Not entirely spoiler free, but I let you know when to look away.
EDIT: I realize I don’t even bother to write or provide a synopsis for these books lol. But that’s ok bc that’s what Goodreads is for, right?
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
1) Characters – Lia is the YA protag we deserve, the love interests aren’t so bad after the reveal, side characters are great complimentary additions to the cast
I loved Lia from the start. I was afraid she’d be written as this cliché runaway princess, and in a way she does fit the trope. Pearson dissects the runaway princess trope well, so the applying the trope itself really did work in Lia’s favor. She’s got spunk, she’s got smarts, and she makes mistakes, which makes sense. I can’t believe I’m praising something so little like our main female protag having her own motivations and fears because that really says about the quality of the bulk of female protags I’ve seein in YA, BUT when you do it, you gotta do it well and that’s what Pearson brings to the table with Lia. Lia isn’t traditionally strong, but she isn’t a pushover either. This girl fights back but chooses her battles.
Side characters – The inclusion of side characters was a wise choice because it actually feels like Lia is interacting with REAL people. The environment feels real, and this makes Lia feel all the more real.
The Assassin – lol while I was reading this I was like this guy really sucks at his job
The Prince – somehow the voices for the prince and the assassin felt oddly similar.
The thing with the prince and the assassin characters is that while yes, the intrigue is who’s who, not giving these character more solid voices dampens the strength of the romance to up the strenght of the intrigue. This only made me more confused because it was hard to tell Rafe and Kaden apart. Four way confusion with two characters.
*SPOILER SPOILER SKIP SKIP DONT READ IF YOU DONT WANT SPOILERS*
Kaden – MAN IDK I LOVED KADEN A LOT MORE THAN I THOUGHT I WOULD after the reveal. Yeah, he sucks at his job, but there’s an endearing quality to him. What a moe assassin.
Rafe – I was kinda eh before the reveal because I had a hunch on who was who and I was right. I only really started liking him at the very end when he pretended to be the Prince’s emissary
Also worth mentioning after Lia gets kidnapped, I LOVED LOVED LOVED that scene where she had to bury Walther. My god. This is character writing at its finest. FOINEST.
*SPOILERS ARE OVER, WELCOME BACK*
2) Writing and World – fucking great i loved it all
The writing is very lyrical. It starts strong and end strong because not only is the narrative cohesive and the tone consistent, but the extra tidbits from the Morrighan and Vendan holy texts were an excellent touch you don’t see too often in YA fantasy these days (or so I’ve seen lol). The world feels very complete even though I myself couldn’t figure out what the cryptic texts meant.
3) Romo – weakened by the fact we didn’t know who the heckie was who but at least the triangle is a line now.
I already mentioned how we sacrificed concrete character for intrigue until we figured out who was who. This was what pulled the book down for me, but it didn’t dampen my overall enjoyment of the book.