I was going to leave my review on this fairly short and sweet, but after I posted the original I hopped in the shower and then proceeded to pick the bI was going to leave my review on this fairly short and sweet, but after I posted the original I hopped in the shower and then proceeded to pick the book apart, lol, and figured I might as well write it out in an actual review.
So, to summarize; fairytales are real and not in the 'I was born a princess and now my evil stepmother wants me dead' kinda way but in a "the show must go on" type of way. Basically fairy tales want to be told and if you fit a character type they will try and force you into the narrative until it's either completed or you halt it.
For example (and this isn't in the book), you get a girl who is making a trip some distance from her home to visit an older lady while wearing red and carrying 'treats'. Say her car breaks down at the side of the road. For some reason she's going to get out and start walking and she's going to end up in the woods and she's going to meet a wolf. If you have the potential to be a fairy tale character and you tick off a few boxes you might find yourself dragged into a nightmare situation.
Our story isn't really about fairy tales trying to come true in the modern world. It's about the people who try to stop them from happening or clean up the aftermath. Not sure if I should tag this as spoilers since we learn it fairly early on but just to be safe main characters and their archetype behind the tag.
(view spoiler)[Our main character is Henry, a born Snow White , Sloane - an evil Stepsister who is fighting not to give into her murderous tendencies, Andy -- a regular human who had a brush with the fairy tale world and decided to fight it and Jeff -- the archivist who would've been an elf in the Elves and the Shoemaker prototype. (hide spoiler)]
So, there's going to be a shot review and a long review, read whichever works for you, lol.
Short & Sweet: This was a fast read that grabbed my attention and made me want to finish it. the pacing felt a bit off and the relationships/characters weren't as fleshed out as they needed to be to make this a four star book. I think a lot suffered due to the initial serial format at the need to move the story along within a certain word count but the overall concept was interesting and enjoyable to read.
Long & Rambling: So, it's going to seem like I didn't like the book but I did. I really and truly did. Butttt, I felt like there could've been more. There was so much potential and I was just waiting on it to do something, especially with the characters.
What I liked: The cases. Reading about how the narrative tries to bring certain fairy tales into the modern era was really interesting, the way it could be an actual wolf who would get to little red or a man, the fact that while all these elements come into play so the story plays out, there's no guaranteed ending. If little red gets eaten by the wolf, no matter what the huntsman does to the wolf is going to bring her back. So what's the ending? Doe sthe hunter get to little red before the wolf eats her or does the wolf win?
The hints about Prince's being one of the worst elements of a fairy tale since they just show up and can trigger anyone's story if they include a prince.
The way a fairytale might meet the requirements of a curse but real people aren't able to survive some of these requirements (i.e. if you fall into an enchanted sleep you'll probably die of starvation before the princess wakes up) is fascinating.
The idea of the Bureau is interesting. Who came up with it? How is it funded?
But the characters/relationship parts... yeah... those didn't work as well for me.
For a book centered around people who didn't want to just turn into a forced archetypes they read like caricatures to me. They never really solidified into their own people. Sloane was a b*tch who probably would've gotten popped in the mouth by someone if they were being realistic at all. For someone who was afraid
We never get to really know any of them and to be honest I wasn't sure I wanted to. Henry was boring. Like the world is engaging, the cases are interesting, but Henry was just a narrator. She had no spunk to her and the moments where it felt like they were trying to showcase her personality she just came off as snappy. All the time. Which is reasonable, she's doing an incredibly hard job with a high probability of her life getting pulled from her and yet she's so boring.
Sloane is a bitch. I mean, there were so many ways to play her character and she just came off as the bitchy goth girl with a chip on her shoulder. Boring.
Jeff, he was interesting just because we don't get to see male characters like him all that much but to be fair we didn't really get to see him/get to know him in this book either.
Andy might as well have been wallpaper, and Demi had potential. Demi was interesting and if she snapped I would've understood it because having my life turned upside down on someone else's say so and losing everything would make me snap. But she's not the main character so we only saw Henry's impatience with her even though she's the one who pulled her into this mess. And is Henry impatient because she feels guilt? Or is she just a bitch.
And the for the relationships; say what you will about romance novels but I love them. You get a well done romance you see characters grow and fall in love and realise they fit all while having multiple subplots that aren't related to the romance happening around them. Enemies to lovers or friends to lovers or even love at first. Watching a love grow up while people are dealing with all the other shit happening around them is great. And then we have this which is just convenient and felt like a box was getting checked off.
The twist on the twins thing was well done and an intriguing way to set up for a potential second book without leaving this one on a cliffhanger but it also felt like it tied up too neatly.
I'm on the fence about the second book, I'm not buying it but if my library has it I'd check it out. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
3.5 stars. Apologies for any and all spelling errors, writing this on my phone before I go to bed since this book kept me up way past my bed time.
I di3.5 stars. Apologies for any and all spelling errors, writing this on my phone before I go to bed since this book kept me up way past my bed time.
I didn't feel as satisfied finishing this one as i did city of stairs. Mainly because I figured out most of the big reveals midway through, which is fine, but I also realised a few of the charcters were just cannon fodder and it annoyed me a lot. I don't know, some of the deaths in this felt inauthentic and didn't have the impact I think the author was going for since I just ended up sighing.
But that being said, it is 12:07 here, I have to be up at 6 and yet i could not put the book down. I was like "i'm almost done, it's fine" at page 290 of 400+ lol.
The voice is engaging and draws you in and even knowing/suspecting what was going to happen I enjoyed reading the reveals (for the most part).
My main issue with this series is that while the first book ended hopefully, this one ended on a note that makes it clear the author plans on making my favourite characters miserable and I have a low tolerance for that type of nonsense....more
I just want to preface this to say that if you enjoyed the first book and think you can start this one when you have a short time limit and put it dowI just want to preface this to say that if you enjoyed the first book and think you can start this one when you have a short time limit and put it down to continue later , I strongly suggest you leave it be until you have time to dedicate to it.
I started this last night about an hour after finishing the first one (I wasn't sure I wanted to buy it since the snippit shared at the end of the first one didn't really grab me) and I didn't get to bed until 12 in the morning. I was supposed to be in bed by 10:30, sleeping by 11. My clock hit 9:55 and I was like 'oh, I have 30 minutes, I'll read like three more chapters, kindle tells you how many minutes are in each chapter, I'll be fine'
2 Hours Later I only realised time had passed because I had to use the bathroom. It is extremely engrossing.
So, last book Julius managed to escape being his mother's scapegoat by the skin of his teeth and being so nice that the other dragons either didn't see him as a threat or tried to do things his way.
Julius is enjoying the freedom of not having to worry about dragon politics even if his brilliant career idea didn't turn out the way he thought it would. But he has friends, he has a house of his own and he doesn't have to worry about someone trying to kill him.
And then his mother pops back into his life and once again shakes up the foundations of his world and pulls him from his safe little hole in the DFZ back to the Heartstriker stronghold.
This book was really good. A lot of the issues I had with the first book (one-dimensional characters, Marci being almost unbelievably annoying) were touched on in this one and fleshed out very well.
One of the interesting things about this book was that while we learned more about the history of dragons it was still fairly light on the world building. I'll allow it because there is a section where we learn more information about Marci and Ghost and it felt like an info-dump. It wasn't bad per se, but it felt like everything paused for that moment while we received a history lesson.
Of course, that caused the scene that followed was all the more jarring as a result, but in a good way.
I'm not going to recap the siblings in detail, but I will say meeting the ABCs were great. The family members who aren't afraid of Betheseda (the ABC group) are fascinating.
Even Conrad who we only really get a small glimpse of is interesting and I want to learn more about. He's similar to how Chelsei was in the first book, someone who is intriguing but due to his small screen time is a bit one dimensional.
But the interactions between the older siblings makes me wonder if, like the eye thing, Betheseda changed her formula to ensure that the clutches after them didn't have that loyalty to each other. Although she failed with Justin who is an idiot that I adore.
It's a little hilarious that he went from being a 'no one' in his family to being someone who the higher alphabet siblings actually listen to. Of course by the end of the book he clearly wishes that wasn't the case.
Marci, Marci, Marci. I'll admit it, I was ready to put you in the TSTL category during the first 10% of the book. They are dragons. DRAGONS. For someone so smart why do you not think before you speak? But then the further in I got, the less you irritated me. Maybe this is because I was seeing events from your POV vs. seeing you just react? Either way, I really want to see what happens with your story line.
Also, did anyone think that the cat thing was going to be around Curiousity? I was like ' almost all humans are curious...curiousity killed the cat...ooooh, I see what you did there'. The actual reveal was really good.
I sorta wish I had waited until the last book was out before reading these two though, waiting is the worse....more