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The Hidden Twin Hardcover – March 22, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—In this coming-of-age fantasy, the nameless teenage narrator has spent her life in hiding because her society would put her to death as an evil monster. She's a human-appearing Redwing, the magical offspring of a powerful Other who emerged from a volcanic lava pool to save her human father's life. When the Redwing disguises herself as her human twin to destroy a plant that will reveal her true nature, she's drawn into a conspiracy to seize a volcano god's power. The author has concocted an unusual setting in the ash-strewn shadows of the volcano Mol, where birds are the only animal life in evidence and the wealthy ride giant striches through grimy city streets. Many characters have hidden motivations and agendas for the Redwing and her powers, and the climax comes as a surprise, validating the protagonist's essential goodness. The contemporary-sounding commentary of the characters is occasionally jarring against the otherworldly tone of the story, but liberal helpings of mystery and danger help to pull readers along. Two potential romances with a conspirator and with the son of the Empress add to the appeal. VERDICT Purchase where Tamora Pierce's books are popular.—Beth Wright Redford, Richmond Elementary School, VT
Praise for The Hidden Twin:
"Writing in the first person, Rule uses sharp, lyrical prose to describe a culture with its own gods and monsters, mixing ancient worlds and new technology... Rule delivers a funny, exciting adventure for readers ready to move on from doe-eyed heroines swooning over rugged heroes." - Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Strange Sweet Song:
“What really makes this book stand out, though, is the Gothic and slightly dark feel to it... I definitely recommend this!” ―USA Today's "Happily Ever After" blog on Strange Sweet Song
“Music buffs will relate to Sing's passion and insecurities, and readers who enjoy a good melodrama will be captivated.” ―Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books on Strange Sweet Song
“Rule's promising writing hits the right note.” ―Booklist on Strange Sweet Song
Top customer reviews
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Quick & Dirty: This story had an interesting premise that promised magic, political intrigue, and interesting characters but ultimately failed to deliver on all counts.
Opening Sentence: We look like two ordinary girls.
I really wanted to like this book. The premise sounded amazing and, after reading the first few scenes, I thought that I would like it. Then I kept reading and noticed the gaping holes in the world-building, the strange pacing of the plot, and the general air of confusion that permeated the latter half of the book. Additionally, I was never quite able to emotionally connect to the main character.
One of the first scenes involves the main character being attacked by priests in an alleyway. The reader has only just met her and learned the broad brushstrokes of her history (including the fact that she doesn’t have a name, which seemed bizarre to me). During the fight, she unleashes magic and, despite her stated wish to not hurt the men, beats one of them almost to death after he has already surrendered. At this point, she says:
“I am a monster. I’m sorry. I—I wasn’t certain of that until just now, to be honest.” I don’t know why I say it.
To be entirely honest, I was kind of hoping for a Kaz Brekker-esque origin story after this scene, where she embraces the darkness within her unashamedly and learns master to use her power. Up until around the halfway point, I had hopes that the story would take a darker turn and explore that side of no name. Those hopes were utterly disappointed. As it was, she wavers between saying that she’s good and doing monstrous things. There is no attempt to investigate her magic further, which was likely due to the poor world-building, and very little character development. I wasn’t able to relate to the main character at all throughout the book, which likely hindered my ability to fully enjoy the story.
Besides the flaws with the main character (seriously, how does she not even have a name for most of the novel?), the world-building was confusing and barely present. I’m honestly not sure if there was more than one country in the world, what the class system looked like, and what the history of the city was. There seemed to be two types of priests but it’s not made very clear what the distinction is or how it came to be. I think that the world had the potential to be very interesting but I was just left with too many questions overall.
I thought that there was a decent balance between action and quieter scenes until the end. However, none of the scenes really packed that emotionally punch that I like in my fantasy. I was pretty ambivalent about most of what happened in the novel. The end was somewhat of a hot mess, which led to very important things being explained in about two lines. I actually had to go back and read one section over before I understood everything that happened. Some of the events seemed to come from nowhere and I never really was able to see what various character’s motivations were.
While the story did pick up toward the end, it never was good enough to save the book. Additionally, I had a hard time connecting with the characters. I do believe that this book has the potential to be good but, unfortunately, that potential was never realized.
And for the first time, I feel it—a burning, stabbing surge that shoots from the soles of my feet up through my legs, my guts, my heart, out through my fingers. The hot core of the land, the scalding blood of Caldaras itself rises through my body, joins with my spirit. We are one, it whispers wordlessly. We are everything.
I lash out at the priest, a release, an exhalation.
After only a moment, I tamp the surge of energy back down into my core, into the earth below, terrified of what I might unleash.
But now the priest is on fire.
Well. I’ve never done that before.
FTC Advisory: St. Martin’s Griffin/Macmillan provided me with a copy of The Hidden Twin. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Raised by her father with her sister Jey the Redwing twin was never even given her own name. She has lived in hiding her whole life barely ever coming out of their home. One day when her sister coaxes her out she runs into two priests when returning home that attack and try to capture her. This event starts a chain that brings our Redwing into a plot to save her city.
The Hidden Twin sounded very intriguing and had such a great looking cover that I couldn’t help but want to read it. However when finished I just came away with an it was OK feeling unfortunately.
While the writing was good and on the surface very descriptive, unfortunately I felt myself waiting to find out more of the world in which this was taking place. It also felt like it got off to such a slow start and took me a while to figure out the characters and plot. There were also still a lot of questions left for me when it ended that might have made me love it more if ever answered.
Overall, a bit different of a story but I would have liked more depth to fall in love with it.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Most recent customer reviews
Things I loved:
The unique setting.Read more
First of all, we all need to admire this cover for a minute.Read more
I loved Adi's other book, so I was quite eager to dive into this one, even if I wasn't entirely sold on the premise.
I liked Redwing well enough.Read more