In the ancient river kingdom, touch is a battlefield, bodies the instruments of war. Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood.
Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother without a single scratch.
But when Mia’s father suddenly announces her marriage to the prince, she is forced to trade in her knives and trousers for a sumptuous silk gown. Only after the wedding goes disastrously wrong does she discover she has dark, forbidden magic—the very magic she has sworn to destroy.
**** Thank you to Katherine Tegen Books for providing me with a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review ****
**** Trigger Warnings: Violence, Major Sexism, and Attempted Sexual Assault ****
This was pretty disappointing especially since it’s a fantasy witch book, I expected a bit more from it. I honestly don’t know how I made it through the entire thing, it was just kind of a mess. Hopefully my review won’t be too messy trying to explain it either.
First of all this is full of tropes and normally I can handle a trope if it’s done well but this was all over the place. All kinds of tropes! It’s like instead of an actual plot we just have a jumble of tropes! It felt like I was reading every other cliched YA fantasy book out there and in the end this one didn’t add anything new to the table and I felt it was predictable. We have a special snowflake/mary sue/ chosen one heroine out for revenge, a heroine who also has special/forbidden magical powers, and a heroine forced into an arranged marriage. Just to name a few and also explain the entire plot in a few lines.
I also felt the pacing wasn’t that even (more on the slow slide) and there wasn’t a ton of action or twists. Overall I do feel the writing holds promise since I was able to finish the book without forcing myself too much.
One thing I did enjoy about this story was the feminism, the world these characters live in is extremely misogynist with women being oppressed and men saying it’s “for their own good”. Of course our Mary Sue character, Mia, comes along to challenge this (which I liked) but I felt it once again wasn’t anything really new and I wish it would have been done better.
I also didn’t like how little world building there was, another trope of the cliched YA fantasy unfortunately. We are given several kingdoms and women with powers etc, is any of it ever explained though? Nope. This always bothers me because what fun is a fantasy if I can’t get caught up in a wonderful new world?
There was so much potential for this to be amazing with the feminist tone and women with witchy powers, but the execution fell flat. I feel like I should discuss the plot more but honestly, there just isn’t much to discuss. There’s nothing new or original here and I feel like I’d be wasting my time.
The characters weren’t all that interesting either, I wasn’t compelled by their plights or their personalities. Mia, is a special snowflake who also acts incredibly selfishly a lot of the time. Quin, the prince love interest, is pretty adorable but overall a bit bland at the same time. Those are really the only two characters even worth mentioning since every side character is brought up for several sentences and that’s it.
The villain was also so ridiculously….evil. And was anything ever explained? Not really. At least not in a manner that I felt was satisfying.
One thing about the characters I did like was the bit of diversity with the love interest being bisexual and another side character being gay.
The romance, like the story, is very predictable. However, since I really liked Quin I thought the romance was bearable.
What I Loved:
- Feminist plot
- Diverse characters (LGTBQ+)
- Writing was okay
What I Didn’t Love:
- Execution of the plot fell short
- So many tropes
- Slower pacing
- No actions or twists
- Not enough world building
- Very predictable
- Characters were nothing special
- Overall very cliched
Not a book I really recommend, unless you haven’t read that many YA fantasies before then go ahead you might enjoy it! However, I just feel if you’re a fan of YA fantasy that you’ve read this same story hundreds of times already. It just doesn’t bring anything new to the table.