My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am so glad I read this series.
The thing is, I get why people may not like this duology. It might seem kind of slow, and I get that not everyone will like these characters. For me, however, these books were a conglomeration of all of my favourite things.
Things I liked:
– The setting. Montenegro??? Eastern European mountains????
– The characters, especially Iris. Iris is not a likable person, but she was very realistic and not a Mary-Sue at all. She is confused and quite mean and I could understand her at a spiritual level. I also loved how amazing Malina’s character turned out to be in this book. None of them go through any particularly revealing epiphany about themselves, nor do they change a great deal, but they grow stronger with every tragedy life throws at them.
– The magic. I like how it began as something very frivolous, something only capable of generating beauty, but ended up having the potential to save the world.
– The romance(s). I kept comparing this duology to the Shadow and Bone series (The Grisha Trilogy), mainly because of the romance arc. Fjolar made me feel almost everything the Darkling did, and whatever he lacked was made up for Luka. I had hated Mal in Shadow and Bone, but Luka made me laugh and cry and hurt. Plus, you have Niko and Malina, perfect together and complete cinnamon rolls.
– The writing. Lots of reviewers have criticised the author for her “purple prose”, but I found the language just perfect. It was not overtly flower-y and poetic to the point where it lost meaning (*cough*The Star-Touched Queen*cough*). It had better language than the usual simplistic or at times cliche YA novels.
What I did not like:
*I* didn’t dislike ANYTHING. But, once again, I get that it is possible to find this book slow, and if you do not like the characters, you possibly may not like the story.
I’d say this book has a very specific kind of target audience. If you like a sort of witchy, dark vibe to fantasy novels where the characters may not be always likeable, and if you like descriptive writing and beautiful settings, read this book. As a biased fan I would say that even if you aren’t sure you like these things, just give this series a go. I’ll go buy the hardcover for the first book, practice wiccan rituals, and move to Montenegro now, thank you.