Verdict: Well, the last 10% was entertaining.
This review has taken me a long time to write because I was almost certain I was going to love this book. I loved book one and two of THE GLASS THRONE series, I love Maas’ writing style, and I think she’s a brilliant writer. I love fairy-tale retellings, and the blurb sounded perfect, but I didn’t love this book at all.
As it’s taken me a couple of months to get to reviewing this, I can’t remember it too well but I did scribble some notes at the time. Unfortunately, the middle section has almost entirely faded from me – I think that says it all really.
Although Maas’ writing is often beautiful, I thought the tropes of the writing style were overplayed. There was too much overlap in voice from the author’s past series. A lot of the time Maas didn’t finish her… Or it would feel jarring – the romance didn’t interest me.
I had multiple issues with the plot devices too. The whole ‘I must either kill you or offer to set you up for life in my house and spoil you rotten’ didn’t sit well with me in the slightest, and I couldn’t understand why the characters accepted it so easily. The disease which glues masks to faces, but only when they are in human form, sounded ridiculously specific. And creating a creature with the sole purpose of info dumping on the reader everything I would expect the author to show felt like a lazy and unengaging way to progress the story. It’s probably why I don’t remember the middle very well – it felt slow and unengaging.
Ultimately, I didn’t fall in love with the characters and so the romance felt very, very dull. On the other hand, Lucian fascinated me. His past sounds novel worthy, and the war the characters speak off also sounded like a much more interesting context for the book. I’m glad he was there.
The end sequence really spiced up the book, which is the reason I’m giving it three stars instead of one. There’s action, a puzzle, stakes – all too little too late. It almost felt like a different book.
But as it came at the end of the book, I feel like maybe book two could carry its own. I might read it… or I might just stick to the author’s other novels.
Source: Bought the kindle version.