Top critical review
Good world, excellent relationships, could be improved on a technical level
Reviewed in Canada on September 17, 2020
This was my first go around with JLA and the consensus is that there are improvements to be made but I didn’t dislike it. The writing is incredibly simple; possibly the use of a thesaurus and a grammar tool, plus a lot of sentence restructuring could have easily improved the flow. It’s also quite predictable. The author doesn’t leave much to the imagination; too much is spelled out that the “reveals” or big “twists” are called from the moment a new idea is introduced. I like mystery but we were fed every detail in this book. From what I understand (from what I’ve been told), this book is the author’s first foray into adult/NA (unsure of the actual classification) but it still read heavily on the YA perspective. I haven’t been reading YA lately, so it was initially jarring to dive back into a more juvenile writing style but again, not an unfamiliar territory for me overall beyond a readjustment of expectations.
However, technical issues aside... I was not disappointed. Though Hawke is your standard run of the mill “impossibly sexy, bad boy everyone wants to tame”, he had a lot of qualities I just can’t seem to walk away from in a love interest and thus, he was perfection. Poppy as a heroin was again, quite typical. Outside of them individually, the world was... and I’ll say it... intriguing lol. When I began to suspect the type of creatures that were ruling the world, I almost cringed and walked away because who wants the overdone trope of vampires and werewolves but as it turned out, it was a surprisingly refreshing take. Enough to keep me reading, anyways. The conflicts are plenty, there is much action (both violent and sexual) so you’ll never be bored reading this but you’ve got to be able to look past the writing and just delve into the world which I am hoping, will have more world building and be further fleshed out in book two.
I will say, the characters are quite bland. There’s a cast of cardboard cutouts who have no development who are killed off to I assume, be rid of the responsibility of fleshing them out? Regardless, don’t expect much interest or information from the supporting cast. They are there to further Poppy’s ends and add filler.
My last complaint (because I am already rambling and shouldn’t take up more page time with this review) would be the vocabulary. If this book is supposed to be adult, I expect a more expansive vocabulary and this especially hit me hard over the sexually explicit scenes. If you want to write explicit smut, I’m all for it (please, go off), but don’t be afraid to express the terminology. If I have to read “private area” one more time, I might give up entirely lol. If an author is that committed to writing smut, my one complaint is my lack of willingness to see the scenes wasted on someone who’s afraid of calling it like it is.
I know this review seems entirely negative but the group chat I’m in regarding this series has a slew of my excited reactions at every point reading this book and I bought book two at the same time as book one, so I am continuing. Not out of obligation, but because I desperately need to know what happens next.
I was promised A Court of Mist and Fury levels of astonishment and adoration and dedication, so I’ve got my fingers crossed for all those feelings.