Review Detail

 
Young Adult Fiction
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0

Interesting, but many issues

I’m in two minds about this novella. While there was a part of me that was intrigued by the general premise, there were still too many moments of confusion and poor characterisation for me to fully immerse myself in the story.

One of my issues is the world building, or lack thereof. The novel starts after the conclusion of a major battle, with Tashi, the protagonist, and their best friend on the run. We don’t actually discover what happened until further in the novel, which is not usually an issue for me, but combined with the inclusion – but no explanation – of magical elements, I found myself confused for a majority of the book. The reader is not even told why the two cultures – the Thim and the Myeik – were even at war in the first place.

However, I did enjoy the general idea behind the magical system – that certain people can be inhibitors which means that they are bonded for life to the soul of an animal. But when that animal dies, the human is left in a comatose state until they succumb to starvation. Unfortunately, the execution of this idea wasn’t the best, and the world building altered frequently, to the point where I couldn’t follow along without re-reading pages.

Like the world building, the plot was puzzling. Nothing much happened for a good portion of the novella, and then we discover the central plot point at the very end. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, but as nothing really happens, my attention span was sidetracked.

I was quite annoyed by the characters, especially Tashi. While I am so so so hyped beyond words that Tashi is genderfluid, they were incredibly indecisive. They were incapable of making any decisions, and when they finally did, they changed their mind a minute later. It got quite annoying, especially in a book that is only 180 pages long. Also, I am seeing an alarming rise of YA “spies” who are just terrible spies. Tashi sneaks out to see their bonded tiger – despite being in the middle of a monastery filled with invaders – they pull a prank on a high-ranking member of the enemy’s army, and they forget to look for clues in the enemy commander’s room while the commander is away, until reminded by a friend. Just … come on.

I can’t comment on whether the explanation of the gender fluidity was done well as I am not gender fluid myself, but the author did talk about Tashi’s identity frequently, and how angry they were at being forced to change their image while in hiding. There are a few instances of misgendering, but it is always called out and corrected. What I did love about this novella is how normal sexuality and identity is viewed – there’s no shaming or judgement from other characters. They simply accept Tashi for who they are.

However, I did have an issue with the romance, and that’s probably my main issue with the novella. The love triangle felt quite unnecessary, and basically came out of nowhere. Tashi did state that they were in love with their best friend, Pharro, but as soon as they met Xian, they fell in lust with the enemy commander. I did enjoy Xian’s character though – how he was both sadistic, but had moments of vulnerability – and I can see how Tashi would be drawn to him, but there were also many moments where I just found their scenes cringy. I also didn’t understand how Tashi could be so in love with Pharro, when the reader is never really shown their relationship, aside from Tashi commenting on their crush. Just because characters are childhood friends doesn’t mean an author can get away with not properly developing a romance between them.

I think the issues I found with the novel could have been fixed if the book were longer. Writing a novella-length fantasy with complex cultures, politics, and magical systems doesn’t work too well with just 180 pages. There’s either too much info dumping or lack of proper explaining for the reader to fully engross themselves in the story. Will I be reading the next novella in the series? I think I might. The novella ended on a little cliffhanger, and I do want to know what happens next.

Good Points
Check out other reviews on my blog: thebookcorps.wordpress.com
Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The God Gene Chronicles: The Secret of the Gods
Legend and lore lay the foundation for this exciting new...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Big Water
Seventeen-year-old Christina McBurney has led a sheltered life. But when...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Two schools: One of magic and science, the other focused...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Kidult Handbook: From Blanket Forts to Capture the Flag, a Grownup's Guide to Playing Like a Kid
Adulting is hard! But “kidulting”— engaging in nostalgic childhood activities...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Science: A LEGO Adventure in the Real World
Did you know that the blue whale could blow up...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Meant To Be Broken
Rayne Davidson is perfectly happy fading into the background. Her...
 
0.0
 
5.0 (3)
Switching Gears
Still mourning the loss of Lucas Nelson, the boy she...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Finding-Elora.jpg
High school’s a whole new ballgame. Elora used...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Deadly Exodus
Their love is forbidden…their lives in danger… ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Front Cover
Join Clementine on a Winter Adventure in the Great Outdoors!...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Front cover
Growing up as a biracial child, Maggy Williams had three...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
hanna_final.jpg
Inspired by real Holocaust events, this poignant debut novel is...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
51MO7YjcihL.jpg
Twins Finn and Eric’s peaceful lives are turned upside down...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Super Rabbit Racers!: A Branches Book (Press Start! #3)
This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line,...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Original Syn
Fifty years after the Singularity, the world is divided into...
 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
What I Leave Behind
After his dad commits suicide, Will tries to overcome...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Neanderthal Opens The Door To The Universe
 
4.0
"In a galaxy far, far away, Admiral Ackbar is happily holding an advance copy of “Neanderthal Opens The Door To..."
Wildman
 
5.0
"WILDMAN is J.C. Geiger’s debut novel about a graduating senior, Lance Hendricks, who has his entire, boring life planned out...."
 
4.0
" Alona Dare is one of the most popular girls in school, excited to graduate at the end of the..."
Deadly Little Secret (Touch #1)
 
4.7
" Camelia has a strange encounter with a boy whose touch literally saves her life. Thinking that she will never..."
Bad Girls Don't Die (Bad Girls Don't Die #1)
 
5.0
"This is my second time reading Bad Girls Don't Die. Even so, I could only read it in bed..."
Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1)
 
4.0
"Two chapters into Hex Hall Book One I was worried it was another hackneyed reshuffling of witches, werewolves and vampires,..."
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls #2)
 
5.0
"I have read so many books in this genre and this series is my absolute favorite ! To me this..."
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls #2)
 
5.0
"Spoiler Alert!!! Let's talk about Zach first. In case you can't tell, I LOVE Zach! He is..."
I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1)
 
5.0
"I love Cammie. I think one of the reasons I like Cammie is because she's so much like me..."
False Memory (False Memory #1)
 
4.0
"This book had me reading a mile a minute. It is so face paced I finished it in one sitting...."
The Loop
 
4.0
"A fast and exciting read, Loop was not at all what I expected. Ben and Maggie are caught in a..."
The Rules for Disappearing
 
3.0
"This is a story about a girl in protective service who had to move a bunch of times so she..."
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls #2)
 
5.0
"So as the title of my review suggests this installment in the series was better than the first. Everything is..."
I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1)
 
4.7
"This book is like the best of both worlds it has the excitement of spies with a hint of romance...."
 
2.7
"I thought The Disreputable History was a quick, good read, but I don't feel the affection for it everyone else..."
False Memory (False Memory #1)
 
3.7
"en romantic. I couldn't get into the romance because it all felt too fake. I believe it was real for..."
From Bad to Cursed (Bad Girls Don't Die #2)
 
4.7
"Another good, yet underrated series!"
Dead Beautiful (Dead Beautiful #1)
 
5.0
"Sometimes I choose books completely based on the genre tags that are applied to them on Goodreads. This one one..."
 
5.0
"One of those books that is not too serious that it stresses you out, but thrilling enough to keep you..."