**spoiler alert** I'm not even sure I'll be able to articulate my thoughts on this book, but I'll try.
Let's start with the good. First off, it's a ter**spoiler alert** I'm not even sure I'll be able to articulate my thoughts on this book, but I'll try.
Let's start with the good. First off, it's a terrifically fast read. I got through its nearly-400 pages in two sittings. Austin is an interesting narrator, and I know this book is taking heat for being repetitive, but that repetition didn't bother me. I enjoyed seeing how all these seemingly unconnected bits of history and happenings came together in completely unexpected ways. (And I mean unexpected. I seriously had no idea where this plot was going at any given time.) I'm also fully willing to admit I'm biased in favor of any book that deals with bisexuality. Like, ever. Because it's freaking rare.
And then there's the not-so-good. The whole book is very weird, which makes up the bulk of its charm, but the ending was just bizarre. And I don't think I mean that in a good way. I had fun with the crazy journey the author took me on, but I was doing so with the expectation that there would be some kind of resolution, and there really wasn't. Suddenly Austin has a son? And this son stays with him instead of sharing a room with both parents, or alternating with Shann? They're all stuck underground, except Robby and Austin occasionally get to go topside and do...manly things, I don't even know?
Let's go back to the bisexuality thing which, if I'm being honest, was the reason I picked this thing up in the first place. I was completely invested in the drama of Austin being in love with both of his best friends at once. I wanted to see how it turned out--and then nothing happens. He decides not to choose, thereby continuing to hurt both Robby and Shann (oh Shann, you poor thing, you never stood a chance of becoming a developed character). Robby calls Austin selfish and he is completely right. Austin admits he's right, but has done nothing to change it by the epilogue. He's perfectly content to leave the status quo as is, which is incredibly frustrating and feels like a cop-out.
tl;dr: An enjoyably wild and unique ride, but the ending left me going "bleh"....more
I haven't read a fantasy book this compelling, this original, this absolutely un-put-downable, since Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett's Havemercy. TheI haven't read a fantasy book this compelling, this original, this absolutely un-put-downable, since Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett's Havemercy. The characters are instantly fascinating and lovable, and I can't say enough about the sheer, staggering thoroughness of the worldbuilding. You will become completely immersed in it.
I am incredibly happy that I picked this one up, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series....more
**spoiler alert** This book appealed to me in the very first paragraph. Alternate British history? Magic users? Arthurian mythology? Ladies absolutely**spoiler alert** This book appealed to me in the very first paragraph. Alternate British history? Magic users? Arthurian mythology? Ladies absolutely everywhere? Sign me up! I adored the worldbuilding and the ideas behind the characters. And it kept me entertained for sure.
The last chunk threw me off, though. Suddenly we have True Love everywhere--Marie is in love with her bodyguard, Wolf is in love with Ronan and Aelwyn is, for some inexplicable reason, in love with Leopold. The entire ending is rushed and several huge, plot-altering events happen offscreen and are summed up in a few sentences. Leopold being a terrorist? Not being the true heir? The Merlin admitting to his role in the whole mess? All things revealed to Aelwyn at the last second but, for some reason, not to us. We get the information secondhand when she passes it on to Marie.
I feel like this book had a lot of really dramatic scenes and ideas in it--a princess running away, an ambitious sorceress taking her place, a man killing a Crown Prince for the sake of love--but then the plot just sort of...backed off. The entire runaway plot is pointless because the Queen and the Merlin knew all along what was going on, making it seem less dramatic and more of a petulant child's tantrum. Marie and Aelwyn return to their prescribed roles; nothing is made of the latter's desire to be more or her feeling that she is more well suited to the task of queenship than her friend is. Louis killing Leopold, a huge twist in the story, is justified almost immediately by a conveniently timed airing of the Crown Prince's dirty laundry. And Marie is then tossed into a betrothal with her childhood friend. I really started to wonder what we were meant to be worried about the entire book.
tl;dr: Great ideas, not so great follow through....more