Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for allowing me to review an advanced copy of this book. I apologize for the delay in reading and reviewing this book. I have been ill this year.
This book started out on a great note. It was fascinating, exciting, and dramatic, for those first few chapters. It showed such promise that I couldn’t wait to read what came next, and the magic system had me absolutely captivated. Unfortunately, after that, the plot faltered, the characters meandered, and it was mostly a downhill slide for me.
I think I had my heart set on a truly epic dark fantasy novel, in the vein of Leigh Bardugo, and this just couldn’t touch that level of writing or world building. Instead, I got a rather tedious story about political betrothal with completely undeveloped side characters and way too much telling and backstory, primarily delivered through the dialogue. Because the dialogue was often used as a tool for telling, that impacted the character development, especially in regards to personality.
Basically, with the exception of the start of the novel and a few moments at the end of the novel, the plot lacks intrigue, and the action scenes aren’t enough to hold it together, since the storytelling lacks suspense and emotional resonance. I probably should have stopped reading, since I became more and more frustrated and disappointed the longer that I read, but I kept on, since the magic system was of interest to me. I kept hoping that everything would arrive, all at once, but that never really happened. It had short moments of promise, and then it would lapse back into telling me what to think, feel, or know, instead of just showing me and allowing me to make my own judgments.
The world building was also a bit weak for me, but that may be because it’s hard to settle into the world building, considering the issues with the writing and storytelling. On some level, I’m very interested in this world, even though I didn’t love this novel, and I’m not sure I really understood the complexity of this world, based on the delivery.
This book might be ideal for the types of fantasy readers who care more about concept and magic system than overall storytelling. There’s a small part of me that wonders if with time, and/or future books, this could grow into something amazing. For me, it’s just not there yet.