Not as great as Huntress, which I read first. It definitely kept my interest, and I read it pretty much non-stop, but I just didn't feel like the endi...moreNot as great as Huntress, which I read first. It definitely kept my interest, and I read it pretty much non-stop, but I just didn't feel like the ending had enough of a HEA to make me feel satisfied. It seemed like it just kinda ended rather abruptly. Other than that, I liked the romances and the different stages of life that Ash went through. (less)
**spoiler alert** I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. I liked the way it picked up several months after the first in the series, and yet it a...more**spoiler alert** I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. I liked the way it picked up several months after the first in the series, and yet it actually felt like the time had passed and the characters (and their relationships with one another) had changed and matured in that time. It's refreshing, since a lot of times in books time is supposed to have passed, and yet the characters and their relationships and settings seemed to have remained static from the end of one book to the start of the next.
It was also refreshing to see more awesome female characters, even if a love triangle seemed to have been introduced in the beginning. It wasn't really a love triangle in the end, though, since you figured who Sophie would pick right from the beginning.
I loved that there were some genuinely morally grey characters in this book. Several of them, in fact. Even if the series didn't really get into the complexity of some of them as well as they could have, there was some attention paid to them, and they weren't just purely good or purely evil.
I also greatly enjoyed how Jenna's queerness wasn't treated as anything special, just a part of her, and how none of the other characters react poorly to it (and in fact, some act as matchmakers). I liked that Jenna had a relationship that people in the story could be jealous of, instead of something to be stared at or feared due to it's queerness. That was a pretty awesome thing.
I wasn't expecting the twist at the end, though. I'll admit to being disappointed that all of the awesome female characters that I loved were either missing, evil, or dead. Way to turn around a mostly awesome and female-heavy series in the blink of an eye! And even though I've read the Kindle sample of the next book and know that more cool female characters will come into play, I have to admit that now I'm nervous about how the author will handle them, and whether or not they'll all eventually turn evil/die, or if we're just going to be getting some more awesome and morally complex and gray characters, the latter of which would rock.
Still, left off with a larger cliffhanger than the first one, and I'm buying the next as soon as I can just because I am so thoroughly invested in the awesomeness that is Jenna's character. But seriously, if I find out she's dead, I'm going to be seriously unhappy. Possibly metaphorically throw-book-against-the-wall unhappy (I have a Kindle, and am not willing to risk it just because I dislike a story, unlike when I have a paperback and could care less, since the story's rubbish, and that's the point).(less)
**spoiler alert** Despite the rampant head-hopping, and frequent time skips, I found this book mesmerizing. It was so wonderful to see an epic fantasy...more**spoiler alert** Despite the rampant head-hopping, and frequent time skips, I found this book mesmerizing. It was so wonderful to see an epic fantasy that didn't take place in the stereotypical Western-based universe. It was also wonderful to see two WoC as the leads, and to have women as both the helpers and the villain. The f/f relationship was handled well, and while I'm disappointed that it followed the "f/f relationships must be broken up by the end" trope, it seemed that both characters were alright with that, and therefore, I was, too.
I spent the better part of the month following the adventures of these characters, and by the end, all I could do was mourn the chance to follow them. I watched them change, cried with them, mourned with them, and felt like I grew with them. To just be thrown out of their universe, when there was still so much left to do (How will Con and Shae fair in the royal court? What will Taisin do with the knowledge she has about the fay when she goes back to the Academy? Will Kaede really be allowed to join the Hunt?). I take some solace in the fact that there's another book in the series, even if it does take place much later in the 'verse's timeline. I still have hopes that it'll answer some of those questions.
In the end, I felt fresh and new, almost like the perspective that Kaede has, as well as some of the other characters. I absolutely adored it, and the universe, and imagine that I'll spend many an afternoon imagining what sort of endings the characters really got, and how those could change or be better/different in their futures.