My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Auris is nineteen, and has been living in an Orc prison since she was fifteen. She has very little memory of her life before the prison, and knows that as bad as the children’s prison life of slavery and abuse is, the adult prison she is headed for will be worse. She and a small group of friends plan an escape. They get out, but the Orcs are pursuing them, determined to recapture or kill the escapees. At the last desperate moment, Auris is rescued by a strange being, called Harrow, who claims to be a Fae. More than that, he is convinced Auris is also Fae, even though she looks nothing like any of the Fae, nor does she have use of the magic they do. As she and Harrow grow closer and Auris begins to unravel her heritage and abilities, the human world starts to close in on the Fae, and Auris will be pushed to the front lines of the battle to keep the Fae free.
This review is for the ARC edition of the book that I won.
Okay, I like Brooks’ work. I have been a fan since I first read Sword of Shannara many years ago. I was eager to read this new YA fantasy in a world completely separate from any of his others. And it was- okay. The plot is decent, with some twists and some predictable elements. The writing voice is definitely Brooks. It’s a bit more of a coming of age story (it is YA, after all) than the epic quest tales he usually writes, and that may be the problem. Auris is a bit unrounded as a character. She’s nineteen, which made her almost obsessive crush on Harrow seem a bit out of place. In a younger girl, sure, but at nineteen, even with having lived in a prison for four years, I would have thought her relation to Harrow would be less teeny-bopper. There’s action, but it sometimes lags and there are long periods of not much going on other than Auris and Harrow walking around the Fae village, or Harrow’s sister trying to teach Auris some fighting skills and open her magic talent. A lot of it just felt flat and not the pull you in and make you love everything about it that I usually find with Brooks.
Not that it is a bad book. It isn’t. There are good parts. The Fae world glitters and feels hidden away as it should. The plot, as I said, is decent, if a bit slow in parts. Where there is action, it is tense and moves pretty well. What it lacks is that bit of spark that makes a book special. I would recommend it to fans of YA fantasy and Brooks, but don’t expect a new Shannara.
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