I recently featured this book in one of my discussions posts of Books Left Unread. It had been sitting on my shelf when I finally decided to read it in preparation for the release of The Mirror King. I am sad to report that I may be the black sheep with this book because for me it did not live up to the hype.
Our main character is Wilhelmina, the former heir to the throne of her homeland. However, her kingdom was conquered when she was a small child and now she is an Osprey – a kind of street gang of thieves. Wil and her female companion, Melanie, assume the identities of nobles from a fallen kingdom in order for them to gain entrance to the Skyvale palace in hopes of learning secrets that could help defeat them. In the palace live the royal family, the same family that murdered Wil’s family and took her kingdom. Wil comes face to face with Prince Tobiah, who she grew up but has to act like she does not know him while she fights to win back her kingdom.
I felt completely underwhelmed by this story. It felt slow and unsurprising. It was a super slow start with what felt like zero world building. I had hoped things would be a wee bit more difficult for Wil and Melanie, but it felt as if everything was handed to them on a silver platter.
You want to enter the palace as a noble? SURE! Come on in!
You want maps? WHY NOT? We have maps for days that you can have! Nobody will ask questions at all!
You want to know the entire history of the kingdom starting from the beginning? ABSOLUTELY! Allow us to provide all of the important people in the kingdom to answer all of your very direct questions about how the inter-workings of the kingdom operate!
It cannot ever be that easy but apparently it is. Who knew? And do not worry if you do not remember that Wil’s family was murdered by Prince Tobiah’s parents because she will tell you several times on every page. She will constantly remind you that she is the rightful princess and her land was taken from her. The fact that these points were mentioned numerous times throughout every chapter gave the impression that the reader would not remember on their own. I knew Wil’s mission and her end goal, but to constantly say the same phrases over and over was a little insulting. Wil’s mind set and feelings have already been established.
The topic of magic was briefly introduced when Wil performed magic herself. I wish they talked about that more but instead, it was only to say that it was illegal. Why introduce it only to say it isn’t something that should be done?
There was also a lot of talk about a “masked vigilante” known as Black Mask running through the kingdom. I won’t lie – it was very predictable who it was. There was no real mystery or guessing involved. I knew from the moment the character was introduced.
I never connected with any of the characters and found myself not caring what happened to them. The pacing was off but not terrible. The saving grace for this book was that it was a fast read. Sometimes it felt as if Meadows rushed through scenes that should have been expanded upon just to jump into another slow scene. I wanted more depth in the characters and more world building. I gave this book a chance and very sadly, it did not live up to my expectations.