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 stars
New York City was surrounded by a barrier called the brink. It prevented anyone with magic from leaving the city. It would strip them of their magic and at best cause considerable pain and at worst cause death. The order, a group of humans, created the brink. Those with magic wanted to be free and were trying to find a way to take down the brink and the order.
It took a little while to get into it, but it was so damn good. Esta had the rare ability of being able to travel through time. Her guardian used her ability to go back in time and steal items from the order. There was a bit of an info dump in the beginning. It complicated matters more that Esta was sent back to the past and the world building of that time period had to be introduced also since what was going on in the world magically was quite different.
The whole cast of characters was interesting. I liked Esta. Her ability was useful and got her out of a few tricky situations. Her actions in the past were important because the butterfly effect was a major possibility. She was loyal and trustworthy which made her more unpredictable as the story went on because it was hard to tell if she’d be loyal to the people of her time or to the ones in the past she’d grown close to. I loved Harte Darrigan. He and Esta had good chemistry from the first time they met. For most of the book I wasn’t sure how to feel about him. I genuinely felt that he was a good guy at heart, but part of him was incredibly selfish. His main concern was always getting the best possible outcome for himself even if it screwed everyone else over. It was his connection to Esta that made him think of others more, but I hadn’t been sure where his loyalties would lie in the end. Dolph was the leader of a magical mafia. It was obvious he was trying to do the right thing all along. He had a rat in his midst and was going to get screwed for trusting the wrong person. I wanted him to be more proactive and figure things out.
The end was shocking! I was really surprised at how far the bad guy was willing to take things to achieve his goal. I did not see that coming at all. The truth about Esta’s past was revealed. I probably should have pieced that together, but so many other things were going on that I didn’t even give it any thought. The only thing that truly disappointed me with this book was that I didn’t know it was the first in a series. A lot of things still need to be resolved, but I can’t wait to read the next one!
Rating: 3 stars
Clearly I’m in the minority, but I didn’t love this. It’s a well written story that’s highly character driven. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought it would have a stronger fantasy element to it and a bit more action. The magic was so slight I wouldn’t even call it paranormal. Most of the book was spent revealing whether Od knows magic is real or is delusional and thinks it’s real.
It alternated between Od and Tru’s POV. Although they were sisters, there was a lot Tru didn’t know about her family. Tru’s POV was necessary but very boring. Practicality does not make an exciting character trait in a main character. The problem with Tru was that I didn’t care about her one way or the other. Od’s POV was better. What she experienced in life was difficult. It was the magical element she brought to everything that annoyed me, and yes I know that is the point of the book. It was clear early on about what was really going on with Od.
Most of the side characters weren’t interesting. I liked Uncle Magnus. He was the only side character who really seemed to care about Od and Tru. In the end he disappointed me a little. I flat out didn’t like any of the other characters. They were self absorbed or more concerned with propriety than being descent people.
I liked this book enough that I wouldn’t mind reading another book by Cat Winters. I’ve had some on my TBR list for a while. This story isn’t something that will stick with me for a while. Honestly it’s surprising I even bothered to finish it. To be fair I’ve been in a book funk and have had a hard time getting into almost any book.
I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.