Read: June 2023
I enjoyed reading some of Holly Black’s YA novels in the past (especially Curse Workers) so I thought I would try her adult novel when I saw it on a deal for 99p!
What I liked –
- At first I wasn’t sure if I’d get on with it because the smart mouthed, tough but messy girl archetype isn’t my favourite. However, I did grow to like Charlie Hall more than I expected. I appreciate that she actually isn’t always brilliant and often makes daft mistakes.
- A few unexpected twists and turns kept the plot ticking over and it’s mostly an easy entertaining read.
What didn’t work –
- I found the magic system baffling and I still don’t understand it! I had absolutely no idea what was going on in the final third. This might be because I didn’t find shadows an interesting magic system so I just couldn’t retain the rules.
- Vince felt like an oddly wasted character. He’s central to the plot but barely present in the story. We land months into their relationship and we barely witness it. This meant I had no investment in Charlie’s relationship with him when the story really needed me to care.
- Charlie’s backstory is all telling and no showing. We get no evidence for this legendary reputation she supposedly has. There is a huge gap in her life from aged 15 to present day that would explain how she became “The Charlatan” (which is also so cringe and lazy as a moniker).
- The plot drags a bit in the middle, but it always found something to keep me going somehow.
- There are lots of tossed in side characters that didn’t seem to have much purpose and I honestly lost track of who they were meant to be.
This is an entertaining enough fantasy magic book, but for me was nothing special.
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