In search of the ultimate story, finding many good ones on my way. Take a look if you want to see what I found so far.
Hmmm, to quote one of my buddy read friends "the hype is a lie". If I wouldn't have read this with other people that shared my opinion, I would have been inclined to believe I've read something else than everybody here. 99% of the reviews marked this as a 4 or 5 star read. I barely managed to give this a 2, and that's only because I liked the ending.
80% of this book I wanted to give this a 1. Not because it's a particularly bad book, but it has no tension in it, nothing too keep you focused, to make you care for the characters or the story. All in all, it was a pretty dull read :(.
From here on, spoilers will follow. It's hard to talk about this book without mentioning what happened, and since so little happens, I'm probably going to mention all of it in this review.
What it was supposed to be: a heart-gripping forbidden love story between the general's daughter and her slave.
What it was: an unbelievable insta-love between a Mary Sue and her 'acts like a king in command' slave. Really, Arin did whatever he pleased with Kestrel. He commanded and she obeyed. She was not a spineless character, but it's like her brain cells melted whenever she was in his presence. Not an enjoyable sight.
It's also an incredibly boring story. It's true what people say, that the second half is a little more interesting. A little more interesting does not equal 'not boring'. :(
Kestrel: She doesn't look like a general's daughter. She a gossip, kinda spoiled and doesn't know how to make herself heard. She reminded me a lot of Lilac from "These Broken Stars". The daughter protected by her father. She's kinda oblivious to a lot of things. Her being a strategist, I was hoping she would have a sharper mind. But she uses her mind only when she needs to save herself or someone she loves. I also find her character inconsistent. Sometimes she's strong and courageous, just to turn helpless and scared afterward. She's also heartless and cares only for her own well being. When she sees her city in flames she feels no grief, no real one that I can tell from her actions anyway. She's not a strong female lead, if that's what the cover suggested. To be strong means to have the power to protect others as well as yourself.
Arin: He should be the spy sclave, but he doesn't act like either a spy, or a slave. He's proud, he speak against his mistress wishes and just does whatever he likes. WTF? Try to act a little you dumb guy. He gets her in all sort of trouble, but doesn't really care, except when she almost dies for him.
I actually don't care for him, or Kestrel. I just failed to connect with both of them. They are way too confused. I can't really understand what they want, or need. And I think they don't know that about themselves either. I feel like I'm reading about 2 teenagers stuck between a war, unable to take sides.
Everybody else: They are not important. They might die, or live. The author does not care, the main characters do not care, I felt like I was the only one sad when everybody at the ball got poisoned. Kestrel begs Arin to get the cure for her friend, Jess. She herself goes to deliver this to Jess in order to be sure that none of the other sick people (her people) recieve the cure. What a heartless person. She doesn't care about anyone except her friend. All the rest can rot in hell. She has nightmares about her attempted rapist, not about the way everyone was killed at the ball and how the city burned.
So yeah, this WIIUU romance was supposed to be the main plot of this book, but it felt flat. The romance in this one seems so forced.. argh... I don't even understand what she sees in him? Is it because he beat her at cards? Really, they have so little interaction that it's unbelievable that she even noticed him. She probably felt for his face, duh <.<.
Actually, if you look at it a little closer, she's the only one who's fighting for "their relationship". She fought with a nobleman for him! I mean, she risked her life for Arin and I was hoping the spark will finally start after that, but the only thing that happened was that they don't see each other for another month untill she recovers from her injuries. When that dreaded kiss finally took place I couldn't even start to care. Gezz... talking about no tension in this book. <_<
The so called love triangle was never a triangle. Ronan never had a chance, or a second glance, to begin with. I can't even believe he proposed to her. It was out of nowhere, just like everything else regarding the romantic plot in this book.
Now let's take a good look at the inconsistency of the plot after the ball incident. They poisoned them and killed or imprisoned the ones who didn't drink the wine or were still strong enough to fight. In this situation, when they just wanted them dead, what use was it to keep the dying poisoned people in bed? Keep them and care for them. How did Ronan end up in the dungen? I think all these were inconsistencies made so that the main character still has some friends alive.
Also, after she found our about everything Arin did, Kestrel didn't grieve for her people, for his betraiel, she just wanted to run and get away, alone, like the selfish bitch she is.
This quote will sum it all:
"As his people positioned themselves in and around the pass, Arin thought that he might have misunderstood the Valorian addiction to war. He had assumed it was spurred by greed. By a savage sense of superiority. It had never occurred to him that Valorians also went to war because of love.
Arin loved those hours of waiting. The silent, brilliant tension, like scribbles of heat lightning. His city far below and behind him, his hand on a cannon's curve, ears open to the acoustics of the pass. He stared into it, and even though he smelled the reek of fear from men and women around him, he was caught in a kind of wonder. He felt so vibrant. As if his life was a fresh, translucent, thin-skinned fruit. It could be sliced apart and he wouldn't care. Nothing felt like this."
OH.PLEASE.STOP! I cannot take this level of bullshit all at once. Did this author even read a book about war? Listened to someone talk about his experience on the battelfield? His real experience I mean. About a real war, not just: they went to war, they won, they returned.
Nobody starts a war for love! They start it to gain something: money, land, resources, pride, freedom. There is no way you can asociate love with war, nor is the battlefield a pleasant place, unless you are crazy and like to see chopped bodies all around you.
And once more we see how useless Kestrel can be. She escapes with no food or water and doesn't even try to catch some fish while she's waiting for the wind to start again. If her father teached her how to fight and plan, did she really get no survival instruction from him?
Decent enough, although it started another love triangle that I should morn over. I probably would have, if I could care for the characters, but so far, no such luck. It also was too little too late. I don't read a book for the ending, I read a book to enjoy it and if the ending is also good all the better. A good ending can't save a bad book. :(
All in all, a weak book and not even the gorgeous cover could melt my brain cells to accept all the nonsense going up in it. Curse you book-cover designers. I still want this book on my bookshelf, even if I know the inside if crap. Maybe that's why we get tricked by pretty people so easily. They are so nice to look at that we don't want to admit how ugly the inside can be.
Thank you to my buddy friends and the audiobook version for helping me to finish this book. I don't know if I'm going to read the next book in this series. Right now I'm giving a definite no, but we never know what the future holds for us. :)