Not what I hoped for

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rachelisce Avatar


This book was entertaining but honestly pretty disappointing. I felt like seeds were planted for a few different things that I would have found very cool, but none of those seeds delivered. For example, Andra's shtick is her interest in linguistics; in a family of scientists and techies, she got a fair amount of flack for that passion. I was really hoping that her knowledge of linguistics would be what saved her in the end—like how in The Martian, Mark Watney, as the botanist, was the only member of his crew who could've survived being stranded on Mars. But Andra's interest in linguistics, while often relevant, was never as significant to the plot as I wanted it to be. There were also hints that Maret was hiding a lot beneath his ruthless-monarch surface—hints that he might be a very interesting, complex, morally gray character, perhaps even an intriguing potential love interest (so much better than Zhade)—but all those hints came to naught as well.

I found Zhade completely insufferable, and boring—he's too cliche of a love interest, and he's not even likable. And every time one of his chapters started, I found myself groaning, because I hated, hated his voice. The version of English that he (along with many of the other characters) speaks is just so... stupid. Books focused on linguistics can be awesome—I mean, look at Tolkien's works—but not if the featured language is as underwhelming and annoying as this one.

My last complaint is that I don't feel like the big twist as the end was foreshadowed enough. (Was it foreshadowed at all?) I'm glad I wasn't able to predict it, but it fell flat to me, because I wanted to feel like all of a sudden everything made sense—to look back at clues I hadn't noticed and think, Oh, of course!—and that didn't happen. It just seemed to come out of nowhere, and because of that, it did not engage me.

Despite all this, I'll give the book three stars, because it was entertaining, and because it's full of intriguing mysteries. Unfortunately for me, most of those mysteries weren't solved by the end, which means that I'm going to have to read the second book at some point. I kind of resent that.