The writing is pretty, and the story is imaginative. The problem for me is that the characters are just a bit too flat and underdeveloped to be truly interesting. It’s not that I’m not interested at all. It’s just that I wanted so much more from everyone. They needed to be a little less “caricature” –like, the good girl, the bad boy, the pretty flirt, the abusive father, etc. I also really wanted the relationships between characters to be deeper and more faceted.
It does remind me a bit of Night Circus, which definitely isn’t a mark in its favor, as I had similar complaints with that story. I could have done with less fancy sentences and just a bit more depth in characters and relationships. I needed more than just the surface level stuff and the major plot points.
Also, despite the overabundance of description in this story, I felt like it was light on actual world building. I had a lot of description but not enough about the actual world and how everything within it worked and why.
Again, I still gave it 4 stars, so I found many other things interesting and charming about this story. It just didn’t live up to its full potential, at least, not for me. I’m not sure if I will continue on and read book 2 or not. I guess I have a year to figure that out.