2 1/2 stars
“There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most.”—Katriona Wilde.
Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she’s ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out. When she inadvertently leads her sister and best friend through a portal into a world she’s dreamed of for six years, she finds herself faced with more than just the frightening creatures in front of her. Kate’s forced to accept a new truth: her entire life has been a lie, and those closest to her have betrayed her. What’s worse, she has no control over her new future, and it’s full of magic and horrors from which nightmares are made. Will Kate discover and learn to control who she really is in time to save the ones she loves, or will all be lost?
This review is based on an ARC received from NetGalley. Look for the ebook to be released May 13, 2012.
To me, there is nothing more frustrating than a book you know could have been amazing, and then wasn’t. That exactly what happened with this book. I really wanted to like it, and in places I really did. The world, the magic and the mythology Wade created were really interesting. The plot could have been spectacular. The fight scenes were AMAZING. (That ending? Nearly made up for the book!) There was so much potential hiding in this book that it frustrated me even more with each passing scene. Because here’s the thing.
Books live and die by their characters. Especially their main characters. And Kate? Oh boy.
To me, she was like a roadblock in this book. I really wanted to enjoy it, but I just couldn’t do it. At first, I thought she was cute. Ridiculously dense when it came to boys, but just cute in an innocent way. Her and Brad’s relationship was sweet, so I was willing to just roll my eyes at her and keep on reading.
And then the rest of the book happened.
Far, far too much of this book centered on romance. Kate and Brad go down the tubes quickly, as he spends most of the book in a coma. My eyebrows first started hiking as, right after Brad admits he wanted to marry her and Kate spends pages musing about what it would have been like being his wife, she then goes to Arland and asks him if he wants to sleep with her. SLEEP SLEEP, zzzz sleep, because she thinks that’s … normal. This was weird enough in the first place. But then she asks him if he wants to take a bath with her. With clothes on. Because that’s a thing you can do platonically.
I understand Kate had been dreaming about doing a whole bunch of fun things with Arland for years. I understand that attempts were made to explain why she thinks this way, and that also this was supposed to be a love triangle with her warring over her feelings for her best friend or her literal dream guy. But after that point I just lost it. I was 50% of my way through the book.
The last 50%, though, were not that bad. Brad is utterly forgotten for a while and Kate and Arland focus on getting their thing on, while intermittently fighting the minions of Darkness and info-dumping about the world. I LIVED for those fight scenes. Let me say again: THEY WERE AWESOME. The ideas of the daemons and the gods; I was in love. But we’d always end up back with Kate and Arland and I’d be left headdesking. There were several other logical inconsistencies that didn’t make sense at the end, but I can’t give them away without giving away the ending so I’ll just say … headdesk.
This book had so much potential, but it just left me frustrated. I’m hard to please with teen romance of any kind these days, and this one just fell way on the wrong side of my feelings. I must say, however, that I am very curious to see how the next book in this series, titled Wilde’s Army by the looks of Krystal Wade’s blog. Now that all this romance-disaster is past, I’m hoping that we’ll be able to move onto the really interesting stuff Wade can write so well.