DNF @ p.53
I always feel like such a shit when I get an ARC of a book and don't like it. Especially if it's a hard copy. I know a lot of money goes into producing those copies and dispersing them, so I really try to only ask for books I think I'm going to like. And I totally thought I was going to like this. That cover! That premise! No, don't take me on a coffee date, I want to hunt mythical monsters through a moonlit wood. That was my first impression and I totally stand by it.
Sadly, this book didn't really do it for me. The writing is clear and very pretty but the characters just felt really bland. Especially Wes. I didn't really get what his deal was. It felt like the author was trying to make him seem quirky but he just kind of seemed like a dick. The author does something I personally really don't like, where she writes what is basically historical fantasy but changes all the names around. So the "Irish" become the Banvish (with signs that say "Banvish need not apply" on New York-- I mean, "New Albion"-- shops), and Katharists (Catholics?) with fancy churches who seem to hate the Celtic-inspired religions. These stand-ins feel like a short-cut for world-building but taken out of context from their real-world counterparts, they don't really have the same significance. So I wish authors would either set a book in our world and make it actual historical fantasy or bite the world-building bullet and go the extra mile in crafting their own settings. The "wild hunt" angle which hooked me in also didn't feature in the 50+ pages I read. It was more of a Victorian-esque steampunk setting, and if I had known that, I probably wouldn't have requested a copy of this, either, because I'm not really a fan of steampunk.
I think if you like authors like Maggie Stiefvater and Emily Duncan, you'll enjoy this book. I don't particularly care for either of them, unfortunately. I know some people really like their characters and writing style but I don't. For teens who really vibe with steampunk and like those deliberately "quirky" characters that seem to be vogue among the YA set these days, you'll probably love this. I wish I had too, but I just found myself setting this book down every time I picked it up and eventually I just gave up. Thanks so much to my friend Heather for reading this with me (sorry I bailed!).
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
1.5 to 2 out of 5 stars