Top critical review
Reviewed in the United States on December 26, 2020
It started out promising but began to slide into awkward and stilted fairly quickly. The premise is pretty standard, but I liked the nagini aspect.
I found the MC to be dictatorial and fairly unlikable. She's not well filled out as a character, so it's hard to care about her. Secondary characters are equally thin, so conversations dead end almost constantly. The dialogue proved forceful but awkward. The phrasing and presentation disruptive. If one were to read the book aloud, I think they would find it jolting. It certainly was as I read it.
The romance is non existent. I like slow burn romances, so that's fine, but the MC's instant attraction slash fated mates thing was boring and somehow awkward. Their constant screaming at each other is maybe supposed to give an enemy to lovers feel but it fails by being childish and...you guessed it, awkward. They have the most awkward conversations and interactions. It applies to every interaction the MC has. And dear gods, when they aren't yelling they are whispering or mumbling or talking softly for no apparent reason. It stood out how many times those words were used to describe how something was said. No idea why since it was rarely appropriate for the scene.
From a plot standpoint, I think the book suffered from telling more than showing. The convenience of having a character to introduce to the supernatural world (the MC's love interest) became an excuse to share world building background. This might have worked if it had been layered in differently, or the phrasing adjusted. But honestly any background was thin and I don't feel like there was much more clarity at the end of the book than at the beginning. The world outside the immediate events is murky at best, so the book felt driven by the action. Instead of political machinations and clever scheming and unveiling, it's a scene by scene dash of action to get to a conclusion that's meh.
Ultimately, I'm not a fan and doubt I will read on. It's a shame as I had hoped it would be a good story with a lead character who is a woman of color. I haven't seen a lot of that in this genre to date.