DNF @ 25%
I bought this book on sale because it sounded like everything I love in fantasy-- oppressive regime, bad boy love interest, morally grey protagonists, dangerous magic. But sadly, this ended up being boring as all get-out and I found myself quickly growing bored and frustrated with the novel, skimming and skimming until I decided that, finally, I was unwilling to give it any more chances.
1. This falls under a genre that I call Basic Girl YA™. If you've read any of the over-hyped YA fantasy novels to come out over the last few years, you'll know immediately what I'm talking about. Renee Ahdieh, Sarah J. Maas, Roshani Chokshi, Tomi Adeyemi, and now this author, Emily A. Duncan. It's like someone hands out a checklist and tells these authors what to write, and how to write, because YA fantasy has become so formulaic lately and it feels like every story is the same.
2. Can we stop with the AU Russia fantasy novels already? There's other countries and cultures out there that can be integrated into a fantasy world besides Russia, and really, the only author I've seen do it "right" is Amelie Wen Zhao (and yes, I'm including Leigh Bardugo in that list of "please, stop"--I've DNF'd SIX OF CROWS three times).
3. The world-building is so badly done and confusing. I honestly had no idea what was going on. It was the worst mix of mysterious mysteriousness and info-dumps, so I learned way too much about things I didn't care about, and nothing about anything that might have drawn me in.
4. The Kylo Ren stand-in was not very Kylo Ren-y. A huge reason behind why I wanted to read this book is because I heard this was a great book for Reylo fans as the character of Malachiasz was allegedly inspired by Kylo Ren. Nope. Kylo Ren is a tortured BA, and this is his annoying and smarmy younger brother who works in the stockroom at Hot Topic.
That is $2.99 and several hours of my time that I will never be getting back.
Thanks to Sage for BR-ing this with me. I'm sorry we didn't enjoy it more.
1 out of 5 stars