SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD
Content Warning (from the author):
-Death (lots, major and minor characters)
-Death of queer characters, but most main characters are queer and also these deaths aren’t exaaactly permanent!
-Parent death, on page and off
-Sibling death by suicide (off page)
-Gore (not excessive, but there’s, uh, a scene or two for sure)
-Mild body horror
-Mild substance addiction (alcohol)
-Enforced gender roles
-Forced marriage and pregnancy (including rape, but the latter is off page, in the past, and not involving main characters)
-Threat of rape/abuse of the main character, but the offender gets what’s coming to him before that happens.
Let me start off by saying I was super here for the premise. This was one cool idea for a novel and I did enjoy the characters and I loved the diversity in the LGBTQ+ rep and it was the first time I had a book that just full out said from the start, ‘we’re doing a poly relationship.’
I did the Illumicrate readalong and it was nice to read feedback from others as I went along with my notes as well.
That being said, as much as I wanted to utterly adore this book, it ended up falling a tad flat for me.
A lot of it was to do with pacing. This felt like it should have been epic, perhaps the size of like a Game of Thrones novel with everything Strickland wowed us with, but instead it wasn’t and instead it felt rushed around the second half.
Rovan was young and stubborn and unapologetic and I loved her, I loved the other characters as well but then we didn’t get to know the other characters, and in fact though it was a poly relationship I really didn’t feel that Lydea got the time she deserved in the book, and it felt very shallow in relationship terms. I felt she was more of someone tossed into fit the poly angle rather than it being poly because Rovan was with Lydea AND another.
This plot was heavy but it was rushed through. Rovan became so suddenly powerful and as suddenly everything seemed to resolve itself.
The villain is not really part of the book until the end and then dealt with so swiftly that there was no consequence there was no relief felt. It was a blink on a page and then gone.
Saying all of this, I still enjoyed this book it was a FUN read there is no doubt about that. I was just disappointed that at the end it felt like so little when it could have been so much more for me. I would not hesitate though to recommend it and I think that there were some saving graces to it. As I said the characters were super fun to read, the author’s descriptions were wonderful and the world-building was great. So, I’m not saying this was a bad read, just maybe not for me.
This Illumicrate edition was also gorgeous so there’s always that too lol.
Ultimately 3/5 cups of coffee from me.