Despite my rating, I must admit that there was nothing technically wrong with this novel. It is a book I would have liked, might have even loved, if I had read it in 2013. Sadly, I read it in 2017: four years too late. So, why only two stars? Because it was extremely generic. That is why.
The writing is fairly decent. The characters aren’t half bad. The plot is pretty straightforward. But none of it is original. I have read this same story so many times before that nothing here seemed surprising. The author didn’t even add some new twist to the tired tropes to at least pretend it was a novel idea.
The YA book community seems to go through phases. Back when Twilight was a thing, it was the boom of paranormal romance. Everywhere you turned there were witches and vampires and werewolves. Then The Mortal Instruments took the stage and it was all about that urban fantasy, which was basically a paranormal romance with a lot more gore and inner cities. Then came the age of the dystopia, brought forth by the Hunger Games. Every YA was about some oppressed society or the next, and of course a badass 16-year-old ready to topple it down. Now, a new age has been ushered in: the YA fantasy. I don’t know which book sparked this, but it has been going nonstop for a while now.
At first, YA fantasy was shiny and new. Everyone was sick and tired of dystopia and all that jazz. It had become too predictable. So, of course, we all ran to the novelty that was YA fantasy (I am aware that YA fantasy has been around for a long while, but this is when it has reached its peak). Now, I am very sad to say, fantasy has run its course. All of them are the same. All have the same government, the opposing factions, the magic system, the fiery heroine. It seems originality has run dry in this genre and soon a new one will rise to take its place.
This is the problem with this book. The fact that it is exactly like all the other YA fantasy novels that have been written since 2013.
We have a special snowflake with a special ability who is destined to do some special thing. We have the dark and brooding teacher with a dark past and a
predictable shocking secret.We have the wise, old, super powerful mentor, the parent that dies 3% into the story, the elemental based magic system, the generically evil ruler, the greater evil in the world (just in case you thought the king was the true baddie), and let us not forget grand ol’ plot twist (that I may or may not have seen coming). All living within the generically divided world that is fighting a generic war.
Now, I feel the need to repeat, this book is not a bad book. If you are new to the YA fantasy scene, I might recommend it (although I would probably recommend Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo first). If you have been here for a while there is a decent chance you might still like it, just go into it knowing that this is not a new story.
I really wish I would have liked this. I so desperately wanted to like this book. It’s been a while since I was fully engrossed in a novel. This just kinda fell flat. It did have its moments, though. The beginning was good. The middle dragged. The end was aight. And hey, no love triangle! Although, the synopsis for book two just screams love trigonometry. I don’t know how I feel about that. I don’t even think I am going to be reading the sequel. But, who knows. It might surprise me.
If anyone has read this already, let me know what you thought of it.
Check out our 2017 Reading Challenge