I received this free digital ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister s debutante spell an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic Anna finds herself exiled to her family s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.
Her life might well be over.
In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noemi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gabor. Not the society she s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.
As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romani, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.
Get on with it!
This book started off at a slow pace and… simmered out from there. Honestly, the entire book just dragged on and on and on. The main plot kept getting delayed by this thing or another and was then diverted by other characters and their introductions. It was like a book of 90% filler and only 10% actual plot.
Clipped and Jarring
This is likely just a writing style, meaning this author may not be for me, but I absolutely detested the way in which this book was written. Each chapter had multiple scenes within them, but the chapters were still of average YA length. In other words, the 4+ scenes per chapter were short, clipped, and lacked continuity. The story felt disjointed, which made it difficult to fully immerse myself and actually connect with anything that was going on.
The main character of the story, Anna, is sixteen and seventeen during this story. She’s a teenager and likely to make stupid decisions. That I can accept. However, when her voice in the story sounds more like a twelve-year-old than a teenager, I grow frustrated. I wasn’t expecting to read middle grade and, yet, that’s what much of the story felt like.
Oh look! A cliche…
Ugh! I can’t understand how cliches are still found in YA literature given the numerous debates and frustrations readers have about them, but I guess they sell and I guess people still enjoy them. I, however, do not. And I did not enjoy them in this book. I’m really over the whole: one of a kind, saves the world, all men love her, but all women hate her cliche. Like… can’t we get a new cliche, at least? Something a tad more original?
Oh, how little I care
I tried. I really did try to like this story, but I didn’t. Part of that was because of my dislike for the overly selfish, childish, idiotic main character. Unfortunately, because I cared little for Anna, it was difficult to care about anyone else, especially when she seemed to face every other person in the story with disdain. Thus, I can’t name a single character I cared about in this story and it’s only be sheer perseverance that I made it all the way through.