Okay… this book was interesting. I loved Uprooted, and also enjoyed Spinning Silver, so I was certainly excited to read another by Novik.
And, I definitely think some readers would love it. But it’s told in first person (which usually I don’t mind one away or another about this), but about 60% of the book really just feels like El telling us about the school in a simultaneously angry and matter-of-fact manner.
The school and the magic system are fascinating, don’t get me wrong, but… the plot itself and the characters both felt rather lacking to me. With such high stakes, the premise felt RIPE for intensity, danger, and some level of angst… but El is so matter-of-fact about everything, it just felt a little flat.
While the relationship between her and her classmates develops naturally, the relationship between she and Orion feels decidedly lukewarm, as does my feelings towards their characters in general.
The premise was awesome, the world-building fantastic and the audiobook was well-performed, but I guess El’s intensely pragmatic narrative just didn’t really work for me. But it might work for you! If you’re interested in a dark school of magic with high stakes, I’d check it out!
I might pick up the sequel if I see the audiobook in the library one day, but I don’t think I’ll be pining for it.
Thanks for reading!