The Fountain by Suzy Vadori

Over the holidays, my aunt (if she’s reading this, hi Auntie Linda!) got me two books in a series, both signed by the author. I read the first one, called The Fountain by Suzy Vadori. Sadly, I was not very impressed.

The story follows a girl named Ava Marshall, who moves across the country to go to the same boarding school her parents went to: St. Augustus. Almost immediately she is bullied by a senator’s daughter named Courtney. Courtney’s antics are evil, and she hates Ava for absolutely no reason. Ava doesn’t know what to do, and she feels helpless. So, when she stumbles upon an ancient-looking fountain in the forbidden West Woods on her way to her Gran’s, she makes a wish. This wish makes Courtney disappear, and her family with her. Which means that Ava’s aunt never got into college.

Ava spends the rest of the book trying to fix her mistake, along with her new best friend, Ethan. She must compete with her English teacher, Ms. Krick, who wants to wish for endless youth, to get to the fountain. She has to unravel a mystery and dodge her boyfriend from back home, Lucas. She is caught in a fight to reverse her wish as quick as she can so that her father can live his life like normal.

Alright, onto the good stuff.

Storyline: This story is a teenaged love-story drama with a hint of fantasy and magic. Not usually my style, but I enjoyed the book nonetheless. It begins at St. Augustus, where Ava makes her wish at a magic fountain in the woods. Then, as Ava slowly figures out that Courtney had disappeared, her new best friend Ethan joins the hunt for answers. From then on, it’s just plot twist after plot twist. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but I must say that the plot twists are overkill. There are way too many. It almost seems like Vadori ran out of ideas. I get it, though. I’ve been there. I just feel like things could have been done differently. There honestly isn’t much else to say.

Storytelling: The storytelling of this book is decent. The first chapter showed a glimpse into the future, and chapter two bounced back to the beginning, which followed Ava’s first day at St. Augustus. I liked that a lot. In fact, there was a lot of jumping around the timeline, which I found intriguing (in a good way). I rarely read books like that anymore. However, even though there are flashbacks, in certain places it seems as though the author is trying to cram as much context into the book in as little time as possible. Don’t be afraid to leave things unsaid! Nevertheless, even if you decide to give a ton of context, you should explain the importance of this context, which Vadori didn’t seem to do. Due to this… stuffage of context, certain details are unclear or are hard to remember. Additionally, the context Vadori did give was not exactly what I felt was needed―she gave the wrong context at the incorrect times. A lot of the time I was thinking, Why do I need to know this? This added a lot of annoying mystery to the book. The wrong things were left unsaid, and it made me somewhat confused.

Now onto the subcategory of detail. When Suzy was writing about people or outfits or anything similar, her description was amazing. Like, 9/10 amazing. On the other hand, she didn’t really describe events in the book. Her amazing description was left in the unnecessary details. I don’t want to know what Ava looks like while she’s staring at herself in the mirror. I want to know how she feels when she’s breaking the rules by running into the West Woods. I want to know the thoughts running through her head when Courtney sabotages her. I want to know how her body moves under the water when she swims. Yes, I know she’s an amazing swimmer, but how does that look? How far behind her are her opponents? Also, how does the West Woods look when you’re in the dark and risking expulsion? Sure, a little bit of detailed description about a dress is great every once in a while, but I really don’t want or need to hear about Ava’s sand-colored hair in the second chapter.

Characters: Ava Marshall starts off as relatable. She’s anxious for her first day at school. She’s scared that she’ll get a crappy roommate, she misses her boyfriend, and she’s homesick. She ends up getting a good roommate named Jules, who I’ll get to later, and seems to forget entirely about her boyfriend after she meets a new boy named Ethan. I’ll get to that later as well. Anywho, first, I must say that Ava is an astonishingly flat character. She shows almost no feeling and seems incredibly unintelligent. She has no visible flaws. She only has basic characteristics that everyone has. Later in the story, I ended up yelling at the book because so many things are so obvious, and she just doesn’t seem to get anything. In order for me to truly relate to her, I must be able to see her thought process, and why she does what she does, and I can’t see that. Onto her relationship with Ethan. When Ava meets Ethan, it’s like she completely forgets about Lucas, her boyfriend from San Francisco. She even goes on a date with Ethan. The author only even mentions Lucas when he calls or texts Ava, and of course when he visits her for homecoming. Why is she being unloyal to her man? When Ethan kisses her in front of Lucas, how did she not see it coming? Again with the unintelligence. Overall, Ava is rather annoying. I’d enjoy the book more if she had any development whatsoever.

Now onto Ethan. He’s attractive and he plays basketball. He can easily sneak around the school after hours. He’s a major flirt. That is really all I see in him. He is also quite stupid, and vulnerable and hopeful for instantly believing Ava when she tells him about her wish. I’d at least ask a few questions before going along with the whole magic thing. The author tries to make him more likable by making him interested in books. Cute, but can you show us how, or why? I’d also love to see more feeling out of him. The only time I really see anything except sly smirks from him is when he’s drunk and trying to win Ava over. I can feel his sadness. Barely, that is, but at least it’s a start. My advice to the author is to think about emotion.

All in all, Vadori could greatly improve on her characters. What is Gran’s importance? I could ask the same thing about Coach Laurel. Is Jules only there for fashion advice? Is Lucas only there for drama? I need less plain archetypes. I need the author to really know her characters. It seems like many of them are just there to be there, to fill space.

Voice and Point of View: I would describe this piece as mostly written in an informal voice. A big part of voice is vocabulary, and the author’s vocabulary varies. As does the omniscience of the third person point of view. Sometimes, we see Ava’s thoughts. A lot of the time, however, we do not. I personally love a very omniscient third person, so my advice to the author is to add more thought and emotion into her writing. Don’t be afraid to use italics to emphasize.

Dialogue: I am the least impressed with the dialogue in this book. Not to sound harsh, but it was kind of difficult to read. Yes, it conveyed normal teen emotions, but who uses “Uuuuuuh” in writing? Why the extra letters? Generally, the dialogue was incredibly flat and short. Don’t be afraid to rant. I know that it’s hard to put yourself into the mind of another person, and that can result in flat dialogue. I say practice, and get to know your character. Put your character into a certain situation. What would they say at that moment? If one of the characters from WIP, Solaris, were, say, being charged by a rhinoceros, she would say, “Oh, for f***’s sake.” If her little brother, Lux, were in the same situation, he would say, “Crap!” And if their mentor, Echo, were there, she’d just stare down the thing and scare it with her glare. If you are a writer, get to know your characters! It will definitely help you in the long run.
Alrighty, friends. That’s enough ranting for today. I may have been a little bit harsh in my critiquing today, but in total, The Fountain was a decent read. It was nice to have a break from the heavy writing of Sarah J. Maas and read something a normal girl my age would read with no problem. I rate it a ⅗ stars. Thanks for reading, and I will see you next week!

Throne of Glass

Hey guys! I thought I’d make my magical reappearance today, which just happens to be the day after my birthday! I’m sorry for the absence, I’ve just been settling into a new town, a new school, and a new home. I hope you all are well!

Recently I read Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas for the first time. I know, I know. You may be thinking: “How have you not read that yet?” Well, the answer is simple: I don’t know. Months ago, Ky and I were in a bookstore in Phoenix and she made me buy this book. It took me forever to get to it. I was going down my list of unread books and, since that was beginning another series, I waited a while. Then, since my creative writing teacher makes us read a book every month and my friends kept screaming at me, I finally started the book about a month ago. Sadly, due to my busy schedule and my recent reading slump, I only finished it the day before my book review was due. Honestly, I wish I had more time to enjoy it.

As most Sarah J. Maas books are, Throne of Glass was absolutely amazing. It follows a girl named Calaena Sardothien, a trained assassin who has spent the last year in a prison camp called Endovier. One day, the Crown Prince, Dorian, sends for her to compete to be the King’s Champion. She accepts the offer and heads to the palace to go up against other famous criminals, all looking for freedom after serving the King for four years. However, shortly after she arrives, her competitors slowly begin to die off, being found half-eaten by a mysterious animal. Now she must not only compete to become Champion, but also avoid being killed by this odd creature she knows nothing about.

Now, let’s get started.

Storyline: I love this book because of how creative it is. It is obvious that Sarah likes faeries, which is something I’ve dabbled in writing myself. She is way better at it than I am, by the way. Anyway. The whole point of being an assassin seemed kind of mainstream to me, but adding in the whole King-of-assassins thing was a very good move. The small peeks into Calaena’s backstory showed enough to explain some things, but were still reserved enough to maintain a sense of mystery. I’m excited to learn more about my favorite assassin’s past.

Characters: These characters are easy to fall in love with, but they still have many flaws.. Let’s start with Dorian. His snarky attitude and scandalous reputation are pretty basic, I’ll be honest. But Maas definitely made it work. The young prince of Adalarn is charming, feisty, and flirtatious, all qualities you’d think would lead to his character falling under the basic bad-boy archetype; but fear not, there is more depth to our beloved Dorian. I think that watching him fall in love made me look past his stereotypical rebellious outside and into his sweet and kind-hearted inside. But I must say, when he gives Celaena a puppy, that is very cliche and annoying.

Now, onto Chaol. The Captain of the Guard is seemingly rock-hard and emotionless at first glance. Yet when you get to know him better, he is really just a softie who gives pretty girls rings in the middle of the night while trying not to blush. He’s embarrassingly adorable. He’s protective and smart and encouraging, all things I look for in a partner of my own. But he’s missing one critical detail: a sense of humor. I hear that he gets better later in the series, but in this book, he doesn’t even laugh. It’s almost like he’s inhuman. I don’t know why, but I just find his lack of happiness and closed-mindedness unrealistic.

Alright, now it’s time for our lead lady: Celaena. She’s hot, she’s closed off, she’s badass. Yeah. The stereotypical female protagonist. She’s got the tragic backstory. She’s got the strict yet caring mentor. She’s got the near-death experiences. Okay, what else? Well, I’ll tell you what else: she is basically inhuman. How in the world does anyone go from a year in a legit death camp to happily bouncing around, adorned in frivolous gowns, not a mental scar to show? What the heck? Are you emotionless? Have you blocked out every memory of getting whipped? I’m pretty sure I’d be traumatized for at least a month after that. It might just be me, but that transition was unnatural. That was nagging at me the whole time I read the book. Frankly, her motivations were kind of annoying. Would you not want revenge against the person who put you through all of this pain? I would, but Celaena’s motivation is to work for him. Yes, I understand the freedom-after-four-years thing, but still: to work for your enemy. To kill his enemies, who may be on her side. The King is a cruel man, and I wouldn’t want anything to do with him, even if I did get free after a few years. Celaena is hard to relate to, but I’m sure her decisions will make sense in the end.

Storytelling: Sarah J. Maas has a way with words. I admire her thorough descriptions; it’s almost like I’m witnessing everything the characters are. Her imagery is incredible. When she explained the palace, I was in love. I was somewhat thrown off by the gaps in the time frame, like between tests, but it really wasn’t a big deal. I would’ve enjoyed more suspense and foreshadowing, but all in all, she had a lot of literary elements that I love.

Voice and Point of View: Sarah J. Maas uses what I describe as a formal voice. She is not conversing with her readers, nor does she use a more casual language. That is my favorite voice to both read and write, and it really worked well with this story. Also, her way of writing in the third person is astonishing. I’m writing my first third-person story currently, and I will definitely be taking a few tips from her. I adore how even though we aren’t seeing the story from the characters’ eyes, we can still understand them and know what they are thinking. Her style changes with each character, and to do that is impressive.
Alright, my friends. I suppose that’s all I have to say, for now. In total, this book is a great read and I can’t wait to get the rest of the series. I give Throne of Glass four out of five stars. Have a great day!

A Cactus in The Valley Book Review

This past week I read, and enjoyed, A Cactus in The Valley, written by the wonderfully talented Olivia Bennett. Here’s a wee summary:

Teenagers Terra and Wyatt are the only two survivors of a four-person plane crash. Stranded in the desert with little to no resources, they make their trek towards hopeful salvation. This story is artfully told through duo points of view and plot-deepening flashbacks peppered within from both Terra and Wyatt.

The integrity of this book is applaudable. Olivia Bennet’s writing is poetry, and the amount of figurative language she uses is astounding. Now, books like this may not be for everyone, but I enjoyed having to look back and actually think about what the author was trying to convey with her beautiful and twisting words. The compelling flashbacks and intertwined points of view made for two very different outlooks on the whole plot of the book. Olivia does a splendid job of building and developing her characters, with past experiences and memories that shape who they were throughout their trek.

Although I loved the book, I would’ve enjoyed seeing more chemistry between Terra and Wyatt. I felt like a lot of their relationship was up in the air. It would’ve been nice to have them talk more throughout the desert, only so that, as a reader, I could be given a better opportunity to learn how Terra and Wyatt fit together. I say this realizing that the amount of dialogue they did or didn’t have was strongly influenced by the character’s personalities. Speaking of personalities, these stick out in the book for their originality, free of the stench of stereotypes already worn through in most books in the YA genre.

The ending was short but sweet. It is only because the book was so enrapturing that I would’ve appreciated more at the end. I’m kind of curious to know how Terra and Wyatt’s families dealt with the accident. I felt like there was a lot of feelings that were just swept under the rug and not approached. For example, do Terra and her mother resume their old relationship? Or are there miles of guilt and unsaid words still between them? It would’ve been nice to have a few nagging questions answered about the search, too. Did authorities end up finding the crash site? If they had stayed at the airplane, would help have come? I realize this book centers around Wyatt and Terra, but getting to experience the outside world and how they fit into it after they had been rescued would’ve been a nice bonus.

I highly recommend this book and the fact that it’s written by an independent author makes it all the more incredible for how good it turned out. I’d give it 3.5 stars.

The Darkest Minds

About two years ago, little Liv and little Ky met at a musical theater camp. We bonded over our shared annoyance with our mutual friend and soon Ky came to my school. We spent the whole year becoming closer and closer because of our love of books and our perfect combination of weirdness and intelligence. She often lent her books to me, and one of those books was The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken, a fellow Phoenician. In honor of the movie based off of that book coming out yesterday, I reread the book and will be reviewing it currently.

First thing first: I love this book. I love the characters, I love the humor, I love the storyline, and I love more. I am incredibly happy that it has made it as far as to become a movie, and I am so excited to see it (with Ky, preferably, if I can drive down from Flagstaff in time). The cast is amazing (I love Amandla Stenberg) and I can’t wait to see them in action!

Anyway, onto the book. The Darkest Minds takes place in America, not too far into the future. Children are being affected by a neurodegenerative disease called IAAN, which either kills them or gives them powers like telekinesis, telepathy/mind control/empathy, photographic memory, electrokinesis, or pyrokinesis. Each power is categorized by a color, whereas telekietics are Blues, telepathics are Oranges, the smart ones are Greens, electrokinetics are Yellows, and pyrokinetics are Reds.

Ruby is Green—supposedly. The way she was classified as a Green was this: she simply took her doctor’s arm and willed him to think that. In reality, she is a dangerous one, and she knows it. It’s a good thing she tricked her doctor, too, because Reds, Yellows, and Oranges were all taken away from her rehabilitation camp called Thurmond. But the PSFs, the soldiers that keep track of the surviving children, are catching on that some dangerous ones escaped their reach. They tested out a new frequency of White Noise (sounds that torture the kids with powers because only they can hear it) that did more harm to dangerous kids, and Ruby was down for hours. The woman who treated her in the infirmary was different, and she helped Ruby escape Thurmond before she could be killed.

While they were on the run, Ruby and the woman who helped her stopped at a gas station to meet others, and while they were in there Ruby saw a little girl stealing food. She followed her, only wanting to ask her how she was safe, and after a huge commotion Ruby ended up on the road with the girl (Zu) and her two companions (Liam and Chubs). She joined them on an adventure to find a safe haven for kids like them, and finds love along the way.

As I stated earlier, I love mostly everything about this book. Alexandra Bracken does a magnificent job at imagery and description. I feel as though I am Ruby, never mind just being in the book. The book is an amazing read if you love dystopian books with a little bit of magical powers.

Though I don’t have many issues with the book, that doesn’t mean I have none. One thing I question is the logic of the book—how do these kids get these random powers? Do all humans have these powers and the sickness just unlocks them? Why are there only five powers? I honestly feel as though there would be millions, like the X-Men. Also, from a student’s view, what’s dangerous about a photographic memory? Why do Greens need to be tossed into a camp for being smart?

If I were able to ask one question to Alexandra Bracken, though I have many because I am such a huge fan, it would be this: Were you ever apprehensive about limiting the number of powers to five? That’s the thing I’m hung up on after rereading the book. How are there only five powers? If I were to rewrite the book, I would categorize the kids by their level of danger: there would be no set number of powers, but certain children would be more powerful than others.

I’ve searched throughout my memories from the book and I really can’t find anything else wrong with the book. Alexandra is an amazing author. I need to read more of her books. I’m very excited to see the Darkest Minds movie, and I hope you are too! But my advice is to read the book before, because the book is always better! I rate this book 4.5 stars out of 5.

Delirium

A while ago the book Delirium by Lauren Oliver was recommended to me. As a young girl, I thought that it would be a good read. I read it, and I loved it. But, I got caught up in a different book after and completely forgot about it. Therefore, I have recently refinished it in order to catch up before I read the rest of the series.

Delirium takes place in the US in the future, more specifically in Portland, Maine. In this futuristic society, love is declared as a disease. Yes, a disease. In this book, there is a cure for love, and it is required that every citizen receives it when they turn eighteen. In the beginning, I began to think that was a bit childish, but later in the book, I realized how rational it is.

The story follows Lena, whose mother could not be cured of love and committed suicide. Lena cannot wait to get the procedure to prevent love. But Evaluation Day, the day where her whole life is decided for her, is interrupted by a group of rebels from outside the borders of each city, called Invalids (a word which has a double meaning in this book). While a stampede of cows is running through her Evaluation room, Lena sees a boy watching her. And he is laughing. Later in the book, Lena reunites with this boy, named Alex. Alex has a secret, and his secret will change the course of Lena’s life forever.

As the book went on, I noticed many things I loved about it. First, the masterful character development. Lauren Oliver described Lena’s feelings and her changes of heart and basically everything about her perfectly. Everything makes sense. Lena begins by needing the procedure to take away her ability to love and slowly transitions into hating it and needing Alex instead. Lauren Oliver clearly knows everything about her character and becomes her when writing her.

Another thing: plot twists. Seriously, some twists in this book made me squeal. I won’t spoil anything, but a lot of things change. Although, I would’ve liked the twists to have given me more whiplash. The twists all seem to be quick, but the transitions were smooth. However, it all depends on what types of books you prefer.

As a writer, I admire how well Lauren Oliver describes her places and people and senses. Actually, I admire her writing skills in general. But, I often found myself skipping through lengthy sentences. I probably missed a few important things because of how boring I found them. If I were to have edited this piece, I most likely would have separated some sentences into shorter ones, to keep people reading.

In total, Delirium is a very good book. It took a few chapters for me to willingly read it, but in the end, I’m glad that I did. I enjoyed how well Lauren Oliver wrote the main character, and I loved the plot twists. Her writing is amazing. I rate the book a four out of five stars. Now, onto the rest of the series!

Buy the book here!

Shadow and Bone

The last few weeks I’ve found it increasingly difficult to find a good book to read. I just can’t get into any of the stories or seem to sit still long enough to read. As some of you may know, I’ve been constantly traveling with hardly a moment to collect my thoughts let alone crack open a new book. Some would call this a reading slump. I would agree.

A few days ago, in desperate need of a book to review for this week’s blog post, I picked up my third book of the week. One of the 8 books I packed in my suitcase to bring with me across the country. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo has cured my restless mind ladies and gentlemen.

The story immediately picked me up and carried me away to a place where setting down my book is not an option. I spent the entirety of the night with a flashlight swinging from the top of my tent and the pages of my book turning with an almost desperate fervor to find out what happens next.

The book instantly starts by throwing you into this simply one of a kind world created by the wonderful mind of Leigh Bardugo. Although it’s a bit slow to completely explain all aspects of the Grishaverse world, many things can be assumed through careful attention to detail. I admire the main character, but I look forward to getting to know her on a deeper level in the coming books.

While reading the second half of the book I often found myself wishing the author went through more of Alina’s thinking processes. She made many decisions towards the end I felt didn’t quite match up with her character from the beginning of the book. I 100% understand she changed both mentally and physically from the beginning of the book to the end; I’d just like to see her change happen slower and more realistically.

Huge props for the plot twist, it’s rare I find one I didn’t see coming. I think for many others, though, the plot twist will be slightly more obvious; unfortunately, I was blinded by the Darklings’ good looks and easy charm, same as Alina I suppose. I hate to admit it, but towards the end not only did things seem rushed but Alina and Mal’s reconnection seemed awfully cheesy to me. And talk about predictable.

I will admit I simply loved the author’s descriptions of secondary and even background characters. I found it easy to like people like David, Genya, Marie, Nadia, and Baghra with Alina (the main character) having only little interactions with them. Overall I’m looking forward to the last book for a multitude of reasons; reason number one this book being phenomenal. A definite four out of five stars!

Buy the book here!

A Court of Thorns and Roses

For a while, Ky has been begging me to read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Finally, the wait was too much, and she bought it for me herself while we were brainstorming at the bookstore. (That was our first meeting regarding this blog, by the way.) But I didn’t start reading it until about a week ago. I finished reading it two days later. That book is now my favorite book in the world.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (or ACOTAR for short) follows Feyre (pronounced as Fey-ruh) through a troublesome time. At the beginning of the story, she kills a giant wolf with an ash arrow. The wolf is later revealed as a faerie when his friend crosses the wall separating faerie and mortal lands in order to either kill Feyre or bring her to his court, which she chose. From then on Feyre learns about the faeries and while trying to escape, she falls in love with Tamlin, the handsome faerie who is keeping her. She must break the curse among the Faerie lands by killing the mysterious Amarantha.

ACOTAR is a literary masterpiece. Usually, my logical brain is not a huge fan of fantasies. But this book stole my mortal heart. Instantaneously I fell in love with the characters, especially Lucien, whose fiery wit made me laugh out loud within five minutes of first reading his name. The characters are all believable and thoroughly described. I had to take mental notes throughout reading the book to improve my own writing skills.

Characters weren’t the only thing Sarah J. Maas described well; another aspect is imagery. I felt as though I was witnessing the book firsthand. The storytelling is marvelous. I was also impressed by the structure and vocabulary of the book—although not quite as impressed as I am with the rest of the story. But, it was still magnificent.

After I finished reading the first book, I begged my mother to let me buy the second on my kindle for $5.11. She allowed it, and now I am reading it nonstop. I had to peel my eyes away from the book just to write this review. I’m looking forward to reading more of Sarah J. Maas’s books, as I am to seeing pictures of her new baby!

All in all, this book was amazing. I’d recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind a little intense romance. I rate it five out of five stars. I can’t wait to read more of Feyre’s sexy adventures.

Buy the book here!

Sky in the Deep

This weekend, in my local Barnes and Noble bookstore, I found myself drawn to the beautiful cover of the book Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young. Now, I don’t ever only buy books just for their covers, so I proceeded to open the book and read the jacket cover. This cover featured a blurb about the story, promising war, romance, and a kick-ass female protagonist. I finished the book a few hours ago and I’m disappointed to say it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

The first few chapters of the book were wonderful and fast moving. The main character, Eelyn, is in the middle of a fast-paced action scene when she spots her supposedly dead brother among the crowd. She goes after him, and this leads to the rest of the book. Once she is captured by her brother, now part of the rival clan, the Rikis, the pace of the story starts to drastically slow. Although I finished the book in one day, I found it easy to put it down and go to bed at a reasonable time.

While the author does a good job of explaining what’s going on and describing the surroundings, there is a clear lack of suspense building. Everything in this book is straightforward and to the point. There wasn’t any foreshadowing or plot twists, much to my dismay.

On the other hand, the main character and her thoughts are portrayed in a good way, making the protagonist easy to like. Eelyn, as a character, grows and develops in sync with the events in the book; her character arch is predictable but enjoyable to read.

But, the way Eelyn grew up was as a warrior: she was taught to never cry or show weakness. This is stressed and mentioned multiple times throughout the book. While I get that her journey is a hard one, I don’t understand how her upbringing of never showing weakness just crumbles and she starts crying all of the time. She is a fierce warrior, yet in a span of a few weeks, she throws away all she has grown up to believe and starts loving her enemies. For a girl with fire in her veins, as is said about her by other characters in the book, she seems awfully easy to get to comply as a dyr, a type of slave.

Now, I always love the idea of forbidden love, and I believe, though used a lot, this can still turn out good with its own twist. In this book, however, I find it hard to believe Eelyn is actually in love with Fiske, who shot her with an arrow, bought her as a slave, and said that it was all in the name of protecting her. I agree that these actions did help save her life, but were it not for him capturing her in the first place, the ENTIRE mess wouldn’t have happened. Although I believe it to be unnecessary, this was the first snowflake in the snowball effect that creates this story. The two supposed lovebirds (although the word love is never mentioned to each other, they do express strong feelings for each other) have barely spoken! I feel, as a reader, that I hardly know who Fiske is. I wish there were more dialogue to explain the feelings between the beloved Eelyn and this Fiske. Also, how exactly is Fiske able to kick Eelyn’s butt so easily? They have both trained as warriors, and Eelyn is out on the battlefield killing all of these other trained warriors like she could do it in her sleep. Then, Fiske comes along and her ass is handed to her in seconds.

I feel that overall this book was lacking in dialogue, and because of this, we don’t get to know any of the characters really well. For example, besides Fiske, there is Myra, Eelyn’s supposed best friend. We don’t really see this proven through their limited interactions. We hardly even get a glimpse of who Myra is to Eelyn.

My last wish for this book would be to have more dialogue between Eelyn and her brother. She has a lot of pent-up anger, and she’s described as being pretty furious at him. Over time they have one brief discussion and that’s it. I feel like Eelyn should’ve exploded, or there should’ve been some sort of fight; instead, the problem is just swept under the rug and never dealt with.

Despite all this, it was a lovely simple day read. It left me wanting more for character relationships because I liked the characters so much. The ending was sweet and a refreshing compared to the common cliffhanger endings. This book didn’t really ignite “the feels” in me, but it was not in any way a bad book. If you’re looking for a quick, simple read I hope you’ll take this into consideration. Through all of my nit-picky comments, I still rate the book four out of five stars.

But the book here!