Published by Imprint on May 9th 2017
Genres: young adult, fantasy
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An obstinate girl who will not be married. A soldier desperate to prove himself. A kingdom on the brink of war.
With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.
As the girls' military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.
I don’t know how to start this review properly. I have so many thoughts and I don’t know how to organize them into a coherent format. I liked this book and I didn’t like it. There were parts of it that were really great, but most of it just fell really flat to me. Then I have to ask myself, why did I keep reading if I didn’t like it all that much? I usually DNF. I know some reviewers have no issue writing negative reviews and I used to too, but I don’t like to push myself through something I’m not enjoying anymore just so I can write a critical review. It’s just not how I want to blog. But in this case, I kept reading because of the characters. I loved them. And they were the only thing that kept me reading.
Another review pointed out the girl on girl hate in this book, and yeah, it’s bad in the sense that Sage is a tomboy and there are occasions when she looks down on the brides that are to be matched at the Concordium. And there is a bride called Jacqueline that’s particularly cruel to her but she doesn’t even seem to really have a reason to be. The behavior doesn’t lead to anything and it’s just there for two girls to be feuding. It was weird. Writing tip #1: If a character’s behavior doesn’t affect events in the book, probavly don’t include it? Just like I don’t need to know everything that everyone is wearing in every scene, I don’t need to have characters in the book that do nothing for the plot. Also, Sage has one female friend–Clare–who is also a bride, and once again she has no influence over any events in the book.
I really liked Sage though and the cattiness didn’t bother me because it wasn’t that bad and there were other things going on. Plus, it’s realistic to me. I know we’d like to believe all women love and support each other, but that’s just not the case. At least it hasn’t been in my life. I’ve had a lot of great female friends, but I’ve also been around a lot of girls who are fucking cruel to each other. There’s always a reason though, so if you’re going to include it, at least make it realistic.
As for the story itself, I found most of this reallllllyyy boring. I don’t care about military maneuvers and court politics. I wanted more action. And sadly to say, this one didn’t have a whole lot of that. There is spying, yeah, but there isn’t any great excitement that comes from that, and to me it read really dull. There was just so much talking, and talking of things that were eventually going to happen, but it took forever for us to get there.
Most of the dialogue was great, but there were a lot of clarity issues in the writing that I really hope are cleaned up before the book is published. I consider myself a pretty smart person, but I got confused a lot. Yeah, there was wonky formatting in my eARC as well, but I still should be able to fall what’s going on, one would think, and when a certain twist happened, I was totally thrown for a loop and not a good one. There were things said earlier in the book that made this almost improbable to me, so for god’s sake catch this stuff in the copy edit. I hope.
The only thing that made this book enjoyable for me were the characters. Without that I would have DNFed for sure. I’m not sure if I will continue the trilogy or not. There were just so many pages and hardly any plot. I don’t know about this one, guys.
Swoony and shippy romance though, so there is that.