Thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for allowing me an advance copy of this book.
I have been sitting at my laptop staring at the screen for a good ten minutes trying to figure out how to start this review.
So, you know how people say, “This book is so important!”? Most of the time I read said books and I don’t see it. I thought once it was because of my whiteness and how maybe I am not as good as great as an ally as I thought I was and I need to dig a little deeper to understand what some people go through. After reading this book, I realize now that I wasn’t reading the right books.
This book goes down with books like The Hate you Give, Dear Martin, All American Boys, American Street, The Opposite of Okay and those are just the ones I have read that tackled the hard stuff, that put you into someone’s shoes that you never thought possible; books that opened your eyes.
In this book, Shirin is a Muslim teen navigating high school a year after 9/11. To deal with the hatred and racism, she channels her anger into breakdancing with her brother, writing in her journal and music. When she meets, Ocean James, a non-Muslim, her protective walls begin to slip away. She’s aware of the implications of falling for him and how she doesn’t care but does simultaneously.
In this book, I felt myself right in Shirin’s shoes. My stomach twisted in some scenes, and I smiled like an idiot in others. Here I am, a straight white woman, seeing what it’s like even now for people of color and I thought I understood it. I didn’t. I don’t. Maybe I never will. But it won’t stop me from learning and helping. It won’t stop me from fighting.
So, I’m still sitting here after finishing this book not too long ago, and I am still hurting. I got me thinking that maybe some people did see the error of their ways in this book, but how long will it take for everyone else? How can we treat our fellow human beings the way we do? When will it end?
What hurts most is why it even started to begin with.
I usually end my review with, you all need to read this! I recommend it for etc. etc. etc. But with this one I’m going to end it with, WE NEED MORE OF THESE BOOKS BECAUSE THE WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.
And the world definitely needs changing.
The E-ARC was provided by Edelweiss. But the cover was so cool that I also bought it.
This book started off with a Scorpio Races feel. A girl and her horse, and a fiery heart. I was drawn in right away. Since Scorpio Races is one of my all-time favorite books in the world, I was so sucked in, and I could not put the book down.
This book is told in two POV’s, Kate and Corwin. Let’s start with Kate. She is a nineteen-year-old Relay rider (basically a mailman on horseback) who is also a wilder, able to influence animals. Not only that, she is the daughter of a man who tried to kill the king of Rime. People call her Traitor Kate. But for all she’s been through, she has developed a thick skin. She loves horses and is pretty good with a bow.
Then there’s Corwin. He’s the second born son of the king and child-hood friend of Kate before she was exiled and her father put to death. It’s by chance that their paths cross some three years later while Corwin is investigating a rise in Nightdrake (lizard-like creatures) attacks. Kate saves Corwin, and their lives begin to change.
Corwin hires Bonner, Kate’s friend, to make revolvers. The thing is, Bonner is also a wilder and being a wilder is pretty much illegal and will get you a death sentence. But the deal is too good for Kate, Bonner, and their friend Signe and they all start new lives at the royal palace. Things become complicated when Kate begins a mission of finding out what really happened the day her father attacked the king. She knows her father was a dedicated and honorable man and that he wouldn’t have done such a thing without being compromised. Meanwhile, the nightdrakes have become daydrakes, and the whole land is going crazy. Corwin is up to start three trials to take the crown from his brother, Edwin and his relationship with Kate becomes more and more complicated.
Pretty much, this book was magical in every way. The writing was superb and never-mind that world-building. Holy cow. This is a book to learn from. I was a tad POed at Corwin at one point, but he sort of redeemed himself. The side characters were great and sometimes more interesting than the main characters. If you can ignore the tropes (secrets abilities, royal rivalries), you’ll love this book. I, for one, didn’t mind them at all.
All in all, I loved this book, and I cannot wait for the sequel!
This a story about friendship, hardships, mystery and a touch of magic. It follows three friends who have been gifted with abilities. Rome is a Fixer and is able to fix just about anything with the touch of her hand, and some willpower. Mercy is a Siren, able to seduce men. Mercy is an Enough. She is able to produce more of certain things that people are in need of. Most of the women in Cottonwood Hollow are gifted (or cursed?) with such abilities. People outside of the area call them freaks and outcasts and sometimes that is how they feel. One day a tornado surfaces an old diary that may or may not explain why the women in Cottonwood were gifted. On top of that, there may even be a dowry in a chest somewhere that could get Rome out her trailer and help out more than she is by working at an auto body shop.
The themes that the author touches upon are pretty gritty. Each girl deals with their own set of issues and does their best to let themselves lean on each other for support. Rome living in a trailer with her mother, doing their best to scrape by is one that some kids can relate to. She is resourceful and not one to take handouts, which is admirable. Rome can handle her own, even trying to take some of the burdens from her mother. But she has faults which lead to some of the story’s complications.
I loved the magical aspect of this story. I was hoping for I to have a more prominent part in the story, if even at the end, but it fell flat for me. When I read magical realism, I like to have it be an intricate part of the plot. I loved the ambition of the story. But I could feel when things were dragging. I liked the lack of romance. Although there was an element, I felt like that could have been taken out entirely and the story could have been excellent. I thought, maybe, that Jett would play a much more significant part when things came together and were hoping for it. But alas.
All in all, I did like the premise and the characters. The execution fell flat for me.