I have been trying to write this review for over a month. First I was blocked because of something I couldn’t figure out how to say about it, and then I moved, and then I went on vacation, and I’ve only read seven books this month! SEVEN! I give up officially on writing a coherent review because I just want it out of my life. I have no idea what I’m about to type. Also, in order to get in a frame of mind to write this and my many piled up reviews, I may have had some wine. Soooooooo.
This was much different and much better than I thought it was going to be. I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner. (I could think up lots of excuses for why it took me so long to pick it up, despite numerous recommendations from trusted sources, but honestly it was 99% because I haaaaate the cover. Cover model, close your mouth!) (I feel obligated to note that 99% of the time I will hate any book cover with a person’s real face on it. It’s book cover tyranny, I tell you. TYRANNY.)
Maybe I will get around my weirdness re: writing about this book by not even trying to describe the plot. After all, I read a lot a lot a lot of reviews for this book (many on this very site) before I picked the book up, and many of them had very nice plot summaries and shiz like that, and I still felt no interest to read it. But as soon as I picked it up, I was immediately compelled to continue, and rather enamored. The tone and the feeling of the characters and the setting of a book isn’t something you can convey in a plot summary. Especially since the plot wasn’t the draw for me. (In fact . . . this is actually a pretty plot light book. The emphasis is definitely on the more experiential type of story that I enjoy, not so much on “this happened and then this happened and then this”.) It’s the same issue I had with Big Little Lies and books of that type. I refused to pick it up for the longest time, only to find myself enchanted by the writing.
ANYWAY I LIKED THIS BOOK A LOT.
The first half in particular when our MC Meg is being introduced to the world of the Others (and they to her) was like book crack to me. I did think it dragged a little at the end, and perhaps could have been tightened up, but that’s a minor complaint, and may have been influenced by the fact that I listened to the first half in a marathon sesh while driving on the freeway, and the second half at home in my usual audiobook listening places (getting ready, in the car, etc.) Marathon listening is in general a much preferable way of sinking into an audiobook.
So if you like fantasy but have been reluctant to pick up this for any reason (stupid reason or not, aka like hating the cover, cough, kicking self) I would just give it a try. May not be your cup of tea, but you may end up really into it.
I feel it necessary to note because the alcohol is giving me fiery courage, I thought really hard about Melanir’s well thought out and interesting review the entire time I was reading this, because I don’t want to promote or like unreservedly and without thought anything that is icky or racist, but I just didn’t see it. (Actually her review was one of the reasons I did finally pick up the book! It made me curious.) Perhaps I am too generous a reader. And I don’t mean that like OH HOW GENEROUS I AM more like, I know that I read towards author intentions, rather than reader interpretations as a natural extension of my personality, which does mean that I tend not to mind things that some people see as problematic. Figuring out how to say that intelligently is one of the reasons I spent over a month and a half not writing this review, so I’m just going to leave it at that.
One thing I will say is that this seems to be shaping up to be a story about two opposing sides coming together, which is a kind of story my brain goes gaga for. I will probably be checking out the next three books in the series later this year.