You guys, I really, reaaaally loved this book. After the last couple of dark-as-fuuuuck books that I’ve read, this was just such a warm, light, heart-hug of a novel. Don’t get me wrong, people die (so many people. Thousands of people. Almost all the people) but…I dunno. It just felt so fresh and fun to me. The language is clear and clean and to the point, the story is great, and the protagonist is a dope-ass, take no shit lady (something ya’ll know I have a weakness for).
But it wasn’t just light and fun. For some reason, despite the big buzz around the novel (I’ve only ever heard people gush about it), I had moderate to low expectations for it. I was, and I’m ashamed to admit this, using it as a palate cleanser. I just wanted something fun and easy, something that would suck me in and carry me along. And I got it! But I also got something else. It had a moral centre, an intelligence and thoughtfulness to it, that I wasn’t expecting. Novik’s use and subversion of fantasy and fairy-tale tropes was subtler, smarter, than I thought it was going to be.
Before I wrap this up I also want to give a quick shout out to the ending. I’m not going to say much about it, because I want you to discover it on your own, but I really enjoyed it. As an avid and life long fantasy reader, I find nothing more disappointing than the “kill the monster and everything is better” ending to a novel, and I’m happy this book avoided that trap.
In case it wasn’t clear throughout the entirety of this wet, sloppy kiss of a review, I am definitely, one hundred percent recommending it. Normally I would put some sort of a caveat on there (if you like fantasy, or if you like fairytales, or if you like blah blah blah), but this one is pretty unequivocal. Just buy it and read it, okay?