I'm not sure how to sum up this book. It was enjoyable, but there were also many things that bugged me about it.
I suppose the one thing I could say is that the book is very confusing
. It deals with fairies, dragons, humans, prophecies, and marriage alliances and normally when you mix these things into a storyline, you are bound feeling lost. I had a hard time realizing who was who, and sometimes had to read passages a few and let my mind sort it out. Somewhere towards the middle-ish/end of the book, I gave up and just the confusion overtake me. Usually I do find high fantasy novels confusing; it's a whole different world and sometimes the author doesn't take great care in explaining things well. I think what would have really made this easier for me would have been if there was a map included, like there is in Graceling
and Shadow and Bone.
The pacing was well, I suppose, but I felt that some of the main events were too clean. For example, when you're trying to release a prisoner from a jail cell, I find it incredible to just waltz in (and mind you, saving-the-prisoner scene comes at least 3 or 4 times in this novel) and take the man that you need without trouble every time
. Our main heroine does this many times, and each time she encounters no problems at all with trained
guards: first time when she went to go save her friend Meg's husband Tom; second time to free their daughter Alice; third time to free Garth; and finally, the fourth and final time to free Lady Adela.
That being said, I don't think there was anything wrong with the novel itself, just that the pacing dwindled into the speed of a donkey near the end. Now, I loved the ending and here I'm talking about the time between the second main event (because generally each book has three main events, don't they?) and the climax. That part moved agonizingly slow for at least a hundred or so pages.
I felt myself chuckling at the romance. It was definitely underdeveloped. Tess and Garth spent not nearly enough time together to have fallen in love; perhaps only "attraction." And the time they spent together probably was only for the span of two weeks maybe, during which Garth rode off to finish his "duties" for nearly four to five days almost every other day. There was no secret encounter between the two of them except maybe once, but even that didn't seem enough to splash a girl with love. It looked as if Tess had a crush on Garth, but it didn't seem to me as nothing more until she says something along the lines of "I'll do it for Garth. For him, I will do it." in which then
I realized that she was in love with him. I've seen better, at least.
One thing I liked about Tess was that she was loyal and faithful. She has her bad points, such as holding a grudge, and though I know not everyone is perfect, it still annoyed me when Tess poured venom towards Lady Adela. What had she done to Tess? Nothing more than tossing her into the river, chaining her by the arms, and pricking her thumbs. It didn't seem to me much that would be deemed unforgivable. I found Tess to be definitely a nuisance here.