Verdict: An unexpected romance novel.
It started out strong, with lifelike characters and a rich, warm setting for the tale of the lost heir with genetically amazing powers. It felt a lot like Red Queen in a good way, with enough differences for it to stand out.
Our main character Willow starts out naive and rude, but full of spirit, and I hoped she’d grow throughout the story into a strong, feisty woman. However, Willow didn’t exactly grow throughout the book. Although everyone called her strong, I found her immature, rude, aggressive, and stroppy – a complete brat, and that isn’t the same thing as strong to me.
When the terribly dystopian-guard Reese was introduced as her love interest, I struggled to go with the flow. I didn’t think it made much sense (for spoiler-related reasons), and the pair had too many petty arguments for my tastes, where the same points would be rehashed with different words, circling over and over until things got ugly…
So the plot that started out strong withered away into romance, just romance, nothing surprising over here. No mystery, no twists, no intrigue. That’s where I started to lose interest, especially as I didn’t feel comfortable with the spotlight being on such an abusive relationship. When it’s a subplot, it’s one thing, but as the main attraction I just didn’t enjoy it.
In the end, I realised I really didn’t like most of it. I liked the writing style and found the plot always moving forwards, but I’d have preferred some intrigue, an overarching puzzle or goal to move the focus from rough romance to intrigue.
Source: With thanks to the publishers via NetGalley.com