My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Spoiler Free Review
Let me first start out by saying, I honestly didn’t realise this was a romance novel when I picked it up… in fact, I was literally over half way through the book when I finally realised I was reading a romance. I can’t say for sure how that affected my reading experience, but I certainly felt like the book must be starting in the wrong place, because I kept waiting for the plot to set in, for the set-up to be done, and for the actual story to begin – until I finally realised it had, and I’d simply been looking in the wrong place. I was endlessly confused why we kept having so many time-jumps, like we shouldn’t’ve begun where we did or that perhaps Richelle should’ve written an entire book simply for the first half of the story (time spent in Osfrid at the Glittering Court) and left the experiences in Adoria for a second book…I felt like we were missing some great content potential to be honest, and I wanted to know more about the struggles Adelaide faced concealing her identity and life at the Glittering Court.
That isn’t to say that the read wasn’t entertaining. Confused as I was, I still enjoyed the reading experience. While I generally prefer adventures, mysteries, and paranormal urban fantasies, I didn’t mind the pure romance – even while finding myself more thoroughly intrigued by side characters, such as the goings-on with Mira and Tamsin…
Which brings me to my biggest frustration of all, the ending – don’t worry, no spoilers – which leaves us hanging with two out-of-nowhere mysteries relating to Mira and Tamsin; it honestly felt like Richelle didn’t trust her readers to like the characters enough to want to read the next book without dumping this sudden barrage of questions about what the hell is going on.
Mira and Tamsin – throughout the entirety of the book are without questions the most interesting characters in cast and we are repeatedly, seemingly pointlessly, denied knowing any actual detail about them. We know their looks, we know some of their backgrounds, and we know they’re both coveting massive secrets that are endlessly hinted at and stepped around – topped off with two bizarre twists with zero answers.
As for the romance itself…
You could see the romantic sparks between Adelaide and Cedric from the beginning, like it was hinted that hey- this is gonna be a thing, but said thing (imho) literally came out of nowhere? It was like… casual, 100% platonic encounters with nothing more than some entertaining conversation and physical attraction, and then out of nowhere it’s like OH THIS IS A ROMANCE. They went from casual flirting and, honestly, just being really good friends ?? to heavy romance with like zero middle ground. It just felt sudden.
It’s not that I didn’t like them as a couple, it was fine, but I also felt.. kind of… eh… I was happy with how it played out on the other end, I suppose – once it actually felt like a romance, but up until that point I honestly wasn’t all that emotionally involved.
The above possibly has a fair bit to do with their characterization… I didn’t mind Cedric’s character per se, but I found him relatively unintriguing as a person, and honestly didn’t realise he was any more important than Mira or Tamsin until it finally clicked I was reading a romance.
Now on to Adelaide… She really wasn’t much of a winner either. I didn’t hate her – though I certainly rolled my eyes at her a number of times – and she was certainly realistic for her background, but she was incredibly boring. The only thing I found of interest in that girl was apparent incredible art skills. Not to mention, I’m fairly certain she ends on the last page exactly the same as she began on the first page besides being a little more weathered since abandoning her life of privilege – hell, the supporting characters evolved more than she did.
At this point, I think you get the picture. The main characters were eh, the interesting characters were ignored, the point of the story wasn’t even apparent until halfway through, and the ending… only left me half sated.
The story itself, the writing and events, were entertaining enough to get me through to the end, but under a microscope, the book doesn’t really stand up what I’ve come to expect of Richelle Mead.