This is one of those books where the hype around it had gotten so big and I kept seeing it featured on Instagram and in bookshops but I wasn’t sure if the hype would be worth it or even if I’d enjoy the book. I decided to get it on Kindle Unlimited, knowing that if I did like it, I could then buy it in paperback.
Synopsis (as taken from the Amazon Kindle Store) is as follows:
Serena Smith is unusual. Growing up in a backwoods village, her life is lonely and dull. Then, on her eighteenth birthday, she’s gifted a magical heirloom only to be snatched by fae and condemned to a lifetime in chains. Dragged to Aldar, a fae kingdom ruled by a tyrant witch, Serina discovers a forbidden love, and meets fellow outcasts, each with their own dark secrets. As the lives of warriors, rebels, and witches clash, they find a shared destiny.
For only together, and with Serena’s unique gifts, can they survive long enough to build the flames of a revolution. Only together can they go to war…
Ability to read – I had no difficulty when reading this. It was easy to dive within the pages and understand the story being told. I got a clear picture of the scenes and characters and was able to follow along with the plot without stumbling or having to take a break to assess what was happening. The language used was easy and despite multiple species being included, I never felt like I was missing something or at a disadvantage because of the multiple characters.
Characterisation – I didn’t know what to make of Serena at first. It took me a while to understand her and to route for her. In the first chapters I didn’t know which way her story was going to go or whether I’d like the direction it took. I needed those first chapters to understand her character and I think it improved the way I was viewing her. Her character is complex, not just because there are so many unknowns for her, but also because she remained so unsure of herself throughout the book and through all the challenges she faced. Serena has bucket loads of determination and a strong will to continue on. She has passion and anger which at times seemed to be battling each other for dominance but it was interesting to see which emotion won and fuelled here through different situations. The dynamics she formed with the characters in her group were interesting and answered as many questions as they made questions. There were a lot of elements that were drawn to Serena and not all of them were answered in this first book, it will be interesting to see what direction she takes next.
Visualisation – It was reliviely easy to visualise what was happening in this book. There was such a richness in details and description that despite the world being so vast and populated, I never felt lost in what I was reading. I had a good understanding of what was happening and with what I was given I was able to create a clear picture of events as they happened. I didn’t once feel confusion or frustration at not being able to visualise a segment and enjoyed the vision I was able to create in my mind.
Uniqueness – I have been out of the fae reading game for a long, long time. I enjoyed reading this book and feel that I am now invested in the story. I did see elements from other plot lines in this book but not in the way that would usually bore or frustrate me. Overall, I found the plot line to be different to fae stories I’ve read in the past and it offered a new and interesting plot to genre I’ve not always got along with. I thought the characters were very well developed and enjoyed the fact that they each had their own stories. The fact that all the characters were there for a reason and had their own personal stories and weren’t just faceless names meant a lot to me and made the reading of this more interesting. It’s not a unique book but it is a very compelling one, filled with a lot of twists and turns that keep you guessing.
Other – The way I came to this book was different than usual. I mentioned above about the hype surrounding the book so I did something different. I refused to read the synopsis or learn anything about the book other than its title. I usually never do this but I am so glad that I did. If I had read the synopsis, I probably wouldn’t have read this book at all because in my experience, books about fae have become so overdone with plot lines that are so similar that it has taken away the fun of reading because I know what is going to happen from the first page. For me, this is just because there was a big boom in every imaginable fae story about ten years ago and when I was really into them I read a lot of them and quickly became bored with the repeated formula. Reading this was a new experience for me because I felt it took me back to the beginning and made something that was interesting and mysterious. The world, Aldar was intricate and vast with many details and unknowns. The fae were presented in a different way from what I’d read before and it made them more complex and made me more intrigued to want to know them. I felt I was seeing a different approach when I read this and that filled me with relief. I was excited to read this book and I found myself dragged into the pages. There was perhaps a romantic aspect that grated on my nerves but I presume that it is necessary for character growth.