My first impressions were very good, I was enthusiastic and ready for a very good read. The ebook I received is lovely, with two beautiful maps and very soigné chapters’ font. Alas I became quickly disillusioned…
The good points were plentiful: a classic setting but an original and fascinating magic. This aspect I loved. The whole pseudo Harry Potter situation was nice, too: a young girl discovering that she has some incredible magic, a best kept secret between some happy few, a young girl who makes friends, enemies, learns about a world she had never dreamed off… Quite undearing.
But I couldn’t cope with all the improbability and stopped reading at the half.
You can’t (or shouldn’t be able to) write a pleasant story of a girl leaving a brand new life, with all its niceties and little pleasures (testing delicious food, bantering with a spirited affectionate sexy young male, being flustered by another one, wearing brand new dresses, chatting with a bestie) if the girl is about to be torture to death in two weeks for a crime she hasn’t commited. And it’s not as she doesn’t think about it. She actually thinks about it all the time. But like one would think about missing an important exam, or being expelled, or being exiled. I don’t believe one minute that someone could lead such a normal existence with such a horrific possible end hanging above their head. She shouldn’t be able to sleep, to eat, to live properly. She should be scare to death all the time !
Well, it’s the so classic error of Young Adult’s books, which want to mix some tragic and dark fate with some modern (high school caricature) story. And the reason I appreciate less and less last YA publications…
The heroine’s psychology is all around improbable, she doesn’t exist as a person, restricted to a two dimensional character. Born very poor, has lived on a streets as a child before being rescued by a confectioner who has kept her working like a well-kept slave, she still behaves like a modernish sixteen-year-old. It’s supposed to be comfortable for the reader, I guess, but for me it seemed very silly and keeps me from enjoying the story…
An another point is dramatically stupid, I’m sorry to say: since the beginning of the book the heroine is helped by a nice police officer who understands that she’s accused of a murder without any proof or even common sense. He has all the reasons to find the murderer. He asks her to take pains to find any clue useful for the investigation. Unusual but why not. But nothing is ever done properly! The heroine, some days later, suddenly think to go and ask who has purchased the fatal cupcakes. Yes, because seemingly the police officer hadn’t think about that himself!! It’s not the only example but the most offensive.
It’s shame because this story had many qualities and could have been a nice if not unforgettable read.
Still, if I you don’t mind logical flaws in a book, as much for characters’ psychologies as for plot devices, and if the book’s presentation appeals to you, you’ll probably enjoyed this book, which isn’t lacking in personality for all its classical YA themes.
(I thank Netgalley for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)