**I received this book as part of Bloomsbury YA's Cinderella is Dead Australian bookstagram tour**
Let's start with good points:
- I loved the whole fairy tale world but make it dark business that this book had going. I enjoyed how the author took elements of the original fairytale and wove them into her own narrative.
- The world-building was great - I fully felt the inhabitant's suffering and injustices, probably because so many were reflective of real world issues.
- It was fast-paced and generally an easy read. I've struggled with fantasy recently simply because I've been working on my own edits and my brain was a firm no when it came to reading anyone else's work so I was glad to be able to read this without feeling like I was having to force myself.
- The MC Sophia and fellow character Constance were strong female portages, which I love - also I love a girl with a dagger. Or any other pointy sharp weapon for that matter.
- While I appreciate that the author was trying to reflect real world issues within this fantasy-verse, I found many to be very on-the-nose and rather unsubtle. Instead of allowing me to come to the realisation of what the issues were, they were slammed down on the proverbial table in front of me and pointed out rather forcefully, which was a bit jarring at times.
- I wasn't terribly convinced of the MC's chemistry with the love interest. Don't get me wrong - I love a great f/f relationship - but I just didn't feel it here.
Now for spoilers:
- I found Sophia's friendship with Luke super rushed. And while I liked Luke as a character, his being there didn't do much for the story in general.
- Liv's death didn't affect me as much as I would've liked and I have a feeling it's because we didn't get to know her well enough before she was killed.
- Everything that happened at the cottage felt like a series of disjointed events - nothing seemed to happen organically
- And then there was the weird moment where Amina got all inspirational out of nowhere, despite being rather reluctant at all to help
- ok - I really liked how Constance had a collection of stories from all over which included ones about Snow White etc. That was cool.
- The Cotillian was a bit of a deus ex machina - something that hadn't happened before all of a sudden occurring in order to give the characters a way in to the castle? I wouldn't have minded if they hadn't had it, since the Cotillian being a thing didn't really have any other reason to exist. Everything that happened after Sophia got into the castle happened away from the Cotillian and the rest of the city's inhabitants. They could've somehow snuck into the castle another way, but that's just me.
- I saw the whole girls-being-drained-of-their-lifeforce twist coming a mile away but I was pleasantly surprised by Amina being the King's mother. Love a bit of backstabbing, even if she actually wasn't.
Overall, despite all the points above, it was a sold debut and I still enjoyed this read. I look forward to what Bayron comes out with in the future.
- (no comments)