I was a bit hesitant towards reading this, because this is usually not a book I’d go for, but I’m happily surprised at how much I liked it! While the beginning was a little slow for my preferences, it picked up and the ending ended up being really good. I’d rate the first third a 3 star, the second third a 4 star, and the last third a 5 star, so I’m averaging these ratings out to a 4 star! I’m glad that my streak of good books has continued, and I want to read the next one so badly, especially with that ending/epilogue.
When I first read this book, I was initially really bored. There is a [i]ton[/i] of chapters that focus on setting up the story, but I suppose that’s what needed to be done for the rest of the book (and especially because it’s the first in the series). I was actually going to quit the book because of the slow pacing in the beginning, but it started to get much better once Hunt and Bryce finally met to solve the murder of Danika. As the story unfolds, the story gets really good. The last 1/3-1/4 of the book were absolutely amazing, and left me feeling really satisfied with the book. There is a ton of action and everything climaxes at this point, with facts from the earlier parts of the book tying into important events at the end. I found that there were a lot of parallels between the overall concept between this story and ACOTAR, and it felt a little like I was reading the same book with some tweaks. For instance, there is the broken female heroine slowly falls in love with a supposed “evil” but also broken male heroine as they heal each other through their love and ultimately save the world, but I liked both of them, so it’s fine with me.
I really liked the development with Bryce throughout the story, and loved the entire reveal of her true powers at the end, especially with The Drop. I didn’t hate the whole fact that she was a “party-girl,” and I found it interesting that she was more outside of just that. Yeah, there were times where she annoyed me, but looking back, I thought she was a good character.
More interesting than her character itself, I loved Bryce’s relationships. The hate-to-love romance between herself and Hunt was executed nicely and while it can be cliche, it didn’t affect my overall enjoyment. I loved their witty banter and the constant photo-taking made me smile. Their tragic backstories bonded them together, and I thought it was nice when they each sacrificed their lives to save the other. I do find it slightly annoying how many times they’re close to death and come back to life, as I feel like it was a bit overused. It’s obvious that the main character has to survive because its a series, but I wish there were just less “miraculous recoveries from death”.
I do wish there was more to her relationship with Fury and Juniper though. I feel as if they were tossed in there, and didn’t really contribute much to the story. With Juniper, it seemed as if she just fit the role as a “supportive friend” and I don’t remember doing much else to benefit the story. I just wish she had a greater role than simply hanging out and talking to Bryce. With Fury, it was more than she just wasn’t present in the story. She seemed like a really interesting character, yet we barely heard from her until the last third of the story. I get that it might have been a character choice to highlight how missing she’s been in Bryce’s life, but I do still wish we got to see more of her.
One of my favorite relationships was the one between Bryce and Ruhn. I loved the idea of them being half-twins with Bryce being disowned from her real father, and it was interesting to see both of them develop. My heart broke for Ruhn after seeing how hard he was trying to restore their friendship, and I was nearly crying when Bryce said she finally forgave him. I’m usually more interested in the romantic relationships of books like these, but I found myself to like this friendship much more (which I did like, since it’s something different).
Moving onto the world-building, it is definitely a strong point in this book, but it can be a bit overwhelming. Especially because it is a new world, there are a ton of politics, rulers, and buildings that took me a while to understand. For most of the book, it was a bit confusing knowing the leaders and how the world operated. It might just be more of a personal thing, but I wish that there was a little less complexity to it. I did enjoyed reading about this urban, paranormal universe, and liked the fact that there was a wide range of fantasy characters. There were also mermaids, wolves, angels, and so many others that made it interesting because it changed things up a little. I also absolutely love fae books of any kind (most of my favorites have them in it), and of course, loved their inclusion in this series.
I also liked the entire magic system in this book, but I was similarly confused at times. There are so many powers with lore behind them that each group has, that it is easy to get lost. However, once I began to have greater understanding of it, it definitely made the book more interesting. I liked the concept of the Starborn fae and there is definitely room for that entire ideal to carry onto the sequels of this series.
Overall, I’d consider this to be a really nice read, and I’m super glad that I decided to pick this up. I would recommend this book if you enjoyed her other novels, especially ACOTAR because of its similarities. I do get why this book isn’t for everyone but if you’re willing to pick this one up, I’d definitely say to go for it! It’s a long one and needs some patience, but it’s definitely worth it.