Rating: 3/5 stars
Sort of conflicted about this one. I was flipping between 2 stars and 3 stars for the first 60% and 3 stars and 4 stars for the last 40%, so I ultimately decided to go with 3 stars. It seems most fair to how I feel.
I did really want to like this. I buddy read it with Nana, and it’s one of her favorites, so I wasn’t going in expecting trash, and I didn’t get trash. But it just…didn’t really do it for me. I was fine with the opening scenes and exposition, with the characterization and the pacing. I was fine with the writing and the plot.
And that’s the thing. It was fine and that’s about it.
Yeva, our MC, was constantly switching between being dumb as a plank of wood and being very perceptive. The most obvious things fly right over her head, like that her “ally” with the ability to access her belongings, move about the room, and open locked doors, is the Beast. For some reason, it takes her an extremely long time to figure it out, and only when it’s made even more obvious. But then she’s like “oh, of course, he can’t tell me about the reason why he needs a hunter and what I’m going to be hunting! he must be under a curse, and when things are under curses, they can’t talk about being under curses, so that explains why he’s not divulging information” and she’s right. And there’s literally a scene in which the Beast asks Yeva if she can navigate by scent and sound, and she implies that she cannot. And then several chapters later she literally navigates by scent and sound in the exact same hallway as before. Like, wtf???
The Beast was extremely angsty and emo, but I liked his chapter interludes enough. I didn’t care for the romance. I didn’t care for whole Solmir thing either, though I did appreciate that he wasn’t just a regular Gaston. It made the plot a bit less predictable.
The writing contributed a lot to my general apathy, as it seems largely apathetic about it’s own content tbh. I expect slightly more flowery–but not pretentious–writing for fantasy, and this was almost there, but was too afraid of the pretentious undertones that it ended up avoiding the magic it had the potential for.
There was one sequence that I loved, in chapter 14, and that was what turned the tide from lowkey extremely bored to pretty darn intrigued. It was spooky and exciting. I really liked it. And then the plot went back into just fine territory, and I was bored again. I liked the very ending enough, but I didn’t love it, and ultimately, I found this largely forgettable. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it.
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