Hmm. Well, I suppose I'm glad I finished this series, as I would have been curious about how exactly it was going to end if I hadn't. My main issue, tHmm. Well, I suppose I'm glad I finished this series, as I would have been curious about how exactly it was going to end if I hadn't. My main issue, though, is that there are still so many questions that are left unanswered. It seems like that was done by design, but I still find it annoying.
Since I can't talk about what questions were answered and what weren't without spoiling things, I will keep everything behind a spoiler tag. Don't read unless you've finished this book (or want to be spoiled). (view spoiler)[
So, Thomas, Brenda, Minho, and the rest of the 200 immune survivors escape (by design of the newCreators) and restart their lives in this glorious land where nothing is ruin and there are mountains and ocean and forest and nothing is ruined and everything is perfect. Am I getting that right? Where exactly is this glorious Heaven? It sounds like the Olympic peninsula, but how is it possible that an area only a few states north of Colorado would be fine when Denver is such a Crank-infested mess? Wouldn't Seattle be the same? Maybe the peninsula is isolated enough that it survived relatively unscathed? Seems a little bogus to me, but whatever.
Teresa's death felt a little pointless. By that point in the story, Thomas didn't trust her enough for me to really care if she survived, other than it would have been nice to hear what memories she'd acquired that made her realize that WICKED was, in fact, not good. But instead of getting an explanation, we got Teresa squished by a rock and Thomas not even able to really say goodbye to her because he has to escape the collapsing building. I actually had to re-read that scene, because the first time through, it barely hit me. Suddenly, I thought, "Wait, did Teresa just die? I think she did. Huh."
The only death that really made an impact on me was Newt's, mostly because he was one of the few people Thomas trusted the whole time, but also because Minho was so affected by his death. Minho had a pretty tough exterior most of the time, but when it came down to it, Newt had been one of his closest friends for the past 2 years, and it was hard for him accept that, by some random twist of fate, Newt was the only one of them that wasn't immune to the Flare. It didn't seem fair. As for Newt's desire to die before becoming a crank, before getting past the Gone, it makes sense in a way. He knew there wasn't going to be a magical cure; he knew what he would eventually become; he knew he didn't want to end up that way. What I don't get is why it was necessary for Thomas to have to kill Newt, and why Newt was so mad that Thomas hadn't opened his mysterious note sooner and killed him before he was taken to Crankville. Couldn't Newt have just killed himself? He was going to be dead either way, and now Thomas is going to have to live with the nightmare of having Newt attack him, and the memory of having to shoot him in the head. Maybe Newt figured that memory was a small price to pay for getting to survive through the nightmare? Regardless of the reasoning, it's probably a smart idea that Thomas never tell Minho that he was the one to kill Newt. It's probably a smart idea if they never talk about Newt again.
Brenda's role in this whole thing is also curious. Even though Thomas trusts her, I never really felt the trust, or felt that connected to her. She kept telling him, "even though I met you because of my job, my feelings for you are real," but is that even the truth? We find out in the end that Brenda and Jorge were planted with Thomas and the others as a failsafe, to get them to the Promised Land and start another life if necessary. So their defection from WICKED to Team Thomas was all part of the plan, right? And so was Brenda's whole relationship with Thomas? Or no? That's another frustrating thing that's up in the air, and a question that will never be answered.
And of course, unsurprisingly, we find out that the government was behind the release of the Flare virus, a poor attempt at population control after the sunflares damaged so much of the planet. That's really not that shocking considering all the other stuff they and WICKED did. To a BUNCH OF KIDS, I remind you. (hide spoiler)]
In the end, I enjoyed reading this series. It was fast-paced and had some interesting action. Where it fails, and where it disconnects for me, is in the character development. The characters were too matter-of-fact and two-dimensional, and I didn't end up caring much about any of them. There were a few highlights, but really, I should have cared about Thomas and Teresa and Brenda and Chuck and the others just as much as, if not more than, I cared for Minho. As a result, it didn't really matter to me that the global population had died out, and that there were basically left with about 200 people to re-populate the world. That is a massive tragedy, but I didn't really feel it.
I'm very interested in seeing the movie of this series, the first one of which comes out in September. A lot of the things that annoyed me from the book (lack of character development) can easily be fixed in a movie adaptation with a good script and good acting, and the action parts I liked should play out really well in a visual context. This may be one of the rare occasions where I can truly say that I prefer the movie to the book. I'm looking forward to it!...more
I definitely liked this book in the series better than first. It's possible I've just gotten to know the characters more and care about them, or maybeI definitely liked this book in the series better than first. It's possible I've just gotten to know the characters more and care about them, or maybe I read this one faster and was engaged more, or maybe it just had more action and less sit-around-and-wait mystery. Actually, it's probably that last one.
There's still a lot that is confusing. Although we've learned more about Thomas before he entered the maze, and we know how important he is to the creators (who we now know aren't even the original creators, but ones trained by Thomas and friends), there is still a lot we don't know.
There are so many things I don't understand. Why was it so important that Thomas feel betrayed by Teresa? What could that have possibly done that would change anything? How were she and Aris so convincing, too?
Also, Brenda. Was she really just a rando they happened to run into in the City, or was she planted by WICKED? Did she really talk into Thomas' mind, or was that part if his dream? The guy on the Berg seemed to be surprised to see her and Jorge, but we've learned that things aren't always what they seem, and you can't trust anything.
The problem with this is that it leaves us as readers hanging in limbo. Usually you can at leave trust your narrator to reliably tell his experience, but even Thomas' perspective is suspect, when there is so much he doesn't remember or understand. Add to that he has no idea who to trust, and you have us completely confused and lost.
The only conclusion I've come to is this: Thomas is important. They wouldn't have saved his life of he wasn't, and he wouldn't have been separated from the rest of the group at the end if he wasn't.
Now, in the last book, it's time for all the questions to be answered. How exactly is the world ending? How can any of these kids possible help? What was the point of the trials? Why were they necessary? How was Thomas involved or responsible? (hide spoiler)]
Now that the final book is here, I expect answers. Right now, the only person I love and trust and care about is Minho, because that guy has proven time and time again that he is brave, bold, and doesn't take crap from anyone. It's time for the rest of characters, including Thomas, to prove that they are worth my time and emotions.
And if they kill off Minho, or he ends up being a traitorous jerk, I'm going to be pissed. PISSED....more
Another book set in the same world as The Giver, Messenger focuses on Matty, Kira's little buddy from Gathering Blue. Matty has moved to the village aAnother book set in the same world as The Giver, Messenger focuses on Matty, Kira's little buddy from Gathering Blue. Matty has moved to the village and been adopted by Kira's father, Seer. Once a place where everyone was accepted with open arms, recently the villagers have become harsh and selfish, as has the forest that surrounds it, which seems to have a life of its own. Matty has always had a special relationship with the forest, but that's changing, too. Everything has become more malevolent, and there are few beacons of hope. Matty has recently discovered his own gift for healing, but it still makes no sense to him. When the villagers decide to close the village, he sets off through the now unfriendly forest to bring back Kira to her father.
The book also features Leader, aka Jonas from The Giver. His special gift of Seeing Beyond has allowed him to wisely lead the village so far, but he doesn't have the power to fight back against the evil that has taken over.
Sadly, the only person who can heal their world and turn back the tides of evil is Matty. (view spoiler)[It doesn't seem fair that out of everyone, funny, loving Matty had to sacrifice himself to save their world from the darkness that was taking over. I couldn't believe that he was actually dead, even as Kira was crying over his body, and Leader was picking him up to carry back home. Yes, he died a hero, but he still died. (hide spoiler)] It all just makes no sense. What was the evil that turned the forest and the people? What did the Trade Mart have to do with it all? What about the Trader?
Much of this end was unsatisfying. Pretty much the only solace I have is that Kira and Leader might get to be together, but even that is a cold comfort. Bummer....more
This book was hilarious from the very first page. There were some points where I honestly couldn't stop laughing. If you're a fan of television, sci-fThis book was hilarious from the very first page. There were some points where I honestly couldn't stop laughing. If you're a fan of television, sci-fi tv shows, and Star Trek in particular, you are pretty much guaranteed to love this book.
When Andy Dahl gets transfered to the almighty Intrepid, Flagship of the Fleet, he quickly realizes that something strange is going on. Not only are people dying faster than expected and in ridiculous ways, certain officers always seem to be around when those deaths happen, and always seem to survive. He's not the only one: most of the long-time staff of the ship know to avoid those particular officers at all costs, and thus make the newly-transfered ensigns the cannon fodder on all the strange and inexplicably dangerous away missions.
The problem is the Narrative. Every time the Narrative takes control, people and things start behaving irrationally and improbably, sometime even ignoring the laws of physics. I loved that the characters were often self-aware at these times, but couldn't stop themselves, like when the fourth part of Andy's brain was telling him to run and scream a lot, and so he did. The idea of the Box was hilarious, too. A plot device that was ridiculously simple, but did the complex Science you needed in exactly the time you needed it by to save the day. Once Andy and his friends, with the help of the recluse Jenkins, figure out what they think is going on, they work out a plan to try and stop their inevitable deaths. They use the Narrative to make sure they survive and go back in time to try and stop the show. Of course, hijinx ensue back on Earth in 2012 when they run into the actors that play them on tv.
Beyond the hilarity, though, lies truth. Andy and the rest of the Intrepid crew were fighting for the chance to decide their own lives, instead of living out some life and death prescribed by writers that don't really care if they die, as long as they serve to promote the drama of the story. Everyone is going to die one day, but those deaths should mean something.
What they also learn, as do the 2012 earth people like Matthew, Nick, and Samantha, is that You only have one life to live, and no amount of second-guessing is going to make that life any better. Step out in faith and make decisions. Choose to be happy. Or choose to be sad, for that matter; all that really matters is that you make a choice.
The "science" behind this all is laughable, but that's kind of the point. How is it possible for a fictional TV show to impact a real world in a different timeline? No one can know. And how is it possible for people from that different timeline to travel back not only in time but to that other timeline, to convince the show's writers and producers to stop treating death so frivolously? Does it really matter? The writers made it so, and so it is true.
The only part I still don't really get is when Andy and Jimmy are talking at the end and Andy is insisting that he, Maia, Finn, and Jasper are the REAL main characters, not Abernathy and Kerensky, and it's not really about real people in a fictional TV show.
I think I just got it.
(view spoiler)[He's saying that the writer of the BOOK has been writing and dictating their lives for them, and the reason why Andy was chosen to survive and saved so many times from near death was because he is the book's protagonist. Tricky tricky! And clearly true! (hide spoiler)]
Wow. My mind is literally spinning because I just figured that out while writing this review. I really like what Jimmy says to Andy, though: "Whether you're an extra or a hero, this story is about to end. When it's done, whatever you want to be will be up to you and only you. It will happen away from the eyes of any audience and from the hand of any writer. You will be your own man... If I had to guess, I'd guess that your creator would say to you that he would want you to live happily ever after."
**spoiler alert** There is no way to talk about this book without spoilers, so I'm going to go ahead and mark this entire review as spoilerific, which**spoiler alert** There is no way to talk about this book without spoilers, so I'm going to go ahead and mark this entire review as spoilerific, which I never do. If you clicked that link, and you're still reading this, then you know what you're in for, and can't get mad at me for ruining things later!
Amy Elliot Dunne fooled me completely. The first half of the book was fascinating, because the dueling perspectives had me sympathizing with both Nick and Amy. Nick seemed like a slightly dumb but well-meaning guy who was genuinely confused as to why his wife was suddenly missing. Even throughout all the reveals, of the girlfriend, and wanting a divorce but not wanting to ask for it, it didn't seem like he had it in him to actually kill Amy. From her diary entries, Amy seemed like a sweet girl, one who loved her husband, but as time went by, felt they were slowly drifting apart. When she started to describe Nick as someone she was afraid of, it threw me for a loop, because I just never got that impression of him. But I had really started to like Amy through her diary, and I wanted to believe her, even if it didn't necessarily feel real.
And then, the truth came. Amy wasn't dead. Amy wasn't who she claimed to be in those false diary entries. Amy knew everything, and Amy was going to make Nick pay for not being the dream husband she wanted him to be, for dragging her out to Missouri, for finding a younger girl to adore him. The more we got to know the real Amy, the more psychotic she appeared. Born to different parents, it's possible Amy would have turned out a well-adjusted kid, but instead, she had over-achieving parents who always subconsciously pressured her to be the AMAZING kid they wrote about in their books. She alone carried their hopes and dreams on her back, and that was too much pressure. Her parents wanted her to be the perfect person, but in return, she couldn't figure out who she was at all, so she just went around pretending to be the person she thought everyone wanted her to be.
When Amy and Nick got together, it was just a perfect storm of neither knowing who they were or particularly liking themselves, and suddenly finding this other person who appears perfect on the surface, and seems to make them become that perfect person they always wanted to be themselves. Of course, when that illusion was impossible to sustain, they both fell apart in their own ways. Nick became angry and withdrawn, eventually distancing himself from Amy and trying to find his way back to a simpler, easier life, without difficulties or challenges. Amy became resentful, especially when she saw Nick picking someone else over her, and turned into a self-righteous avenger, determined to "punish" Nick for not treating her right. It was a pattern that Nick eventually discovered from her past, as well: if you don't treat Amy the way she thinks she deserves, if you somehow become more well-liked than she was, she will make sure you are punished for that. She will set things up so that you look like the crazy one, and she comes across as the innocent victim. She did it was Desi and Hilary in high school, she did it with Tommy and the rape charges right around the time she met Nick.
Of course, the problem is that there is no proof. Amy is smart and good at planning, and always has an extra backup, and extra contingency plan, to make sure that she ends up on top. Even when she was robbed in the redneck motel, she still figured out a back-up: devoted Desi, who was obsessed with her and would always rescue her and keep her secret. And when that back-up went wrong, and Desi turned out to be a little crazy, too, she figured out another escape route, one that would lead her back to the life she wanted, where she would have beautiful Nick again, and this time he would be the perfect husband.
For much of the book, I liked Nick and sympathized with him. Yes, he cheated on his wife, for a long time. He was a cowardly man, and doesn't really deserve sympathy. Except for one fact: he ended up with Amy for a wife. Despite the fact that Amy thought she was blameless, and Nick was guilty and deserved to pay for his crimes, Nick really did get the short end of that stick. Even if Nick had tried to break free at the end, there was no way of knowing what Amy would do to him. She had proven that she would go to any length to "win" their game, and in the end, Nick gave up. In the end, it was easier to try and be the man Amy wanted then to fight his way out and live in fear.
In the end, it isn't really whether Nick and Amy are happy together, because their lives and emotions aren't as straightforward as that. In a sense, they are happy, because I don't think they could live without each other. Even if they think they are just pretending most of the time, sometimes the act eventually becomes real, if you repeat it long enough. Plus, it's not like either of them is blameless in their relationship (though I think it's pretty obvious that Amy is the MOST crazy one). But with Amy having a baby, they at least have something else to focus on: Amy has a way of making sure Nick never leaves, and never reveals the truth about her, and Nick has a purpose in life. He has to make sure that baby feels loved, to make sure that Amy doesn't screw up anyone else's life. It's not going to be easy. All I can do is shake my head and say, "Glad that's not my life."
I found this book to be pretty entertaining. I'm not really good at seeing twists coming, so I was totally surprised when Real Amy revealed herself. It also doesn't bother me if there aren't any other twists. I was pretty sure Amy was going to come back at some point, because how else could she prove that she beat Nick? What I didn't expect was that without any real proof, Nick would be forced to stay with her. I also didn't expect the pregnancy. I was pretty sure Amy never wanted to have a kid, because how could she be the center of attention then, but I can see why it made sense for her to go that route, in order to maintain the lifestyle she wanted. I was engaged and entertained, and Amy is definitely a character that sticks with you, whether you love her or hate her. She is Amazing, after all....more
Inside this book is a world of mystery that readers are easily sucked into. The Roaring 20s are a perfect backdrop for all the creepy crawly monstersInside this book is a world of mystery that readers are easily sucked into. The Roaring 20s are a perfect backdrop for all the creepy crawly monsters and magic that are such a big part of this universe. A key part of this is the excellent world building by Libba Bray, who manages to create an intricate and interesting world for us to inhabit. I will say, though, I wish there was less confusion regarding the exactly nature of that world for us as readers. More specifically, I want to know the rules regarding magic in this world, how characters can interact with it both positively and negatively, and the possible consequences for those interactions. But maybe I'm asking too much from the first book in a series? :)
The strongest part of this book, however, is the complex characters. Though Evie is clearly the prime protagonist, the shifting perspective allowed us to get to know the other characters as well. Even the most simpleminded character had hidden depths of sadness, pain, or rage. They are allowed to make mistakes, say stupid things, and still have compassion and heart. Evie can seem like a dumb, devil-may-care, flighty girl who only thinks of herself. That might be partly true, but a lot of her excesses stem from wanting to escape her own head, her memories, her loss. Yes, Evie wants to be rich and famous, living the good life in Manhattan, but she would trade all that for a chance to see her brother, James, again.
The rest of the characters are equally intriguing. Jericho is the strong, silent, and occasionally boring hero, who ends up being more than meets the eye (view spoiler)[when his childhood sickness and subsequent crazy-experiment-mechanized-insides are revealedthe mother that he lost, long presumed dead by all but him. She clearly also had powers of some sort, so I'm curious as to what her connection is to Evie's Uncle Will (hide spoiler)]. Theta is another girl who could have come across as vain and self-centered, with her singing, dancing, and quest for fame. In reality, Theta's life is more accurately about (view spoiler)[survival: she survived a childhood in which she was abandoned and then raised on the road; she survived a drunken and violent young husband; she survived living hungry on the streets; she survived a crazy ghost trying to murder her to fulfill a dark ritual. Of course, the thing that scares her most is also what helped her in her most panicked moments: the strange power that comes out of her hands. It is maybe heat, maybe fire, but it somehow melted a door open and I suspect it also killed that abusive husband (hide spoiler)]. Memphis is an attractive, smooth-talking guy, but he has the soul of a poet, and a history that includes (view spoiler)[an absent father, a gifted brother, a dead mother, and a power to heal that left him when he needed it most, and didn't return until it was absolutely necessary (hide spoiler)]. Evie's best friend, Mabel, seems a little sheltered. Her most identifying characteristics are her activist parents, whom she can parrot at will, and her obsession with Jericho, who is clearly not interested in her. Henry, Theta's best friend, also has some sort of power, though the nature of it is still mostly a mystery. There are other random characters that we've been barely introduced to, but will likely play bigger roles in future books.
The shifting perspective I mentioned earlier also allowed us to see all pieces of the puzzle before any of the characters could. In fact, there is still a lot that we know that they don't, and that itself can be very frustrating. These characters trend toward being particularly secretive. If they would all just get together and share their knowledge, they wouldn't all feel so lost and confused. Many of them share the same dream of the man in the stovepipe hat, and even if no one really can figure out what it means, at least they would feel less alone. There is already proof that knowing someone is going through the same thing as you bonds you together: Theta and Memphis, Evie and Jericho. Both of these couples were already feeling an attraction, but the knowledge of shared mysteries drew them even closer together.
The character that frustrated me the most is Evie's Uncle Will. Will clearly knows something about what is going on with their powers, yet he refuses to share any of that information or experience. His insistence that Evie return to Ohio is ridiculous and dangerous. Through her work on the John Hobbs case, Evie more than earned right to stay, and I don't blame her for (view spoiler)[going public with her powers to the reporters in an attempt to cement her place in the city. For a person who kept insisting that Evie keep her object-reading ability a secret, Will let her spill the beans quite easily. If Will had said, "It's ok, you can stay," Evie never would have mentioned it to the reporters. (hide spoiler)]
I enjoyed the creepy danger of the main murder mystery in the story. I listened to the majority of this book in car, and at times, I found myself clutching wheel in anticipating, or gasping out loud. The first time Evie went in the house, I was so afraid Hobbs was going to be inside, and when they were racing to the theater to save Theta, I just kept saying, "Not Theta. Not Theta, Not Theta." John Hobbs is truly evil, and Evie is truly heroic, full of bravery and spirit. (view spoiler)[I don't know of many 17 year old girls who could have faced off with a ghost-killer and had the quick wits and fortitude to actually stop him. Of course, even as Hobbs was being defeated, we were reminded that we don't really know what's going on. Most of the book, I was thinking that the big evil that was coming was just Hobbs, trying to bring about the apocalypse. But right before he vanished, he implied that there was a bigger bad on the way, and that big bad had something to do with Evie's brother James, who supposedly had been killed in the war. (hide spoiler)]
There are so many unanswered questions: (view spoiler)[Who is man in stovepipe hat? When the old ladies that live in the Bennington said, "they are coming," who are they actually referring to? It's clearly not John Hobbs. Sidenote: poor kitty! I'll never look at old cat ladies the same way. Where do the "gifts" come from? What is their purpose? Why are there so many more ghost sightings lately? How are the Diviners all connected? What is the mysterious danger ahead? Is James even dead? When will Will spill the beans about Project Buffalo? What exactly is Project Buffalo? Is the name that Sam got in the bar of the person he should ask about his mother actually Will's name? Or someone else they know? (hide spoiler)]
As much as I enjoy a good love story, I appreciate that this book wasn't all about the romance. It was mentioned every once in a while, but never really focused on. Romantic relationships developing were treated in a manor similar to plantonic relationships developing, and that is something I wish we saw more of. It was sweet to see the relationship between Evie and Jericho slowly develop, from "what a bore" to "I like him, but not that way" to "I want to run my hands over his chest and please don't let him die." Sam is a fun guy, and has hidden depths, but Jericho seems like the steadfast, solid presence Evie needs to help ground her. There are going to be some big issues with that relationship, though. (view spoiler)[Mabel is going to be crushed, even more so than when they were arrested in that speakeasy. I also get the feeling that Evie is going to downplay their connection, and Jericho is going to be hurt by that. I can imagine her saying, "it's just a kiss. I've kissed lots of fellas," to diffuse the seriousness that lies at the core of their relationship and attraction. The last corner of this love square, Sam has already noticed something is up between Evie and Jericho since they returned from Brethren, and he will not be pleased to see the new developments. Evie and Sam's relationship might be teasing and flirty, but I think he cares for her more than he is willing to admit, even to himself. (hide spoiler)]
There are still a lot of things I don't understand, and I'm just hoping the next book starts illuminating them, otherwise this world might get old fast. For now, I'll trust in Libba Bray not to steer me wrong, and look forward to the next installment. In a year. ...more
I enjoyed this book more than I expected to. It was simply written, with a straight-forward, facts only style that seemed fitting for the subject mattI enjoyed this book more than I expected to. It was simply written, with a straight-forward, facts only style that seemed fitting for the subject matter. I don't actually know much about SEALs or the Navy in general, other than what I've learned from watching NCIS for years, so I appreciated that this book wasn't just about the Osama Bin Laden raid, but also gave an overview of the sort if training SEALs go through, the kind if jobs they do, and the lifestyles they lead.
Owen is clear from the beginning that he was careful in writing this book to protect identities, tactics, and classified information, so it's hard to exactly pinpoint what might not be entirely accurate, but for the most part, this narrative feels truthful and frank, without a hidden agenda.
It would be easy to say that Owen is trying to gain some sort of fame or notoriety by writing a book about how he was one of the SEALs that took down Bin Laden, but I believe him when he says in the end, he chose to do so in order to set the record straight regarding the mission. There were so many false reports out, and so much confusion regarding what really happened, that it definitely makes sense to want to clear the it, and give credit where credit is due. If anything, he was more humble than he needed to be regarding his role in the mission, repeatedly insisting that any other SEAL team could have pulled it off, because they are all equally well-trained.
It's kinda funny, because I can pretty much guarantee you that I never would have read this book had it not been one of our book club picks, but I'm really glad I did. I have a newfound respect for the amount of training and commitment that is involved when one is part if the military, especially a specialized team like the SEALs. It's a job that I could never do, that's for sure.
I also want to watch Zero Dark Thirty for the first time. I'm not exactly a war movie or book fan, but this book kept me interested enough that I think I would enjoy the suspense I'm sure the movie would bring....more
There were lots of things I liked about this book. I love the concept, of thousands of Merpeople -- sorry, Syrena -- living under the water, just outThere were lots of things I liked about this book. I love the concept, of thousands of Merpeople -- sorry, Syrena -- living under the water, just out of our notice. There are a lot of myths about people of the sea, and surprisingly, we don't get that many books about them, especially in comparison to what you see about other mythical creatures such as vampires of werewolves. I also loved the driving storyline. You have a girl that seems to belong, but not quite. Two people who are meant to be together, except according to the rules of their society. A mystery of origins, where something special and unique can't seem to be explained.
Unfortunately, there was almost a lot of awkward in this book as well. The writing and pacing were uneven from the very first page. Emotions and opinions were stated rather than explained through thoughts and actions. Many parts just felt too simple and too rushed. The passage of time wasn't clearly delineated or marked. I'd move to the next paragraph, and suddenly it would be not just another scene, but 2 weeks later.
I appreciated that we got to experience the story from both Emma's and Galen's perspectives, but there was something a little awkward about that, too. The perspective would also switch back and forth between 1st and 3rd person, like Emma's sections would be written in 1st person, while Galen's were written in 3rd. We still knew what he was thinking, but it was all "he" and not "I", like Emma's sections.
The main issue of the plot also took longer than I'd want to become apparent. It felt like we jumped into a story that had already started, and there were things I was supposed to know, but didn't. There was a lot of confusion at first.
I also felt like we didn't get ti really know any of these characters on a deep level, especially the "sideline" characters, the ones important as plot devices, but not necessarily as anything else (Paca, Jagen, the other kings, etc). All that being said, by the end of the book, I was really interested in knowing them and their futures. Emma and Galen obviously love each other a lot, but there's still quite a few issues in front of them before they can really be together: his brother, her mother, the laws. I also came to really enjoy the sweet, bantering dynamic between Rayna and Toraf.
Of course, here I am ready another first book in a series, and left to wait a year for the next installment. Here is my standard reminder on where we left everyone: (view spoiler)[Galen has figured out that Emma's mother is actually Nalia, his brother Grom's missing betrothed, assumed dead these last 30-60(?) years. She knows he knows, and now knows Galen is also Syrena royalty. The tracker who identified her pulse is racing back to the Triton kingdom to tell Grom and stop him from mating with Paca, Jagen's daughter, who is lying about having the gift of Poseidon, ei, the ability to talk to and command all the creatures of the sea. Rayna and Galen had tried to warn Grom that Paca was lying, but with telling Grom about Emma, there was no proof, and he sent them away. (hide spoiler)]...more