I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
4 out 5 stars
May include mild spoilers.
Reading the synopsis, I was so excited! Already, the tropes I love came flowing out and I couldn’t help but rub my hands in glee. Fae? Check. Academy? Check. A potential enemy to lovers storyline? Check. Check. Check. I’m a sucker for all these things, so yes, I was pretty excited when I got the message that I could review this book.
First chapter: very expository. Does well enough to set up the story but I don’t feel like I’m in the story. I’m being told all these facts and I’m being given all this back story, that I’m not sure is great for right at the beginning. That being said, the voice of the main character is great. She’s funny and sarcastic. Sometimes it comes across as if the author is trying too hard to make her relatable and witty, to the point where’s forced. However, that could be a personal opinion on my part.
The further in I got, however, my opinion changed. I really, really enjoyed Summer. Yeah, I cringed and suffered hella badly from second-hand embarrassment, but I really got to like her the further in I read. I had some issues: some of the swearing/cursing (for Fae’s sake, hell fire, Oberon’s luck) don’t fit for Summer, especially since she’s human, she hates the Fae, etc. they also seem like Fae curses, not human ones, and since she’s so anti-Fae why does she use them? That doesn’t seem in character; there are some points (like when she declares Cal Miller had a crush on her) that made me cringe and ask ‘okay, and?’. I got the ‘oh she’s so special but doesn’t know it and everyone loves her’ vibe from that one moment and it kind of made me stop reading and put the book down. However, I actually cheered when she punched Reina and part of me wanted to ship Summer with Mack. Not going to lie. Then the other part of me said ‘strong female friendship!’ Also, I thought the necklace was a gift from her parents, but it was actually given to her by the half-fae that took her memories?
Some of the world building and history is confusing. I don’t understand when the Lightmare happened, or how long Shadows have been part of Fae life. It doesn’t quite make sense. Shadows are made out to have always been there, but I thought humans only just became aware of the Fae? There was so much going on with the world, and though I found it super interesting (really like how different the storyline is. We’re basically thrown into the aftermath of the big-bad), the exposition and what information we’re given did come across as kind of contradictory.
I will admit I couldn’t get out of my analytical mindset while reading. I did get critical. I started reading it more like a beta reader than an ARC reviewer (and that’s probably because I’m revising two novels at the moment myself) but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It definitely delivers on the ‘vampire academy meets cruel prince’ comparison, which was what drew me in in the first place.
I liked the way it was written because it isn’t overly pretentious in the way that you’re supposed to take every word of it seriously and like the author tried too hard writing it and making it perfect. It’s written like the author actually had fun with it and that’s how it’s supposed to be read. The beginning was a bit slow, but once I hit the half-way mark, I was totally invested. I’ve already recommended this book to my friend.
ALSO: some of my favourite quotes:
‘…tiny trash-talking lush.’
‘I slept with him and realised his bad boy persona compensated for a dull personality and a small dick.’ – I love Mack
‘Forget the Winter Prince. I need to find a boyfriend who dedicated a forbidden weapon to me.’