Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: July 6th, 2021
Pages: 336, paperback
From the author of Mask of Shadows comes a dark and intricate story of a girl who must tether herself to a violent ruler to save her crumbling world.
Lorena Adler has a secret—she holds the power of the banished gods, the Noble and the Vile, inside her. She has spent her entire life hiding from the world and her past. She’s content to spend her days as an undertaker in a small town, marry her best friend, Julian, and live an unfulfilling life so long as no one uncovers her true nature.
But when the notoriously bloodthirsty and equally Vile crown prince comes to arrest Julian’s father, he immediately recognizes Lorena for what she is. So she makes a deal—a fair trial for her betrothed’s father in exchange for her service to the crown.
The prince is desperate for her help. He’s spent years trying to repair the weakening Door that holds back the Vile…and he’s losing the battle. As Lorena learns more about the Door and the horrifying price it takes to keep it closed, she’ll have to embrace both parts of herself to survive.
DNF at 22%
This should have been right up my alley. Some light Beauty and the Beast elements in an interesting fantasy world? I should have loved this.
The issue started right off the bat with the world-building. There’s a lot of information thrown at the reader in the first few chapters, which isn’t explained well and left me deeply confused. The basic idea of it is intriguing, but the way Miller went about presenting her world made a muddle of it.
The biggest issue I had was with Lorena. The book is told from her perspective, in first person, and it’s almost as if the book was written in third person for all that we see Lorena’s thought processes or emotions. She barely even reacts to things. At one point, another character tells Lorena to kill her, and there’s no in-text reaction from Lorena, either outwardly or inwardly. This is made far more apparent when she meets three side characters who frankly outshine her in every way. I could have read a novel about those three characters. I could not continue reading a novel about Lorena, who came across more as a placeholder for the reader than a character in her own right.
So, it’s a no from me, unfortunately.