This is my first review being posted here – yay! (If you want to check out more of my reviews, visit my Tumblr page.)
I really, really loved this book. It does start off a bit slow – there’s a lot of world building and getting to know the characters which is typical for the beginning of a book (even more so when it’s the beginning of a series) but once the action starts it literally does not stop. I honestly loved pretty much everything about this book. I found the plot very interesting (even if the concept of being “Chosen” is a bit cliche – I found there was plenty of originality to keep it from being boring and overdone), the characters were fascinating and complex, and the the fantasy elements were awesome too.
POV switches between Leonie, a 17-year-old who “awakens” and finds out she and her dad are both “Chosen” – basically meaning they have magical powers and come from another realm, and Korren, a kytaen (shapeshifter who shifts between a human form and a beast form) who has been imprisoned but then is selected to protect Leonie. It was really refreshing to have characters who were complex and really experienced and expressed a wide range of emotions – it’s something that is so essential to writing good characters, and yet something that I often feel is lacking. But both Leonie and Korren have their good and bad moments, their positive and negative emotions, and I felt they were really well written.
I was initially kind of shocked to go on Goodreads and see at least a few reviews saying that Leonie was annoying and that they hated the book because of her, but I can kind of see where they’re coming from (even though I definitely do not share their opinion). She can be a bit whiny and overly sarcastic – but I think this fits really well for a 17 year old character, which is probably why it didn’t annoy me at all. And let’s face it – if I were pulled out of my life of normalcy and told that I would eventually be expected to pretty much single-handedly protect a magical world I had never heard of before, I’d be pretty whiny about it too. The only thing I didn’t like about Leonie’s character (well, less about her and more about how Simlett writes her) is that she sometimes uses words that I personally think are just too complex/sophisticated to be words that someone uses in their everyday vocabulary. Korren does it too, but given that he’s thousands of years old, it fits, whereas with Leonie it kind of seems like they were thrown in there just to make the writing seem more sophisticated and, like I said, it just doesn’t fit how people talk.
Overall, this is a really great book that I am so happy to have read. It’s very interesting, and once the action started to pick up, I couldn’t put it down. I will definitely be looking to read the next book in the series when it comes out. I recommend it to any fan of YA fantasy.
I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley.