This book was AMAZING. Perfect. Defintiely a new favorite.
Praise. All the praise for this author. There was not one page that made me want to skip ahead. There was not one character that I didn't like reading about, no matter how small their role was. In fact, I really liked how the author managed to weave the stories of all these different characters together, and how she gave me just enough background to make me care about every single one of them.
The world building was fantastic, I could imagine everything vividly and the story just pulled me right in from the first page and never let up. Quite a feat for any book, as I get so very easily distracted.
It's hard picking a favorite character. It really is. But I think I enjoyed Lila the most (Surprise, surprise, I know). She's a badass in such a delightful way. I love when a character owns their struggles and transforms them into emotional strength and doesn't go whining about or complaining, telling their sad, sad story to anyone who'll listen to gain pity; or when they go the other way and transform into absolute jerks who only bitch and treat people like crap. Man, was she like a breath of fresh air for kickass heroines. What I'm saying is: No Martyr Complex. No Bitchy behavior just because she had it rough. And it didn't strike me like sha had a superiority complex, despite the way she acted. Lila knew what she was capable of and seemed to be aware of her limits despite the way she flirted with danger. I liked her honesty, her wit, her resourcefulness and her loyalty. She is so smart! I kept marveling at the way she pieced everything together on her own, and how things didn't have to be explained to her twice. I LOVED that she was so open-minded about magic and took everything in stride. I especially liked that all of this was made believable and just fit with her character. I never once thought "Oh, that's convenient."
I also felt a kinship with Lila. Her wanderlust and desire for something more, something different, resonated with my own. I understood her desperation. The feeling of being stuck. That urgency to be somewhere else and not having the resources to get there just yet. The impatience of it all and wanting to say to hell with this and risk everything. (If anything I lack her courage to do just that).
It was her favorite one, that map, because none of the places on it were labeled. Surely, someone knew what kind of map it was, and where it led, but Lila didn't. To her, it was a map to anywhere.
I'm rooting for her to get everything she wants and more. So much more.
I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still.
But I must say, the moment I completely fell in love with Delilah Bard was when she shut down Kell's pity party and gave him a good dose of reality. Spare me the mangst. I really can't stand it and I was so delighted when Lila decided not to have any of it from Kell.
I love Kell to bits, but even I was rolling my eyes at his whole speech about him being a possession. On one hand, I understand where he's coming from, and why he feels insecure and less
loved; but on the other, he's exaggerating and over-dramatizing everything. He even sort of admits to this. There's no doubt Rhy loves him like a brother, and that he truly cares. Perhaps, The King and the Queen's feelings don't run as deep, but the love is there.
And can we say it is completely their fault that he feels that way? No. Not really. Not when Kell still hesitates to call them father and mother, and when he won't even sleep in his own chambers most of the time. In my opinion, it's partly his fault that he keeps feeling like a stranger in his own family.
In any case, the moment he began complaining about it, I was glad Lila put a stop to it.
"You poor thing," said Lila coldly , pushing him away. "What do you want? Pity? You won't find it from me."
"You have a house, if not a home,"she spat. "You have people who care for you if not about you. You may not have everything you want, but I'd wager you have everything you could ever need, and you have the audacity to claim it all forfeit because it is not love. Love doesn't keep us from freezing to death, Kell," she continued, "or starving, or being knifed for the coins in our pocket. Love doesn't buy us anything, so be glad for what you have and who you have because you may want for things but you need for nothing."
And as I said, it's not like Kell lacks for love either. As nobody who has read this book could deny that Rhy's love for Kell runs deep.
Kell is a great character as well. Yeah, he's insecure and a little bitter, but he doesn't dwell on it and he was quick to admit that he was wrong and apologized to Lila for acting like a spoiled brat, and almost throwing himself a pity party in front of her.
What I enjoy most about Kell was his patience towards everyone, especially Rhy and Lila. My favorite scenes had to be when he tried to reason with Lila though and she was having none of it. When he tried to take the stone from her, and she slashed his palm with her knife, and he still said "Please," I was like boooy, you're one extremely patient dude. I found it adorable.
There's a certain chemistry between these two that just feels so right without it being romantic (at least not yet). They just...fit. I love their bickering and their banter. The way they learned about each other, and slowly came to care about the other's well-being. I like that there wasn't any insta-anything, to be honest. Not even insta-friendship. There was a pull, yeah, but the progression of their relationship wasn't forced or rushed.
Now, the other very important relationship in this book was Kell and Rhy. My poooooor heaaart. These two. The bond and affection between these two characters absolutely destroyed me in the best way. It makes you kind of envious, to be honest.
You are mine, Kell, and I will break you. Starting with your heart.
I made dying noises when I read that, and I was so, so scared for both of them.
I can't wait to read the second book, and will probably download it from Amazon when I'm done writing this review. A dumb move, certainly, as the third book won't come out until February of next year, and I'm sure to devour the second just as I did with this one. Maybe I should pace myself... but I doubt I have enough self-control. Fml.
Five stars for this perfect piece of work.