Rating: 2.5 Stars
I really wanted to love this book, unfortunately, I just didn't care for it. I went in beyond excited to read this, the synopsis sounds amazing and I was buddy-reading it with close friends, but it, unfortunately, was just a let down for me. Initially, I thought that I would be getting a story full of action and suspense instead it was more about world building and setting the stage for action later in the series. This made the pacing of the book feel painfully slow, I don't think that it really picked up till about halfway through the book. Even after picking up, I still don't think that I was ever fully as engrossed as I hoped I would be.
While I will admit my expectations did play a large role in my feelings of this book, it was not my only reason for disliking the book. I really was not a fan of the writing style of this book. The book was constantly switching from one point of view to another, sometimes even switching between people while still in the same chapter. This made the book very confusing at times, and difficult to understand whose point of view I was reading. I was also annoyed that we got a lot of Kathrine and Mirabella's points of view but very little of Arsionoe's. For me at least, this made it very hard to connect with Arsinoe as a character. I feel that I would have liked the book more if she had found a way to tell the story only from the Queen's points of view.
Lastly was the world, while it was beautiful and fantastical, it was just too much and was very confusing at times. The author would often reference historical events of the world and would sometimes explain and sometimes leave the reader hanging. The world is just so intricate it seems like historical preface or appendix to give the reader some context. I was also left confused because the author references the real historical event of Cleopatra VII ( the one we all know as Cleopatra) having her sister Arsinoe murdered, which made me wonder if this world was somehow connected to ours or if this was simply an easter egg.
All in all, the book itself was not horrible, but I probably would not have finished it if it were not for the fact that I was buddy reading. That being said, due to the ending, which was probably the best aspect of the book, and the fact that a friend, whose opinion I trust, has raved about the sequel, I will probably try to continue with the series. With any luck, the rest of the series will make up for the slow start.