Rating: 2 stars
“One fine day in the middle of the night […] two dead boys got up to fight. […] Back to back they faced each other, pulled out their swords and shot one another. The deaf cop on the beat heard the noise and came and shot the two dead boys.”
So this was a big ol’ oof but I honestly thought I’d like it when I first started. The first few chapters were fine and I didn’t mind that this didn’t follow the cast of the previous book. I found that, over all, they were way more interesting as people than Tithe’s characters, but they still sucked lmao
What on earth was up with that blatant animal abuse? It made me sick, honestly, and not in a “wow! these characters are so intense” kind of way, but rather a “this chick is a straight up sociopath and I hate her with every fiber of my being” and made me want to hit Holly Black in the face with a chair. Violence breeds violence, I guess. It felt like she was trying to be edgy and cool but without anything to really say, as usual, so it all ended up feeling like she did it for the aesthetic and brutally murdering a kitten doesn’t give me ~vibes~ it gives me nausea.
If I had to pick a character that I liked, I’d say probably Dave or Luis because they felt pretty consistent but also kind of like Black took Corny and cut him in half. Lolli was the aforementioned demon-spawn, and Val was annoying. Ravus was nebulous at best. Ruth? Was she a character or a piece of soggy cardboard? The world may never know.
The second worst thing about this was undoubtedly the plot. The love story between Val and Ravus came out of absolutely nowhere when he started spilling all of his life history to her for no reason, and I just felt like I’d accidentally skipped 5 chapters. The main plot was so jumbled and confusing but the plot twist was so obvious that I was seriously hoping that it wasn’t going to happen. So when it did, I rolled my eyes so far back that I saw my last brain cell die.
Strangely, the only thing I truly enjoyed about this book was the knowledge that if the book I’m writing is incomprehensible trash, it might still get published and become popular.
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