(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
YA meets high fantasy in this lush series debut about a girl who never quite fit in — and the reason why…
Evelyn might not love the confines of her village life, but she takes her small freedoms where she can get them. But everything changes when her parents decide it’s time for her to wed. Suddenly she loses her tunic and breeches, her bow, her horse, and gains rigid gowns, restrictive manners, and carriage rides.
The best way to escape is through her dreams, but as they become more and more real, Evelyn begins to worry that she is losing her grasp on reality. It is only when she makes two new friends that the truth is revealed: she is destined for far, far more than even she could imagine.
[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.]
For a debut novel this isn’t a terrible book, but it is by no means a great book. There are some good elements and some bad elements but I think the main problem that kept me from truly enjoying this book was the pacing.
The pacing was bad, if I’m honest. It was nice to start with a gentle beginning but the beginning dragged on and on and on while the plot went nowhere in the beginning. Then, when things finally started getting interesting Carly Drake just rushed through them without much explanation. I really wanted to know more about Evelyn’s fairy powers and the world she is suddenly thrust into but it’s just so confusing. There simply was not enough backstory to make me emotionally invested in Evelyn’s struggle to stabilize her new realm.
Evelyn is an okay character I suppose. She’s brave but eventually learns to admit when she needs help. She can be incredibly self-sufficient and even though she’s a stereotypical sort of girl empowerment character there’s a legitimate reason for it. The only problem I really had with her was her lack of emotions. She didn’t really seem fazed when her parents abandoned her, when she learned the life she was living was a lie, etc. Even during that rather disturbing scene at the very end of the novel I couldn’t feel her panic. As for the love triangle, well there was nothing unique about it. It’s pretty much the same old love triangle you’ve seen in every other YA book today.
The writing itself was not bad, however. Carly Drake has some potential here with her style of writing; she just needs to work a little bit more on the plot elements. If the plot had not been so poorly paced and the world had been fleshed out a little more this could have made it into the ‘good’ category but as it stands, this one was a solid ‘meh’. I don’t feel particularly strongly about it one way or the other so I can’t in all honesty either recommend it or warn people away from it.
I give this book 2/5 stars.