I received this novel as an advance copy from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
This was one of those books that I was super excited to read. I love anything to do with magic or the supernatural and this novel seemed right up my alley. This book was released in February but I only got to it this month because I am struggling to get through the backlog of egalleys that I have … but at least I finally read it! Here is my review:
Summary (Goodreads): Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family’s enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good.
In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate.
Review: This novel was not what I was expecting – and I don’t mean this in a good way. Unfortunately, this story just did not work for me.
From the very beginning, I struggled to understand what was going on in the story. I don’t know much about Celtic mythology and know almost nothing about Irish folklore so it was hard for me to just jump right into this story and roll with the punches. I kept hoping that the worldbuilding/explanations would come along, but they weren’t nearly sufficient enough for me to get into the plot.
I also struggled with the writing style in that it felt like the story jumped all over the place. There were random insertions about memories from the past combined with some facts/background on the augurs and the judges, and then some other random event going on. It was hard to piece it all together because it wasn’t conveyed in a very coherent manner.
Even the plot didn’t work for me. I was expecting a story full of danger with creepy forests and hunts. Instead, this was a lot more modern with more of a focus on Wren’s emotional turmoil and budding romantic feelings, neither of which were mentioned in the blurb. I struggled to get through most of the novel, and it was only in the last 100 pages that I actually felt interested in the story (but it was still confusing trying to figure out the significance of everything).
In short, this book let me down. I feel like I would have enjoyed this story a whole lot more if things were better developed and explained, and if the plot had stayed true to the blurb rather than veer off-course into a romance. For those reasons, I’m going to be giving this a 1/5 stars.