If there is one thing I like, it is a gorgeous cover on a book. And let’s be honest – this is a stunning cover. Just looking at it makes me thing this story is full of strategy, deceit, betrayal, and mystery. Sadly, none of those were really in this story. Instead, I read a very drawn out and thin plot told from the POV of 5 people, few of which were actually interesting.
I want to start off by saying that a lot of people will compare this to Game of Thrones but I’m here to say 1) I’ve never seen that show so I wouldn’t make that comparison, and 2) this could not possibly be more different from GoT if it tried.
The setting felt as if it was the best part of this story. I could immediately picture myself on the land and in the countries Green described. What I could not get into or truly enjoy were the characters. The story is told from 5 POVs, like I mentioned. Catherine, the princess of a horrid king who only uses her as a pawn in his warmongering game; March, a servant to a king and comes from the country Abask that no longer exists; Ambrose, the faithful bodyguard to Princess Catherine and he has an not so secret crush on the Princess; Edyon, a thief that is told by March that he is in fact the bastard son of a prince; and Tash, a self-proclaimed demon hunter who is quick on her feet and obsessed with boots, especially soft gray ones. This book is over 500 pages and the story told by these five characters is weaksauce. The plot was stretched incredibly thin. I don’t know how it made it until the end other than spit and well wishes. The characters themselves did not actually physically occupy the same place until page 474 of 523, or 87% into the book. That is far too damn long to have these individual stories continue with no end in sight.
The characters did not feel very flushed out so it was hard for me to connect with them. I felt bad for Catherine being forced to marry someone she had never spoke to but that was the only thing I really felt. The chapters were nothing longer than 2 or 3 pages so there was not enough time to truly get to know the players in this game.
There was supposed to be some type of suspense or mystery but I failed to see it. It was very clear to see who was good and who was bad – there was never any question about it. Catherine’s dad? Bad. Catherine’s betrothed’s father? Good. Ambrose? Good. March’s friend, Holywell? Bad. It was just that cut and dry.
There are also two romances in this story and sadly both fell flat. Catherine and Ambrose then March and Edyon. Catherine and Ambrose did nothing more than think about being with one another, but never had a stronger thought than touching a hand or brushing an arm in passing. There was just no chemistry so I never cared what happened to them. March and Edyon claimed they felt an attraction to the other but never acted on it nor did they really show any outward signs.
Overall I found myself rather bored with this story. I finished it because, even though it is a very long book, it was a quick read. I kept hoping something big or substantial would happen but it never did. There was a lot of talk of “demon smoke” in the story but it seemed to have played a very minor role overall. I do hope it will be expanded upon in future books but who knows. Part of me wants to know what happens next but I don’t know if I’m really intrigued enough to continue.