2 out of 5 stars
Unfortunately I never connected with this story in any way. I found myself skimming a lot to get through it if I’m being completely honest. The characters all seemed one dimensional. The only one we get a sense of in any way is Shae and truly only in that whatever desire driving her in a moment was the most important thing ever and worth anything with no thought to the consequences or what happens after she gets what she wants. The rest we really didn’t get to know much at all.
The worldbuilding and plot felt a bit shakey at times to me as well. We start out with the idea that this illness, the blot is ravaging places and then jump to years later when mostly it’s just the memory/fear of it that is around, and by the end it rolls back in with a twist. The blot was the whole reason people lived in fear of words and writings and pretty much everything and looked to the Bards and their blessings to fix literally everything. We got a peek behind the Bard’s curtains and it left me with more questions than answers. I didn’t love that sometimes magic, aka the Tellings, were used to fill gaps. Like Shae magically learning how to read pretty much instantly. There was a few situations that just didn’t add up that just got vaguely explained to us almost like an afterthought with no straight line of getting there.
To me it was like the author got the formula for what makes a standard YA Dystopian/Fantasy and then didn’t worry about adding any unique depth or flare to it. There was an interesting idea here, I just wish more time would have been spent really filling it out.
All things combined made for a story I couldn’t find anything to really root for or find myself wanting to even know more about in the end.
I received an arc of this book from Wednesday Books via Netgalley and this is my honest review.