Persephone's Reviews > All's Fair in Vanity's War

All's Fair in Vanity's War by Elizabeth Marx
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Mar 15, 12

bookshelves: ya, celtic-mythology, paranormal-romance

I totally love this book even though I had to re-read certain scenes to understand what was going on. Especially in the beginning. That being said, it was a really great read.

I usually do characters first because there is a necessity in knowing who drives the story forward but the most important thing about this novel (at least for me) was the mythology. Did I learn a lot about Celtic mythology and then some. One of the shocking factors for me was the use of the witch bottle. Witch bottles are created by people who want to drive away a witch that is afflicting them and it basically causes the witch pain until the spell is taken away but I had no idea that a witch bottle could be used as a love spell. What the hell, that is totally new to me. The witches bottle become a very important part of this novel. The Celtic mythology consisted of hellhounds, banshees, druids, seers, leprechaun, fairies, boggarts, Boudicca, and learning stories about the goddess Fir (resembles mother nature) and multiple other deities. Plus, we have three Wyrd Sisters ( Maiden, Mother, Crone). It was fascinating to read the stories and see the Gaelic names of mythological creatures. I love the inclusion of Cerunnos. Really funny situation about his horns being stolen.

Now let’s talk characters. At first, I was really annoyed with all the characters because they were all very concerned with physical appearances. The Seer who died and records events; when she dies, she is more concerned about throwing up on her dress than being dead. Although, she did admit she was vain enough to say that so she was okay. We have Keleigh who has this enchanted necklace that hides what I will is her true beauty. She promised her mother that she wouldn’t take it off ever and constantly shies away from her own beauty. There is Locke who is physically scarred by the accident that killed the Seer. He tries to get Keleigh to take off the necklace and she reminds him of his scars. There was so much emphasis in the first 20 pages about physical appearances that it irked me.

However, at the end of the day, it was interesting to see the characters move beyond this stage and watch them mature. The vanity of appearance play a real strong role in the final battle and is really insightful. What appears to be annoying characteristic is actually an in-depth look. The scars that Locke has are important for a reason.I really liked how the Seer eloquently put things in perspective as well as Madi (who is Keleigh’s best friend). Funniest character ever. The romance between Keleigh and Locke slowly developed. Keleigh was the one denying the attraction because she didn’t accept her ExtraOrdinary powers and just wanted to be Ordinary (without powers). All of a sudden she is drag into the world she has been vehemently trying to avoid. It forces her to see what she is, the daughter of a prophetess and someone who has power in her own right. The love triangle between Locke, Keleigh, and Lynx for me fell a little flat on Lynx’s side simply because Keleigh wasn’t really into him. She was constantly moving away from his touches even though they were in open relationship. It was much interesting to read the blossoming relationship between Locked and Keleigh.

Marx did an excellent job in creating a world that is infused with mythology. We have Ordinary, regular people without powers, and ExtraOrdinary, people with powers. Leylines run all over Salem which act power sources for Extraordinary. Colloquy of Elders that keeps the existence of the ExtraOrdinaries a secret. ShiningOnes which apparently as not as nice as their name sounds. The OtherWorld which is a parallel world where mythology’s creature live. I know, it seems like a lot to take in (and it is) but I swear, it only adds to the experience of reading the book. All the “societies” are distinct from each other so it’s not hard to keep track of.

In the end, I’m giving it 4.5 butterflies. Fantastic use of mythology and great world-building skills. The characters are funny and grow in the course of the book. The love triangle didn’t work for me but it was somewhat nice. I’m looking forward to reading the second books because there are some unanswered questions that need to be resolve. Plus, I want to see Keleigh come into full acceptance of her powers and see what she can do.
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