Most helpful critical review
113 of 121 people found the following review helpful
Don't judge this book by my review...
on November 1, 2012
Leonie, a half faerie finds herself, along with the man she has wanted since forever, fighting evil magical forces that she barely understands.
On the positive side: It's an interesting set-up. A strong female character, who bucks the system, and finds herself with the guy of her dreams (who apparently has issues), in a world filled with magic and old castles. Medieval story fans will have lots of stuff to like here, as this has lots of long ago rituals and historical references in it's pages. People who like multidimensional characters will be ok with this book since the characters aren't perfect, ergo human.
Also, it's written with a tone that perfectly suits the time period while not being unreadable for todays audiences. The language used is modern english flavored with the occasional archaic word to make you feel like you're there and reading something from there.
And now the negative side:
I want it clear that most of my problems with this piece of work are personal issues/opinions that don't necessarily reflect how everyone else will see this story.
First off, there are several writing tropes that I personally have problems with, and a lot of them are in this book. Things like: lying in order to create tension. I understand that if each character tells the truth about their situation, the actual story will not even happen, making lying necessary for the sake of the adventure. My problem is that this sort of thing creates a false complication, a manufactured problem that no one in their right mind would even have. I end up screaming at the characters, because there is no logical reason they should keep lying after a certain point, and the only reason for them to do this is for the sake of dramatic timing to serve the story rather than common sense. Lying has it's place but should be used properly, and not abused just to make things interesting writing-wise.
Secondly, having uneven characterization is a problem. Sometimes, we as human beings can't have one single opinion on a subject. In fact, sometimes we have a certain opinion only if specific conditions are met, an opinion that we would never even consider otherwise. So having a character who can sometimes be a male chauvinist and sometimes not a male chauvinist, is ok, since it can make a character more real to have that dual nature, but only if written properly.
The Peregrine, the half faerie heroine's love interest, can't seem to decide if he's sexist or not. His behavior could have been justified using old or twisted prejudices during the time period, unfortunately it was implied in the start that he was beyond that. As it is, I felt that in the beginning of the book he was a feminist, and then suddenly he changed sides when the writer needed him to. When the female protagonist needed to have someone to prove she was a "strong female character" the Peregrine became a sexist. It served the story, but in the end, wasn't true to the character. Perhaps, it would have been better if it happened in smaller instances as well, instead of only the big story arc ones. If his dual nature also happened during quiet moments, when crazy life threatening creatures weren't trying to kill them, I might have bought it more.
This is one of the drawbacks for not having a solid character. Apart from the fact that they appear quite indecisive, they also become a random obstacle that needs to be overcome rather than an actual character. The Peregrine became a plot device that served to prop up the female protagonist instead of a living breathing person.
Thirdly, a clunky exposition character. There's a character in this book who was called upon to explain everything that's going on. He came at the very end and did it in such a long and ham fisted way. There are characters who do this sort of thing in all books, but you don't notice them because they organically tell their explanations through the course of the story. This guy came out and did his thing only because everyone was already completely frustrated. No one knew anything about what was going on, and we only had 2 chapters left for things to get resolved. Of course, he could have done this sooner, but he preferred to do it now... at the end... when it was more dramatic... when everyone was going to die... and time was of the essence... he did his thing and explained on... and on... and on... and on...
The worst part is that most of his explanations were things that came out of nowhere. Throughout the books there were a little foreshadowing things going on, but not enough to justify these sudden out-of-nowhere reasons!
Lastly, repeated words. I read more than one comment about this book that called out the fact that the author used the word "smirk" too often. I never really noticed it. Personally my problem was with the overuse of the word "haps".
The truth is, the repeated words thing, isn't really a problem. It's a style of writing. Readers have to be willing to accept such a style. Sadly, I wasn't willing to accept the style because I wasn't invested in the story. I was taken out of it too often by all the previous reasons listed here. Because of that I began to nit-pick things and notice writing nuances that I shouldn't even see.
2 stars. I personally can't deal with lying characters, and/or characters who could be explaining stuff much earlier on, and/or slightly indecisive characters. If that isn't a problem for you, and you think it's a normal thing for some books to have, so it isn't that big a deal, then don't judge this book by my review. I say this honestly and without sarcasm: Read it for the adventure, the romance, and the magic. And, Enjoy...