This book, what can I say? It started of pretty slow, it took me a good week to finish it. usually I can devour books in a couple of days.
The first chapter was rather promising, introducing Akos, and his family, as young children, but then the story line speeds up, you find yourself years ahead of where the book started and if I’m honest, because Roth has used her own time system, years are Seasons, or so I think… so it was hard to actually work out how old they were, at first (you literally have to wait until Cyra says I am sixteen seasons to actually work it out. Maybe that’s just me being a thicko though!
Then we get to the bulk of the book, and my god was I bored. The character development is somewhat feeble, one minute Cyra is helping her brother, because ‘it’s what I do’ the next she’s an out and out rebel.
One minute Cyra and Akos are enemies, the next they hopelessly in love and can’t stop thinking about each other. It just felt that, somewhere in the middle the Characters got a little muddled, their was this big open space where there should have been a relationship being built up, but Roth kind of skipped over it lightly so you didn’t feel connected to them.
Now saying that, Eijeh and Ryzek were great characters. Ryzek was a character that I just LOVED to hate, he was that dirty, not all powerful, but evil and conniving bad guy that is so overused in fantasy books, but without the use of them, what have you got? They are needed, despite what people say about them. He and his power are just what makes this book work really, not the two protagonists of the story really… And Eijeh, poor dear Eijeh, you have to hate him at the end of the book, but you still kind of love him from the very first chapter and you cling to a dim hope that he can be saved.
It was the end of the book that gripped me, the begging was ok, the middle mediocre but the end, oh how the end had me hooked and wanting more! Don’t get me wrong, the book left much to be desired, but I have every confidence that as the series progresses that it is only going to get better!
I know that Roth has had a huge backlash with this book due to the nature of Cyra’s power, she based it on chronic pain and as I understand it people who suffer it have felt as if she has been insensitive and dismissive of the effect that their illness has on their lives. however, I neither suffer nor know anyone that does, and so from a perspective that really, has no idea about the syndrome, the book didn’t seem like it was skimming over how bad the pain was, I didn’t get what everyone else was so offended at… this is not me being insensitive, it’s just me not being able to understand or comprehend the effect that chronic pain can have on ones life. I have taken the book at face value and not read too much into it.
In my opinion Roth has taken an idea and created something, neither from spite nor from lack of understanding. It is her own ideas on the subject that created this book, I don’t think she set out to intentionally offend anyone. And despite my opinion on the Akos/Cyra relationship and character development and the slow pace of the middle of the book, I actually really enjoyed it.
Overall I give this book a 3.5* rating, and would say, if you can put up with a big of a plod-pace for a couple chapters, then definitely read this book! I am 100% sure that the series can only get better!
(Plus the book looks amazing on my shelf!)