I was really nervous about this one. I wanted so badly to love it. I made the rookie mistake of falling in love with the cover (it’s so pretty!). And I did end up liking it! A lot! I think I want to re-read before I fully pass judgment on it, because my main takeaway right now is that this is an extremely well-written YA fantasy story (written in the first person present POV, and I liked it despite that terrible choice) that does fall into some unfortunate (and unnecessary!) tropes that most YA fantasy books also fall into. But it also does some really, really cool things, and just zooms through plot like nobody’s business. And the worldbuilding is so good! And cool! I am using a lot of exclamation marks!
But I’m still having trouble separating the actual book from my expectations. Ultimately, I decided to round up from my 3.5 stars because the book is a really good example of the things that I didn’t think it needed to do. So even if I wish it didn’t do them, at least it did them well. SPOILERS In case you’re curious, it was mostly the romance. This book absolutely did not need any romance, but it’s YA so let’s put it in there anyway. There was no reason Deka couldn’t have just been friends with the boy and maybe romance could have come later. I just don’t think we always need romance! I am also a little salty about Deka being The Best At Everything, although that was sort of undercut by her not actually being human, but we don’t learn that until the end END SPOILERS.
Some scattered thoughts:
*As mentioned previously, the worldbuilding is excellent. Specific and well thought out. And interesting! Not just detailed, but detailed in a way that intrigued me. I promised myself I wouldn’t do this, but I can’t help it. This book’s worldbuilding (and characters, and dialogue, and writing, and almost everything else) is what I wanted from Children of Blood and Bone. There, I did it and now I will stop.
*The female friendship in this is excellent.
*This book has the ultimate Smash the Demon Lizard Patriarchy Energy going for it.
*It was not predictable! (Except for the instances where it indulged in overused and unnecessary YA fantasy tropes). So many twists I didn’t see coming, and it gets through so much exciting plot. A lot of authors would have stretched just what happens in this book out to like three books.
*I am very excited to see where this goes.
In all, despite my issues with it not being A Book of Perfection like I wanted, I am very glad I read it, and will most definitely be reading the rest of the series.
[3.5 stars, rounding up].