Rating: 4 stars
Series: The Winternight Trilogy #2
Vasya was independent as ever. She refused to do the only two socially acceptable things which were get married or go to a convent. With the help of Morozko she went out to see the world. The only way to do it was to pretend to be a boy. After inadvertently getting the attention of the Grand Prince, she put the lives of her siblings in danger.
I admired Vasya for being bold and brave. She was willing to risk it all to live life on her own terms. However risking it all meant possible death. She had no desire to die, but didn’t do much to prevent it either. Her recklessness aggravated me. It was hard to believe someone could be so cavalier about their own life. It was that behavior that made her seem immature. Even with everything she had been through she managed to be incredibly naive about the dangers of the world.
In those days the world did not favor women, so pretending to be a boy seemed wise in the moment. Some things about it did not seem entirely plausible. It was always emphasized that Vasya was not pretty, but would she have passed for a boy? Masculine was never used to describe her. It was unusual that two of her siblings lived in the palace yet no one thought it odd that they had a brother whom they’d never heard of show up. It irritated me that Vasya was blind to the consequences of her actions. Her rouse put her siblings and nieces in danger.
Morozko was my favorite character. He stole every scene he was in. I really like him and Vasya together although when I think about it I don’t understand why he feels the way he does about Vasya. She always doubted his motives. Creatures like him don’t do things out of the goodness of their hearts. OTOH how many times does he have to come to her rescue before she sees the truth? Almost everyone in her life let her down at one point or another, so that may be why she was hesitant to trust him.
It didn’t end on a cliffhanger, but a lot was left open ended in regards to Vasya’s fate and her relationship with Morozko. I looking forward to the next book especially since this was even better than The Bear and the Nightingale.
I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 2 stars
I desperately wanted to like this. It was one of my most highly anticipated books of the fall. I love the fae. I should have loved this, but it fell flat. Although this was YA, that wasn’t the issue. The characters were mature enough. I thought this was a fantasy with a side of romance when all it turned out to be was a romance. You take out the romance and this book literally has no plot.
Isobel was a talented painter who did portraits for the fae. Her ability was so impressive that she was commissioned by the autumn prince to paint her portrait. She did the unthinkable and painted him with human emotions. Apparently this warranted the prince to kidnap her and drag her to his court to stand trial for her crime. Somehow this was meant to repair his reputation.
At the point she was kidnapped, she had known Rook the autumn prince for a fairly brief period of time. They had no meaningful interactions in the time they had known each other, but when the painting was finished, Isobel thought she was in love with him. The idea that they could be in love by this point in the book was ridiculous.
This had the potential to be good. The Wild Hunt wasn’t functioning normally. Three of the four fae courts were being weakened somehow. Many zombie like fae creatures made from human bones were rising. There was a fascinating world to be explored and developed, but it wasn’t. None of that stuff mattered in the end. The world building was awful. The explanations for how things worked were vague. I wanted to know so much more. I could have forgiven the mediocre romance if the world building had been focused on more.
It was emphasized that Rook was one of the most powerful fae in existence, which perplexed me since he often seemed weak. Even though he was often the most powerful man in the room, somehow he was always very close to being killed. Isobel was okay. She didn’t do anything too stupid but didn’t make the best decisions either. Since the romance was the plot, the big conflict impeding their relationship was the Good Law, which was a fae law that prevented humans and fae from being in love. It wasn’t having sex or procreating that was illegal but simply loving each other. It was stupid. The end was disappointing. The resolution to their crisis was too simple. It annoyed me that they defeated their powerful enemy with such ease.
I’d definitely be willing to give another book of hers a shot. This one wasn’t for me, but I’m sure most people will like it more than I did.