DNF @ 33%
I am SO UPSET about this one. The edition I have is BEAUTIFUL. It is almost perfectly suited to my personal aesthetics. I am not immune to a bit of magical thinking, so my brain latching on to how beautiful the book also simultaneously planted a vicious little expectation that I was going to love the insides, too. UNFORTUNATELY HOWEVER.
Cynical statement of the day: This is why you should never have expectations.
So this book is about a young woman named Aya (she’s twenty-one) who lives in . . . some other place. Fantasy world, who cares. In this world, long ago people had powers but used them to try to overcome the gods and were punished by having their powers and the powers of their descendants curtailed. Aya is one of those descendants. So is her VERY OBVIOUS love interest (books, please stop pretending the love interest isn’t the love interest). She is on the queen’s guard, and there is plotting?
Honestly, I have no idea what the actual conflict or plot of this particular book is because it had not made itself apparent by the time I DNFed it. In fact, I barely had a grasp on anything at that point because this book in my opinion very much fails at its storytelling. You can have the best worldbuilding ever and interesting character backstories (with potentially meaty character arcs), but if you can’t get that stuff on the page in an interesting and compelling way, it doesn’t matter at all. Such was the case here.
The dialogue was empty. Every time any character interacted with another, all they spoke in was empty clichés. All information about the plot was fed to us through little spurts of a giant firehose, through the narrator’s dull and clumsy inner monologue. And important, emotional moments in the narrative were either glossed over or told to us instead of shown. I honestly can’t believe this book was published. Was somebody trying to cash in on some trend? But I absolutely could not concentrate on this book, nothing was staying put in my head while reading it, and that is such a rare feeling for me.
There was a lot of promise here, but it was all lost in the execution. Too bad. I stand by my DNF.