Rating: 4 stars
Series: The Folk of the Air #1
Think Game of Thrones without sex and less violence with fairies.
It had a slow start. For a while it seemed just like tons of other YA novels about the fae where the lowly human and faerie prince beat the odds and eventually fall in love. That’s where I thought this was going. I was wrong. Halfway through I couldn’t stop reading. The level of treachery impressed me. I had a few things figured out but not all of it.
I’m giving this 4 stars because of the phenomenal plot. It would have been 5 if I had liked the characters. It is told from Jude’s POV. I did not like her and couldn’t relate to her at all. She reminded me of Arya on GoT, but even she is more selfless than Jude. Being angry and bitter caused her to be hellbent on getting vengeance on the people who had wronged her. To stop people from looking down on her, she needed power and lots of it. Jude wasn’t evil but has the potential to be because she wanted power for all the wrong reasons. It could easily corrupt her. Power was a way for her to make her life better, not the lives of others. Her concern for the downtrodden was vastly eclipsed by her concern for herself. Anger and selfishness are two of my most hated traits in people, and Jude exuded them. Her lot in life was not fair, but it is no excuse for the person she became. Despite her claims that she was an excellent spy, clearly she was not. There were many things she did not figure out and could have if she looked beyond the obvious.
Surprisingly Cardan was the only character I really liked. Despite his tendency to be an asshole, he was incredibly charming when he wanted to be. Some of his appeal may be because he wasn’t drawn to power although he was in a position of power. Ironically Jude was like him, the prince she hated. Both were mad at those in their families who had wronged them and took it out on people their own age to feel better about themselves.
There may be a romance later on in the series, but it wasn’t the focus of this. It’ll definitely be a slow burning enemies to lovers romance. It was great that Jude didn’t turn into a complete idiot just because a good looking guy showed interest in her. I was very happy with the ending. Jude’s plan was not sitting well with me, to think that she would subject a young child to that kind of life with no choice of their own in the matter. I am looking forward to the next one to see where it goes from here.
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.
Rating: 1.5 “I’m too old for this shit” stars
Series: The Iron Fey #2
It was all so stupid. There’s nothing good to say about it. Meghan is a moron. If it wasn’t for her merry gang of followers, she either be dead or someone’s slave by now. Whenever something happens someone always pops up at just the right time to save her. People continually warn her that Fairyland is dangerous especially since she doesn’t know the rules and customs. Apparently she isn’t capable of heeding anyone else’s advice. She makes one mistake after another only digging herself into a deeper hole. Then she seems shocked when the thing that people told her would happen happens.
All of the characters act like petulant children. Meghan is young, so it’s somewhat excusable. Most of them are supposed to be hundreds or thousands of years old. They’re all so rash. Every time their feelings get hurt they immediately lash out. All of them use modern slang and simple language. Maybe it’s wrong of me to expect ancient beings to be more sophisticated and cunning.
Some things didn’t make sense. 1) Oberon asked Mab to release Meghan and let her go with him. She said no, and he was basically like well okay and rides off into the sunset. WTF? He is the king of half of fairyland. It’s pathetic to give up so easily. Shouldn’t someone of his caliber excel at bargaining? 2) Mab said Oberon couldn’t have her back because she made a deal with Ash to come to her. Wouldn’t that bargain have been fulfilled when she went back with Ash? She didn’t specify that she would stay for any length of time. No one ever noticed this. Fae are supposed to be crafty and manipulative and spot pathetic loopholes like that a mile away. 3) When Megan bargained with a fae in the last book and agreed to give up a memory, why is it that she can no longer remember the man she believed to be her father? She got fucking screwed on that deal. IMO that’s a lot of memories that were taken, not just one because someone being in a person’s life for 10 years comprises far more than one memory. None of these crafty fae saw that something was off with that situation either.
The love triangle was one of lamest, most pathetic love triangles ever. It was clear in The Iron King that Puck had feelings for Meghan although it wasn’t brought up. She and Ash lusted after each other. Neither of her relationships with them felt solidified romantically. From the start of this she acted like Ash was the love of her life. He had to put on a show and act like he hated her to protect her from his family. She was too stupid to understand what was going on even though he tried to explain how it was going to be beforehand. She was hysterical half of the time, going on and on about how she couldn’t be without him. It didn’t take long for her to inexplicably develop feelings for Puck, all the while still thinking of Ash. It was resolved at the end and went the way I expected it to, but it would have been so much better if there hadn’t been a bunch of bullshit along the way.
Rating: 3 stars
Series: The Iron Fey #1
It could have been better. Everything unraveled too quickly, so there wasn’t a chance for a mystery about who Meghan really was to build up. The plot was too chaotic. She constantly went from one dire situation to the next. She’s damn lucky she didn’t wind up dead. She bartered with the fae without giving a second thought as to what she was giving up. It really bothered me that Meghan had no forethought whatsoever. If she’s going to be dealing with some of the craftiest fae in existence, she really needs to up her game.
None of the characters were appealing. Meghan was annoyingly predictable because she’ll do anything to do the right thing which often means doing something stupid out of desperation. Puck was a pushover. He did anything Meghan wanted even when he knew it was a stupid thing to do. Half of the time if he had given it more effort he could have swayed her opinion. At first I thought he’d be a love interest but I quickly realized he’s way too boring for that. Ash had potential. He needed more wit or charm to be really interesting. I did like it that he was willing to bend the rules. Grimalkin annoyed me. He popped up at the most convenient times. He was always amused with Meghan although I can’t figure out why.
I’ll probably read the next one. It could be interesting to see where things go from here, but there needs to be more character development or I’ll never be able to finish the series.
Rating: 3 stars
Peter Pan was never one of my favorite stories although I do like it. This retelling of it had a darker twist but not enough that I’d actually consider the book to be dark. Gwen spent her whole life moving around. Her mother was odd and constantly afraid that people were after them. One night Gwen was kidnapped and whisked away to Neverland.
There weren’t any big surprises in the plot. It pretty much worked out the way I thought it would. Gwen got on my nerves sometimes. She was smart but had poor instincts when it came to people. Every time she believed something about a character, it went against what I believed, and my instincts were spot on.
The side characters desperately needed work. Rowan and Pan were fleshed out well enough, but all of the other characters were one dimensional. I didn’t care when anything happened to any of them often because I didn’t know much about them.
The world building was alright. Everything was explained well, but I wanted more details. They weren’t necessary, but I wanted them. I felt like there was a lot more that could have been explored. There could have been more to the history. All it did was touch on the surface of things. The dark fae were around and supposedly evil, but they didn’t do much. The fairies mattered but weren’t the focus.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Series: Toby Daye #11
Finally Amandine made an appearance!!! I had been waiting so long for this. It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting. Amandine is formidable woman. She makes the Luidaeg look sweet and sane, and she’s known as the sea witch. I have the feeling this book only showed one side of her personality. As someone who loves psychology, I’m curious to see what makes her tick and why exactly she feels the way she does about Toby. I think there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.
Since these books are becoming increasingly character driven, I can’t talk about much in regards to the characters because there would be major spoilers. One thing that made this book very different from the others was the lack of Toby’s usual sidekicks. Quentin was around but not highly impactful on the plot. The other main character was someone from Toby’s past who she detests. I would love to say more, but I was absolutely shocked at how that played out. It was this forced relationship that made the book great.
Amandine forced Toby’s hand and made her look for her long lost sister. In the century or so that she had been missing no one could find her and some incredibly powerful people looked. I like how the whole plot unraveled. The thing I didn’t like was that it was too convenient that Toby was the only person alive with the right abilities to possibly make it happen. The end game of the series has finally been laid out. Based on the few hints that were dropped, it’s looking grim. After all the title of the final book is When Sorrows Come.
Thank you so much to DAW and Netgalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!!!