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For the first 100, 150 pages I wasn’t sure how I was feeling about it, it was very repetitive and slow paced, but then it picked up and became a lot more interesting. And it all made sense, the slow start is necessary to establish the whole universe. I wasn’t bothered by the multiple viewpoints, I thought they were easily identifiable with each having their own unique vocabulary. I was rather annoyed by Stepon’s repetitive pace, but it was cute and endearing in a way. I wasn’t too crazy how everything is perfectly resolved at the end, but I don’t think it’s that implausible as others have pointed out. The Staryk king’s change was noticeable for me, in slow bits they both changed. I enjoyed that. As for the tsar and Irina, I don’t think in the end he fell in love with her for her beauty, the chapter is narrated through Magreta’s perspective and she says something along the lines that the tsar looked at Irina as though she was the most beautiful thing in the world. That’s her interpretation, in reality I believe the tsar was realizing that Irina had saved him while she could have let him burn, so in a way, she was the only person that truly helped him in all his life. It reminded me the same feeling as a gift in the Staryk world, he was now Irina’s boundsmen. That’s my interpretation at least. I was hesitant about it after placing the order because of the fantasy aspect, but I loved it, I was pleasantly surprised.
I was so excited to read this, but it fell flat. For one thing, it took me multiple months to read because I had to force myself to pick it up and keep reading. Also, the judge's note promised me a "slow burn romance" which was the main reason I picked this book. But I didn't see any romance in this book. Apparently the king fell for Miryem but I COMPLETELY missed that until he asked her to marry him. And really, the Tsar and Irina? After he spent the entire book wondering why people thought she was beautiful? No thanks.
Let me start with, I did like this book. I was a little thrown by the race/religious influence in the book, since nothing I read about it beforehand mentioned it. It just took me by surprise, since I didn't know how integral to the story it would be. anyone else notice or was it just me?
SPOILERS First off this book took me forever to read, I agree with a lot of people that some of the pages could've certainly been cut down.
Anyway, it was a fabulous story, however the ending bothers me.
I feel like the ending was a bit rushed in regards to wrapping everything up (and a lot happened!) but mostly I'm irritated that Miryem ended up marrying the Staryk king who kidnapped her and held her hostage!! I understand that over time he started falling in love with her, but I feel like there was so much dialogue in the book about how angry she was about becoming a Staryk queen and how she hated it so much and yearned for her family and normal life back, but once she got that she chose to continue to be a Staryk queen! I know it's just a story but just rubs me the wrong way that you have such strong women holding their ground throughout the entire book, and then Miryem just shrugs her shoulders and kind of accepts what he offered her.
Good book but killed me that she didn't stand her ground in the end unless she actually ended up falling in love with him, which maybe there could've been more going into the details of that - I seemed to miss that dialogue from her if so. Was hoping she would've rejected him after everything he put her through!
I was a little nervous choosing this book.. I'm not a big fan of fantasy. BUT...
What a wonderful book. I'm so glad I picked it. I was torn at the end of needing to know what was going to happen and not wanting the book to be over. I started rationing myself and only allowing myself to read a chapter at a time.
The book swtiches POV and it might take a couple sentences to figure it out. The world was explained slowly. There were times when I was unsure what was going on becuase I didn't understand the rules of this new world I was learning about but Novik did a great job of slowly introducing this new world to the reader so they would not be overwhlemed.
I enjoyed all the characters.. I even enjoyed the villians. Maybe that is what I loved about this book... is I loved every character. I loved being in every character's head - no one annoyed me with their long winded thoughts. I believe Novik does a great job of not over explaining what the characters are feeling and she let's the story plot and the character's actions show you.
The descriptions were well written and necessary. There was no 'fluff' that you felt you had to skim over to get back to the plot.
Such a good book! This is my first book by Novik, but I am super curious about the rest of her books after getting this taste.
First, I appreciate that this author was very comfortable breaking away from a lot of tropes/expectations. This book will remind you of Rumpelstiltskin, but loosely. It really has its own life and personality.
Second, I loved that we followed three female protagonists who don't really have love stories. There is some romance, and I have a lot of feelings about it, but I'd say for the majority of the book, there's no romance. Like the book says, "who would really love a man who threatens to kill them every day?" I liked the different characters, and thought their journeys were unique and compelling to follow.
The world-building was excellent too--I believed in this world and its conflicts and problems and enjoyed how the magic worked (for the most part).
My problems are small-I enjoyed reading this, and if you want a fun fantasy novel that isn't part of a really involved series/universe, it's perfect. But, my nitpicks are: (0) The shifts in narrator aren't clear and really could be easily fixed with subtitles (1) the romances and (2) the ending (sorta). SPOILERS follow.
(1) We have 2 sets of unhappily married people who I think are each supposed to be in love by the end, and I just don't think it was well developed enough for either. I read Uprooted after (and it's Really Good), and this author likes to write disdainful, Mr. Darcy-type romantic leads. Since the two leads here are both monstrously awful, and their wives are clever, passionate, likeable women, to make the jump that these are happy, healthy relationships...it just doesn't happen. I saw where the author tried to do this, and it didn't work for me. Might for others. I thought the Ice King was better developed--I saw him falling in love more gradually, and maybe it helped that we never got his perspective, so he was forced to show affection by doing nice things, which the prince really never does. I don't think either did enough to overcome how creepy and evil they could be--Mr. Darcy is actually a decent person, you know? He just met Elizabeth when he was in a mood. That's the point--the more she knows him, the more she learns how meaningless the first impression was. This is similar to Uprooted, where as the main character learns more about her love interest, misconceptions are cleared up so their relationship feels healthy and real. Both these marriages are weird and abusive and I didn't like the plot needing to end with the women "happy" in their marriages. They didn't need to end married. There didn't need to be any romance in this book, and I would've still loved it.
(2) I don't mind magic not being expertly spelled out or vague; that's usually better honestly. That said, given what the plot's climax, I would've appreciated maybe a little more rules/explanations. The cottage I liked, but I felt like the twist at the end didn't fit the rules about the cottage and mirrors that the novel had been setting up. I expected something different to happen and then was trying to understand why the characters could do certain things. I also just didn't exactly see how the main character's storyline culminated in this ending. The whole point was that she didn't have magic, she was clever--that was her magic. She gets certain magic b/c she proves herself 3X, okay, but it seemed like she got new magic in the end just by being confident, not smart. Given how surprising and fun it is to watch her use her brain throughout the novel, it was disappointing that there wasn't more to the climax.
With all that said, these problems didn't really detract from my enjoyment of the book, but I'd be interested in other people's opinions on them (especially if the magic at the end made more sense to them than it does to me). Still really loved this book enough that I went out and read more of her work. If you grew up with Tamora Pierce and Brian Jacques, mixed with a litttttle Game of Thrones, you'll probably love this.
When I read the synopsis I was so excited to sit down and read it, but once I picked it up I had a hard time not putting it back down. I will readily admit that I haven't gotten very far ( a little past the point where she has returned with the second bag) but I can't seem to make myself keep going. Has anyone else had this problem? Does the story pick up and draw you in or should I just put it on my bookshelf?
Hi, Guys! So this was the first book I've read from this author. Besides the grammatical errors and typos I did really enjoy it. I am now thinking about buying her other books. Are they similar? And would you say the other series are better than this one? Thank you!
Does anyone know if her other book, Uprooted needs to be read before this one? I'm trying to decide if I want to get this book later or not, but I'm staying away from series because I can't keep up with them anymore! Too many books, lol.
I knew I was getting this novel from the description of saying "every Game of Thrones fan new favorite novel." I just finished reading it and I'm just not sure how I feel. Half the reason I love Game of Thrones is because the characters and the connection you build with them and I think thats what I lacked from this. It took me until almost half way in until I was really interested, and even then I was more interested to just see how she ended the story rather than the actual characters. The story was still interesting but I was a little let down.
About half way through this book I started skimming. I think at least 100 pages could have been cut and it would have made for a better book.
So who else pictured an old man in Chicago that loves to play checkers, smokes like a chimney and misses the days when he worked at the slaughter house killing cattle the moment the demon’s name was revealed? Haha