Okay… so, I started out thinking I wouldn’t finish this book… but it won me over.
I put this book on hold from the library months ago after seeing it recommended on Twitter, and to be honest, I spent the first 40% wondering what on earth all the fuss was about. So, keep in mind, I like snappy, fast-paced books as a rule, but I’m not going to lie, this beginning is S.l.o.w. Although the MC is likeable, we are beset with world-building and an overdose of internal monologue (which stretches throughout the book.)
HOWEVER. I was glad I hung in there, because around 50% this book finally came alive. I really liked both Poppy and Hawke, their chemistry pops of the page, the steam is well done, and honestly, their relationship is one of the few I think I can honestly classify as “complicated.” I loved the idea of the ghastly Craven, although I wished we would’ve spent just a little more time with how horrifying this would be, and I really liked the gritty action scenes. With the ample foreshadowing, none of the plot twists were particularly surprising, but I enjoyed them none the less. The Maiden concept seems a bit contrived and cringey (by design) and Poppy’s emotions gave me a little whiplash at the end, but it didn’t seem terribly out of place considering what she goes through.
So, although I’m not exactly dying to read it, I’m definitely still interested to see how she and Hawke’s doomed romance turns out, and I have put it on hold from the library (#15 on 1 copy 😂) . A few caveats: Hawke definitely has the player badboy with a past thing going on, so if you don’t like that, this isn’t for you. There’s also a few F-bombs sprinkled in, so if you don’t like that—also not for you. That said, I’d totally recommend to anyone else looking for a steamy high fantasy that takes its time.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½
Thanks for reading!