Now that was a fantastic book! I’m writing this just after finishing it, so I’m really buzzing from how it ended, so I’m struggling to keep it spoiler free. I suppose all I have to say if you haven’t read the book is GO AND READ IT- you won’t be disappointed if you like fantasy, adventure, romance, dystopias or all of the above!
Ok, so *Spoiler Warning*- in case that wasn’t clear enough! Now I can get to the review. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this one. It had all the ingredients of things I’ve come to hate in YA books- a love triangle, a special snowflake main character and generic evil bad guys. On top of that, it took me a while to get into, because it was a bit slow to start and I wasn’t too invested in the characters to begin with. But there are two reasons why in the end that did not matter:
- It actually had decent world-building and character development
- OH MY GOD THE ENDING!!!
Because everyone is thinking that when they finish this book. Now, while I’ll admit, the twist was a little obvious to me from the start (I mean the guy called himself the “shadow of the flame”, for crying out loud) I was still really delighted with the way it played out. And at least Maven wasn’t called the Darkling (I’m looking at you, Shadow and Bone– now that was an obvious “twist”). Also, revealing his villainy in this way really showed his motivations in the best light. It really made him feel like a three-dimensional character and not just some *I want to take over the world cos* kind of villains (again, I’m looking at you Darkling). I also worried that unless Maven turned out to be a spy, it would have been a massive plot hole for them to keep her alive at the beginning. It just made complete sense for them to use her in this way- especially when the Queen had already read her mind- which immediately set alarm bells off in my head making me wonder how she didn’t know about Mare’s connection to the Red Guard. But thankfully, it was well thought out and completely worked, so *hats off*. I couldn’t have been more satisfied with the way it turned out.
On other matters, I liked the characters. It took me a while to warm to them, but I think Cal in particular made a great love interest, while Killorn could have been a bit more developed. I could also believe that Mare was naive enough not to figure out what the Silvers were upto, to be honest. Even though she acknowledged they were dangerous, she was a fish out of water, so it made sense that she fell for their tricks. She was also headstrong enough not to listen to anyone’s warnings, but brave enough to still be endearing. As I said earlier, most of the villains were fairly generic (the queen and Cal’s betrothed) but Maven made up for that. Other than that, Julian was the star for me! His character was deep and sweet.
It’s fairly obvious that I liked how the plot panned out- so I’ll be brief in saying that I liked how Aveyard developed the romance with Cal and showed that there were good reasons for her being reluctant about being with him aka they came from completely different sides of the tracks :p . I also thought the training montages were short and sweet- which was one of the most refreshing things to find in YA fiction these days. And I was impressed with how Aveyard showed how terrible the Red’s situation was at the beginning- particularly with the scene with Gisa at the beginning. Although, I would have preferred if they’d incorporated her coming into her powers in that scene, rather than leaving it to later to introduce her to Cal and have the pageant. I just felt like the two things were linked and could’ve been put together for a a smoother transition (although that is just the editor in me nitpicking).
Overall, it wasn’t a perfect book, but it kept me hooked the whole way through and was a thoroughly enjoyable read!
Rating 4/5 bananas
So, I’m assuming if you stayed to read this, you’ve read the book (and if you haven’t- why are you still here?). Did you enjoy it? Did you see the ending coming? Let me know in the comments down below!