saved each other, but they hardly ever talked or built a solid relationship. It felt forced to me.
(2) The pacing is all over the place. Sometimes it feels rushed while other times there are pages and pages of exposition that drag it down to a crawl. It's very uneven and can cause some whiplash if you're not careful.
Overall, it's not bad per se, but for me, it was rather disappointing because there's definitely something worth exploring here and yet I don't want to continue reading the series because I'm so unattached to the main character.