To be fair, I did not finish this book. In fact, I couldn’t make myself get past the first 25 pages…
I could bitch about the main character, Eadlyn, or her brother, or just well, everything. But as I said I DNF/DNR this book. So I’m going to leave you with the specific moments that caused me to roll my eyes and some thoughts.
“Alas, Mom and Dad couldn’t stand to watch their firstborn be stripped of a title by an unfortunate but rather lovely set of breasts.” This is in the fourth paragraph of page one so honestly it’s a miracle I made it to page 25. Aside from being offended that this made it past an editor, what woman in her right mind sees herself as a pair of breasts, let alone a freaking queen.
On page 9 “Math wasn’t a skill that came to me naturally, so I had to work twice as hard on any proposals for budget cuts or financial plans. But I absolutely refused to have one of Dad’s advisers come behind me with a calculator to clean up my mess. Even if I had to stay up all night, I always made sure my work was accurate.” Then on the next page… “After working on the budget report for a few hours, I decided I needed a break and retreated to my room to get a hand massage from Neena. I loved those little bits of luxury in my day. Dresses made to my exact measurements, exotic desserts flown in simply because it was Thursday, and an endless supply of beautiful things were all perks; and they were easily my favorite part of the job.” Okay… aside from the fact that you just claimed to actually take your job as the next ruler of the country seriously, you’re getting a massage and telling us that your favorite part about being a future monarch is not the power you’ll have to make a change in the world, or for the citizens who are currently organizing riots in the streets because they are subject to caste discrimination and violence, but dessert and dresses.
“Vain as it was, I worried I would go gray prematurely.”
“Didn’t they know who I was, what they’d trained me for? I was Eadlyn Shreave. No one was more powerful than me.” Which you wouldn’t know since she says how powerful and awesome she is at every opportunity.
Then there was this gem. For context, princess Eadlyn is talking to her twin brother who also lives in the palace, with her father but I guess prince Ahren has never picked up a newspaper (like the one Eadlyn read this morning), or spoken to his father about their country at all. He’s also probably never seen a news report, or had any kind of education outside of the palace, because otherwise why the fuck would his sister have to explain this…
“It’s getting really bad, Ahren. People are destroying homes and businesses. Some have died. Dad isn’t completely sure where it’s coming from, but he thinks it’s people our age, the generation that grew up with the castes, causing most of it.”
He made a face. “That doesn’t make any sense. How could growing up without those restrictions make you upset?”
I paused, thinking. How could I explain what we could only really guess at? “Well, I grew up being told I was going to be queen one day. That was it. No choice. You grew up knowing you had options. You could go into the military, you could become an ambassador, you could do plrenty of things. But what if that wasn’t really happening? What if you didn’t have all the opportunities you thought you would?”
“Huh,” He said, following. “So they’re being denied jobs?”
“Jobs, education, money. I’ve heard of people refusing to let their kids get married because of old castes. Nothing is happening the way dad thought it would, and it’s nearly impossible to control. Can we force people to be fair?”
Okay, deep breath.
My favorite line comes at the end of a spectacular conversation when a boy name Kile is mowed down by bitchy Eadlyn.
“And what would make such a lady run like that in the first place?”
“Matters you are far to dim to comprehend.”
He laughed. “Right, because I’m such a simpleton. It’s a miracle I manage to bathe myself.”
I was about to ask if he did bathe, because he looked like he’d been running away from anything that resembled a bar of soap.
“I hope one of those books is a primer on etiquette. You seriously need a refresher.”
“You’re not queen yet, Eadlyn. Take it down a notch.”
Not gonna lie, I completely agree. And just going on the opposite gender is dropped into the scene and the characters reveal their absolute hatred of each other for no reason trope, (though I can totally see why everyone would hate Eadlyn) I’m willing to bet that he’s a love interest. Googled, he’s a part of the selection, big surprise. Ugh.
Also can we just talk about the ridiculous nature of character naming in this series. I mean it was pretty bad with America and Maxon… But Ahren, Osten, Kile, Eadlyn, Neena, Kaden… Really?
So this wasn’t an eloquent or particularly kind review, but having read and enjoyed the previous books in the series despite their fluffy, predictable but humorous nature this was scraping the bottom of the barrel. I can’t believe there is supposed to be another book out of this. The original trilogy could have been trimmed and written more carefully and made a single novel. And this nonsense is ridiculous. I can’t imagine who would buy book five.