“Someday we will be more than words in the dark.”
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.
Looking back, nothing appealing in this story stood out to me. What’s truly saddening is how I probably would’ve loved this book if I was new to the young adult fantasy genre. Unfortunately, every single aspect of this story felt tacky and hopelessly obvious. I can’t recall a single plot twist that shocked me in the slightest. If this story was written from a different point of view, I might’ve enjoyed it more, but I couldn’t endure the protagonist, Meira’s relentless complaining and ignorance of practically everything in her life. She has a dozen puzzle pieces and not a single clue how to link them together. It was frustrating to say the least. The love triangle wasn’t very unique and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the names of each kingdom’s Capitols. The story regrettably couldn’t live up to the alluring premise and cover.
The world building and setting were wonderful. I honestly adored the world Raasch created. There are 4 Rhythm Kingdoms – countries with seasons that cycle normally – and 4 Season Kingdoms – lands where each is stuck in a perpetual season. The Kingdom of Winter for instance, is continuously sheathed in snow and ice. I love the idea of the seasons, and how each country has their own unique assets. Each also possesses a conduit from which they draw magic to enhance their innate strengths. Spring is ruled by the tyrannical leader, Angra, who is determined to conquer Winter, along with all the other Kingdoms. The dynamics and politics between each of these nations was fantastic, and I simply adored every bit of it! I do, however, have a few complaints that I need to address. The first being that I couldn’t stand the names of the Capitols of each Kingdom. Perhaps this was only me, but I didn’t find them to be clever at all. Jannuari, Abril, Juli, and Oktuber. I’m sorry, but this is tacky. I also didn’t appreciate how often there was info dumping. I loved this world, but there had to of been a more original way of introducing the dynamics of the world, without drowning us in paragraphs of information.
Meria was blinded by ignorance. I don’t want to reveal the whole plot of the story, but most of it can truly be deciphered within the first few chapters. I found it to be incredibly unrealistic how Meira never bothered to question the positions she was constantly placed in and the decisions her commanding officers made. Her personality never necessarily annoyed me, but the lectures rampaging in her head, combined with her naiveté was intolerable. Despite all this, I did love the relationship she had with her father-like figure, Sir. It was so touching seeing how he cared for her, and I enjoyed witnessing the conflicts that arose between the two of them. The complexity and tough love that she shows her, matched with her everlasting desire to please him was so sweet!
Why does there always have to be a love triangle? All I want is for there to be a fantasy novel without a predictable romance. It also didn’t quite make sense why both of these men were fawning over our wide-eyed protagonist. I can understand why Mather, her childhood friend who she has loved for years, would be vexed by there being an additional love interest, but why does Prince Theron feel so deeply for this girl he barely met and has hardly self disclosed with? I honestly liked both male leads, but this triangle was absurd and unneeded.
Slow paced and predictable? Not a decent mix. I feel guilty for ranting about this book so much, because I can see why some people would find this novel appealing. Nonetheless, I found it utterly slow and the predictability didn’t help. Granted, I did begin to enjoy this story quite a bit after I passed the half way marker. From there the plot picked up and the true story reveled itself. Contrary to how this review sounds, I did like this story and it still managed to captured my interest by the end.
I blame myself for hyping this book up so much. This was a novel I had been wanting to read for years! It was at the very bottom of my TBR, and I have high expectations for it. The gorgeous cover and fascinating synopsis drew me in, and I’m truly sad to say that I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I hoped. I would recommend this for fans who are new to fantasy, but if you’re looking for a story with a unique plot and meaningful characters, you might want to consider passing this one up.
Buddy read with Vivian @ Passionately Perusing