So, this book wasn’t even on my radar until I read iArtichokeu’s post about it. You can read their expertly written review here.
I both love and hate them for writing such a good review that made me immediately pick up the book. The book is excellent, so that’s awesome. But this is the type of series where you sneak away for extra long breaks at work to read a few pages. Or “sleep in” to read a little more before your day begins… so, sorry outside world, but you can blame my absence over the next week (because there’s no way I’m not binge reading this) on the author, D. Wallace Peach.
The book follows Catling as she grows up while living through a series of unfortunate events. She learns that she has a special skill, that many are interested in her skill, and that just because someone is interested in your skill, doesn’t necessarily mean they are interested in you or your well-being. There are so many intricate happenings, that I think trying to summarize the book overall would just take a long time without really touching on why you should read it. As always, let’s start with a couple things I didn’t love:
- There are large gaps where characters just drop off the radar. Each person leads their own lives, so we have to focus on each of them individually unless they intersect. I get that, but I selfishly wanted to check in with Whitt one more time before the book ended.
- The book is slow. I don’t actually count this as a “don’t love” item and more as an FYI. Like Tolkien’s The Hobbit, if you’re not ready for the slow ground work of the first book to be set, maybe this isn’t for you… but, also like The Hobbit, you’re missing out if you skip it for that reason.
On to my favorite part, the stuff I love:
- There is so much detail. Because D. Wallace Peach takes her time outlining everything, you can really picture the world in which Catling lives. The story flows so beautifully. When characters cross paths, it makes sense and isn’t forced. When they part ways, again, it makes sense with the larger story.
- Catling. Damn this girl is who I want to be when I grow up. She’s so tough, and has had a lot happen to her, but she really “mans up” and takes charge the best way she can. She doesn’t throw in the towel, but slowly learns to be confident with herself. *Sigh* What’s the girl version of bromance?
- Those that help Catling. I love that the story is so realistic that good deeds can be for selfish reasons. It really creates such visceral tension about various characters. You’re totally conflicted (as I’m certain Catling is) about whether they’re good, trustworthy, caring, etc.
- The fact that there are more books. Thank God I have more time with these characters and this world.
Long review, short: Read the book. Now.