Note: I received an ARC from Net Galley for a fair review
I wanted to like this book. The Fae aren’t a species I normally read about: if/when I do go preternatural, I’m more of a vampire kind of gal. The more mature tone of the book sounded promising and I liked meeting Cathy – an intelligent girl who ran away from the Nether to live the life she wanted to lead and the introduction of Lord Poppy had me hooked.
Then it went sideways.
The author made the mistake of setting the main plot in a parallel world…and then forgot to fill that world with likable characters. The people we meet in the Nether are the worst kind of European aristocratic stereotypes that I’ve seen in a while. Beauty is so prized above anything else that the women in this society are taken into the Nether once they hit the age of majority and then pretty much never leave because aging of any kind is frowned upon. Her sister, though vapid, is seen as a much bigger prize because she’s so much more beautiful and musically talented. Her father is physically abusive (because she is a disappointment it is inferred). Her mother emotionally abusive and complicit in the father’s abuse, never stepping in save once so that Cathy wouldn’t have visible bruises. Her aunt takes her out to lunch so she can be kidnapped and coerced into finding her missing uncle. Her fiancee muses about sending Cathy to the countryside once he’s done his duty and had a few kids, turning over a new leaf mostly after verifying to himself that her purity is still intact. He does want to get her out of her abusive home, but mainly because he thinks she’ll grow more confident out of her father’s grasp (and not, you know, because it’s good to get someone away from an abusive partner/parent). I honestly can’t think of a single character in this lot I wanted to cheer for. As such, I didn’t care at ALL about the plot and the scheming because these people deserved it.
So. Um. Yeah. I had Problems. I did hang on to the end of my version in the hopes of improvement, but alas. I do wonder if I really had a full book because it seemed to cut off in a funny place, but by that point the book had so totally lost me that it didn’t want me to investigate.
Verdict: Skip it
Next time, I’m delving back into the world of adult (possibly epic) fantasy. I have missed it 🙂