A rollercoaster of a book

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marmikie Avatar


This one was really a roller coaster of emotions for me. I wanted to DNF it at the beginning because I was disliking it a lot, but I told myself to get to 25% before I gave up. And it was around that time that the story started picking up, and at one point I was really liking it. Then the ending felt rushed and some plot holes were just brushed over, hence why I've settled on a 3 star rating.
I really liked how morally grey Vanja was and the romance between her and the junior prefect. I also appreciate the casual LGBTQ rep.
The things I didn't like:
(SPOILER: I don't feel like Giselle was adequately redeemed. All we got was an "I'm sorry you didn't get a childhood" and not "I'm sorry I was a coward and let you get whipped almost to death for something I know you didn't do, and also didn't apologize or comfort you afterwards even though you thought we were friends". And she still gets to go back to being princess at the end, and live HEA. The singular scene where she stood up to her parents on Vanja's behalf was not sufficient IMO for watching as her parents abused Vanja for a decade and then still trying to kill her when she saw her on the street. She didn't even come to the conclusion that she and her family were terrible to Vanja on her own, she had to be told. Giselle's non-princess life wasn't even that bad, it's not like she was on the street starving. She was literally running an orphanage with kids who love her. I don't feel bad for her at all.
And why did Death and Fortune change their minds so quickly at the end, switching from you're our servant to our daughter real fast. It makes the whole original problem (that she needs money to escape them) seem pointless because what was she escaping from? Absolutely nothing. Plus, what was up with the specific amount of money she needed to have? I know Vanja thinks it's the minimum she needs to be able to live a good life elsewhere but being short a little bit shouldn't be life and death, especially because she could earn/ steal more money when she makes it to her destination. The resolution with them was also so weird tonally. Fortune saying "well you have to be our servant now because you asked for our help", Vanja responding that she's 17 so no longer their ward, and then Fortune and Death immediately saying "yes you're right, we're your mothers and always will be. Our mistake. Call us whenever you want, no service required". This is in one scene and gave me major whiplash. )
There also were a couple of interjections from Vanja speaking to the reader and telling us what was going to happen before going into details. I wasn't a big fan of these because I feel like they took me out of the story and also ruined some of the suspense that was building. It felt like a gimmick that did not blend well into the rest of the story.
All that aside, I thought the romance was well developed and I'm not upset that I read this one. Plus the Illumicrate copy is absolutely stunning (so much so that I had to talk myself out of wanting it purely for the looks).