Friday, February 27, 2015

Reader Weaknesses: Villains

You know what really makes a story for me? An awesome villain. Which I guess isn’t necessarily a weakness. I mean, lots of people like awesome villains. And if you think about it, we love stories because of their conflicts. Villains often time drive the conflict.

But conflict doesn’t necessarily need a villain. There are lots of different conflicts like man vs. nature, man vs. himself and man vs. society that don’t have an obvious villain. And those plots are great.

But gosh darn it, man vs. man is just so much fun. And the smarter and more threatening the villain, the more nail biting the plot. I love me a good Sherlock vs Moriarity story.

Yes. Yes I did.
 I love me some Disney villains. 

I love me a diabolical super villain.

And sometimes, let’s face it, we don’t watch a movie or show for the hero. Most of the joy of Batman was the baddies that surrounded him. I mean, Batman is okay sure. But the Joker? Harley Quinn? Scarecrow? Poison Ivy? Cat woman? Riddler? The Penguin? Two Face? I could go on for pages about all the amazing villains with their complex motivations and various levels of evil. THAT’S why people keep coming back to Batman. Because there’s always new baddies to pit him against.

I’m also a sucker for a villain who turns out to be not so evil. Your Snapes and Darth Vaders I guess you could say. I could probably do a post on all the different kinds of villains. In fact eventually I will. But know that if a book or movie or show comes sporting an awesome villain, I’ll be there and loving every minute of it.

Except for this little bastard.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Edit 7: Overused Words

Alright folks, we’ve made it through the darkness of the hardest edits. All of the restructuring and character arcing and *shudder* description adding is done with. And now we’re down to the details. The line editing stuff. It’s much easier.

Kind of.

Crack out the find app on word. It’s time to kill the over used words.

Everyone has those words that they rely on a little too much. And in the case of my editor, she marked them, told me exactly how many times I had used them, and told me the number of times I was allowed to use them.

Bless her for doing that, but it is hard sometimes to come up with synonyms to words you’re so used to using.

My personal overused words and phrases include:

For a moment
Yeah, well or right (especially at the beginning of dialogue)
Was or were

Those last words are killer because not only are they overused but often they’re a sign of weak writing. Often times they are used in passive voice or in place of a stronger verb. But my first drafts are full of them because, well it’s a crap draft! Its allowed to suck as long as I fix it later.

I spend quite a bit of time deleting or replacing the ‘was’ and ‘were’s of my MS. But it always looks better for it. What are your over used words?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Book Reviews: The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen

While working at Shared Worlds Creative Writing camp this past summer, the staff asked us to sort through the hundreds of free books donated by various publishers to give to the kids at the end of the two weeks. It’s not surprising of course that I was drawn to a few or several of the titles I sorted. Particularly those with pretty covers. This was one of those books with pretty covers that I decided to give it a go. I mean, we didn’t have to hand the books over until the two weeks were up. Plenty of time to read a few books. So what did I think of this one in particular? Let’s find out.

The Plot: On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.
Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.
But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive. (Summary according to Goodreads)

Characters: In my perusal of reviews on this book in Goodreads, I find that many of the more critical reviews point to the main character as this books main failing. Personally I don’t see the hatred she gets. Kelsea has her faults but she is on a constant learning curve throughout the book. She is insecure but who wouldn’t be with so much responsibility placed on their shoulders. She, like many YA heroines, thinks that she is plain but she acknowledges her other strengths. And I appreciated that she could stand on her own as a character with no romantic subplot. I found myself rooting for her at every turn. The characters around her are strong as well and varied. I particularly like Mace, her body guard, and the enigmatic leader of an outlaw band, Fetch. Her villains were less interesting but the real fun of the story is watching Kelsea deal with complicated politics and her kingdom rather than the villains themselves.

The Good Points: I appreciate that there is no romantic subplot in this book. I really do. A lot of people say that you can’t market a book without romance to Young adult, which is stupid. When I was a teenager, I often longed for a book when a girl MC could just be a girl and kick ass on her own merit. The plot of this book also stands out as it focuses on the complexities of ruling a kingdom and making tough decisions. It reminded me of Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson in a lot of ways, another book I really enjoy. Over all, I think the plot was the strongest part of the experience.

The Bad Points: The villains, as stated earlier, are a little typical of fantasy novels, but they don’t hurt the book too much. The plot can be slow at parts and its heroine, according to reviews, seems polarizing. You either love her or you hate her. Personally I liked her though. I do think that this book had the potential to be larger and more ambitious but it stopped short of being completely extraordinary.

Even if Queen of Tearling isn’t unforgettable, its certainly enjoyable on the whole. Check it out if you enjoy YA Fantasy and want to see a girl star in something without romance for a change.

Final Rating: 4/5 Stars

Friday, February 20, 2015

Lessons from Anime: Berserk

So… let’s talk about endings.

Last week I did talk about the importance of earning your ending over at the Operation Awesome Blog. Check it out here. During that post I talked about earning a happy vs. sad ending. Happy endings don’t work if you’re not worried they won’t be attained. Sad endings don’t work unless you have hope that the characters might overcome the odds.

In fact, that is why sad endings are so soul crushing. Because even though, in the back of your head, you know things aren’t going to end well, you just REALLY want them to. Because you love these characters and they’ve gone through so much and they were SO CLOSE to achieving greatness only to screw it all up with one stupid mistake and now there are demons everywhere and everyone you love is dead.

I’m talking about Berserk of course.


Berserk is a glorious little anime from the 90s with a well-crafted story and animation so hideous that you’d swear you’re watching a slide show. That’s not even a little harsh. The animation is not good. But the story and characters and music are so rich and complex that really it all makes up for it. You get used to the speed lines and over the top blood splatters after a few episodes as you get sucked in to the plight of these characters. The Band of the Hawk rises from a common mercenary band to the most important army in the country of Midland, through the leadership and ambitions of the charming Griffith, and the ridiculous brute strength of Guts,

This is a rain of despair

Of course I only wish I could say it was for the better… cause, you know, it’s a tragedy.

But I went into this anime knowing that. I went into Berserk knowing that if I let it take hold of my heart, my heart would end up crushed. But it just felt like things were going so well. I wanted to believe that everything would work out. It almost tricked me into thinking it would.

This, you see, is how you build up to a proper tragic ending. By making your audience want happiness so bad and then denying it to them. Berserk had all the making of the perfect example of a well built up tragic ending.

Except it didn’t end. It left on a mortifying cliffhanger. A ‘read the manga’ cliffhanger. And then never continued.

It’s hard to describe this ending without spoiling it, but picture you’re writing a bike over the rolling landscape of the plot. Sometimes there are highs, sometimes lows. It’s quite a roller coaster. As you climb the very highest peak, you get the feeling it’s going to be a long way down. That’s fine though. There will still be closure as you reach the final valley of this show. And then you can get off the bike and find another anime. I’ve watched tragedies before that leave me feeling empty but also content. The endings of tragedies, if they’re good, might be sad but they still feel right.

But this is not one of those animes. You see, as you start to ride down the final hill, momentum picks up and instead of coming to a valley you crash straight through the ground and through the earth, screaming all the way, and the bike is on fire and you are on fire and everything is on fire and you are in hell. 
And then the bike ride just… ends. You don’t get off the bike. It just… explodes. And leaves you with a To Be Continued sign that will never make good on its promise.

It’s hard, in light of this, to look back on the show as a rewarding experience. A fun bike ride of ups and downs. You are scarred for life and the show didn’t even have the decency to earn what it did. It didn’t end. It stopped and left too many questions unanswered. There is no reason they couldn’t have given the show a proper ending separate from the manga. It had all the buildup but screwed up the payoff in a mortifying way. Therefore it can’t be nearly the masterpiece of story telling it should be.
Bottom line, if you’re going to crush your audiences’ heart… make sure you do it right. Do it in a way that will keep them coming back years later to watch the show again. Endings matter. Do them right.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Edit 6: Emotions

With the dreaded settings edit out of the way, we move on to something a little easier.

Kind of.

Not really.

Okay, this is the emotions edit.

So here’s the funny thing about me: I am an emotions overanalyzer. Not just in my writing, but in life. I’m often deeply analytical about why I feel the way I feel and why others react the way they do. Since I got past the awkward years of early teenagedom, I’ve always been pretty self aware about my emotions.

I was not aware that other people didn’t analyze their every motive and thought, so when I started writing, a lot of my characters did the same thing. Until some lovely people in my critique group told me, uh, teenagers don’t think like this.

This came as a bit of a surprise to me, as a teenager who thought exactly like this. But once I thought about it, as I do, I knew they were right. Most people just experience emotions. Some are more impulsive than others but they don’t think too hard about what they’re feeling. I do, so that means stepping out of my skin to write my more impulsive characters. And my current MC is all kinds of impulsive. Thus, we have the emotions edit.

The emotions edit is simple. I read through all the more emotional scenes and make sure the characters’ reactions are in the moment and natural. I make sure that the emotions have punch and that I don’t waste time explaining them. I also make sure that I don’t repeat emotional descriptors too much, as I sometimes do.

This isn’t as tedious as the scene edit, but it is really difficult for me. My characters can’t always act rationally because it doesn’t fit in with their personality. They can’t always understand why they feel the way they feel. Especially when they’re young. This edit is hard for me, let’s face it. But it improves the manuscript vastly once its over.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Book Review: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Jumping out of the YA pile for a week, let’s look today at The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. This was a book my grandmother gave to me, so of course, I assumed it would be good. My grandmother has excellent taste and she worked at a bookstore called The Book Bin, for a while, so she’s seen a lot of books. But when I eventually got around to reading Shadow of the Wind did it live up to my expectations? Let’s find out.

The Plot: Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets--an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

Characters: There are honestly too many amazing characters to count in this book. They’re all very life like and real and oftentimes funny. I love Fermin for his lust for life layered over a tragic past. Lain Coubert gives me chills up my spine. Julián Carax' past is layered in a well told mystery. Most importantly, the main character Daniel is very likable. He doesn’t always do likable things, but you understand him. He isn’t the most interesting character in the room but he reacts well off his more intriguing counterparts. This is a huge cast, and their arcs are woven through the plot with expert ease.

The Good Points: I’ve talked plenty about the characters but the real strength in this book lies in two things. First off, the plot. This is a bit of a mystery story as Daniel is investigating the life of Julian Carax while trying to figure out who is burning all of his books and why. The past and present fit together like perfect puzzle pieces. Its hard to pull off a story that jumps between time periods but this book is never slow, nor is it confusing. The ending, as well, is absolutely nail biting and wonderful.

But the greatest strength of the book is the prose. The prose are just the most gorgeous thing. You feel the weight and beauty of Barcelona in every word. The atmosphere of this book just envelopes you. And there are too many beautiful lines to count. Go through this book with a high lighter. To me this book is the prose equivalent of melted milk chocolate. The entire plot could be rubbish and I wouldn’t even care. It’s just so pretty. Luckily the plot isn’t rubbish, so this makes The Shadow of the Wind an exciting and gorgeous journey.

The Bad Points: Lol, what bad points. I might say that the book is long and might be slow in parts for some people but I loved it, so that’s hardly a criticism from me. Go read this book.

The Shadow of the Wind has taken its place as one of my favorite books of all time. It reads like a classic, and perhaps it will go down in history as one. If you’re in the mood for some literary historical fiction, pick this one up today. You won’t be disappointed.

Final Rating: 5/5 stars

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Edit 5: Description and Setting

Back with another edit! We’re halfway there, and now that we’ve edited a lot of our larger elements (the plot, world and characters) its time to get a little smaller. This is the description and setting edit!

This is probably my least favorite edit to do. Like… ever. If character and dialogue writing is my strength, descriptive writing I my kryptonite. Don’t get me wrong, I know that its important. I greatly admire writers that can weave prose together in a way that makes your brain melt. I get all fangirly over literary prose.

But writing literary prose? Nope.

 It’s one of my greatest struggles as a writer. Which means that this edit takes quite a bit of effort and concentration. It requires choosing my words carefully in order to not seem to cliché. It takes reading some of my favorite books to get myself in the descriptive mood. It means scrolling through pinterest for hours looking at pretty pictures.

Okay, maybe that last one is just me avoiding my work. So what does this edit require? Well it requires looking at the beginning of each chapter and scene to make sure the setting is defined. It also means deciding a clear aesthetic for each location, which if you’re writing fantasy, means a lot. On a smaller level, it requires paying attention to character descriptions.

Also fight scenes.

Freaking fight scenes. I sure can picture them clearly in my mind but translation them into words, the attempt can be clumsy at best. I sometimes need a separate edit just for fight scenes. And in the case of my current WIP, I’ll probably take that extra edit. And I’m not looking forward to it.

But we all have our painful edits and this is mine. What’s yours? Let us share our pain together and then get our rears in gear and fix it!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Book Reviews: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Sometime after getting my agent, I was looking through my local Barnes and Noble for books that could possibly work as comp titles for my novel. Because what better way to excuse buying a bunch of books than putting together a book proposal? (On a side note, proposals are evil, but that’s a topic for another time) While scanning for steampunk titles, I stumbled across Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I had heard about it and it had been in the back of my mind for a long time. Might as well pick it up and see how I like it, right?

Thank you book proposal requirements.

The Plot: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Characters- As someone who was never a big fan of Cinderella from the original fairy tale or her portrayal and most of the updates and remakes, I really appreciate Cinder. She’s resourceful and empathetic. She keeps all of the original character’s good qualities while adding on and becoming her own person. Prince Kai is slightly less interesting, but at least he has a very understandable conflict. The original prince in Cinderella was such a nothing character he almost didn’t exist. Kai deals well with the struggles of his kingdom so I enjoyed reading about him too. Shout out to the crazy, mind-control villain, Lavinia, because I love mind control and villains. So many possibilities.

The Good Points- Obviously I love the characters, but besides this, I love the set up and the world. I love steampunk and fairy tale retellings, so I'm surprised I didn't pick this book up sooner. The set up this world and the aesthetics of it is unique. I thought the changes made to the source material were very clever (particularly the part with the foot. Those who have read the book know what I mean). The story wasn't afraid to throw in a few emotional blows for Cinder that I didn't expect. Really, this book took me to lots of unexpected places.

The Bad Points- Unexpected places, except for the major twist. The major twist is a good twist I just wished it had been disguised a bit better and I think there was an easy way to do that. I guessed the twist as soon as the first clue was revealed so that took away from the final punch. But sometimes the best books come from the journey and not the final destination.

I loved Cinder, and I love the other two books in the series, which I may review at a later date once Winter comes out. The easily guessed twist could have been played better, but over all this was an enjoyable read. I recommend it to any fans of fairy tale retellings or steampunk fantasy. This one is definitely worth it!

Final Rating- 4.5/5

Friday, February 6, 2015

Lessons from Anime: Attack on Titan and Diverse Background Characters

So I know we just talked about Attack on Titan a couple of weeks ago, but this is going to be more of a comparison on how animes handle diverse background characters. Specifically the male to female ratio.

These days, we’re getting a lot more female leads than we used to. Young adult fantasy and realistic fiction with mass appeal is going strong. In 2013, the two highest grossing movies had female protagonists. The majority of Hollywood movies still don’t pass the bechdel test, but now we’re getting a new Ghost Busters with four awesome and hilarious women. Don’t let me down Ghost Busters.

But though awesome ladies are stepping into spot light, many people still use male as a default, especially in fantasy. All of the random, nameless characters in a resistance group or army or other organization are male.

Today we’re going to be referencing Fullmetal Alchemist as a negative, which is rare given that this is my favorite show of all time and I just adore it. There are a lot of awesome, bad ass ladies in Fullmetal Alchemist and in the remake, FMA: Brotherhood. Winry the mechanic, Oliver the general, Riza Hawkeye the sharp shooter, Lan Fan the warrior, Mai Cheng the princess. And then there’s Izumi.

She’s a house wife. Like a boss.

But for all of the super awesome female characters all of the background characters in the military are men. All of the women in the military have names and characters, which you’d think would be a positive. But there’s something to be said for just having a woman in the background.

And honestly, the lack of women in the army doesn’t make any sense. Gender issues are nonexistent in this world and never are any of the women told they can’t make it with the guys. It’s one of the refreshing things about Fullmetal Alchemist. We never get the tried and true, cliché ‘but you’re a girl. You can’t do IMPORTANT things’ narrative. The women are just awesome. And the men respect their awesomeness.

But women in the background of the military? Not a lick. There aren’t even any female state alchemists which is frustrating given that alchemy is a science requiring no physical strength. There are lady alchemists outside of the military. Not so much in the military.

Now let’s look at Attack on Titan. Not only are the side characters practically evenly split in gender (in the top ten cadets four of the five are women) but there is relative equality across the board. Men and women join the fight against the titans and they exist in the foreground and background. The titans do not discriminate about who gets eaten either. Male and female cadets and officers get axed off on the regular. Because of this, the female characters aren’t characterized by their gender. They’re characterized by their skill sets. And there are some really…

Bad ass…


I also like that the uniforms are the same for everyone, and they make functional sense. Not like some of the BS outfits in anime, am I right?

Anime why? Anime stop.

Bottom line is: it’s good to have women in the spotlight. But they should be everywhere in all sorts of different positions. That’s how we get diversity. And that’s how we come to accept not male as the norm, but human as the norm.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Edit 4: Side Characters

Back with another round of edits! Last week we talked about the Main Character edit here. To sum it up in a few words, the main character is the driving force of the plot, so it only stands to reason that they get their own edit to flesh them out and strengthen their arc.

But the side characters are just as important. If main characters are the entrée, side characters are the starters, sides and desserts of the meal that give it an extra flavor. No one wants to read a book about just one person. One of the joys of books is the relationships formed between different characters and how they bounce off each other. Characters help to drive the plot and character development of others around them.

But at the same time, they need to have their own distinct arcs. I read a quote once that says “treat every character like they think the story is about them”. Because everyone is the main character of their own story, are they not? Besides, my favorite characters in books are almost never the main characters. A well written side character can snag your reader’s heart and leave them wanting more. And think of all the delicious feels when you kill their favorite side character off!

So I do an edit with the side characters, mapping out their arcs and checking their actions and reactions just as I do with the main character. This is mostly the same practice of edit 3, just a little less in-depth because the other characters don’t have as much page time. Not to mention, you can pick and choose which part of their arc to show. Since they are not the focus, you aren’t expected show every detail of their arc.

As a side note, the villain of your book can fit into this category of character, but depending on their involvement, you might want to do a separate edit just for the villains. As the driving force of the conflict, they often take more focus that side characters. In the case of my book, the villains are currently in the background and I can fit them in with the side characters edit. But there are some books where I can benefit by a villain edit.

Cause villains are awesome
That’s about all for now. See you for the next edit and happy editing!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Book Review: Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

I snatched this book off the library shelves when I read the summary and saw the title. A carnival with demons? By the author of Wicked Lovely? Better read it immediately. But did the book live up to my excitement? Let’s find out.

The Plot: In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the carnival, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures—if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

All Mallory knows of The City is that her father—and every other witch there—fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it's only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the carnival.

From Melissa Marr, bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series and Graveminder, comes a brand-new tale of lush secrets, dark love, and the struggle to forge one's own destiny. (Plot summary according to Good Reads)

The Characters: There are three main characters to this story, ranging from awesome to unnecessary to really creepy. First there’s Aya. She’s pretty awesome. There are clear stakes as she enters this game and she’s all around likable, though hardened by the world. I’m a sucker for those kinds of characters. Then, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s Mallory. We’re told that she’s a badass. But she never does any badass things. She’s just kind of… there and I can’t for the life of me figure out why she’s in the story. And then there’s Kaleb. He started out as pretty interesting but got really creepy really fast by the end of it. A shame, because it wouldn’t have happened without the Mallory subplot. But we’ll get to that later.

The Good Points: This book does have a lot of good points. I like the world, for instance, and the basic set up. I’m a sucker for fights to the death. I know they’ve been overused lately, but heck if I care. They’re fun to read about. There is an interesting class system set up and, as I said, I really enjoy Aya. But then there’s the bad points.

The Bad Points: Execution is everything. And in this case, the execution of Carnival of Souls is a bit confused. It seemed the author wanted to write two books. One is about an awesome fight to the death in an interesting world of demons. The other is about a typical teenage girl discovering a world of demons and finding romance (much more typical paranormal romance fair). Either of those would be fine with a deft hand. Melissa Marr has handled the latter plot well before (See Wicked Lovely), but something about this just falls flat. The main character isn't memorable and the romance is so rushed and, at the end, creepy, that its disconcerting and overshadows all the fun points about the books. Every time the book jumped to Mallory I felt disoriented. The two plots didn’t mesh whatsoever.

And let’s talk about another issue I have with the world. I think the world is pretty interesting (though it could have been better developed) but one fact particularly gets under my skin, that being the subjugation of women. This has been done in fantasy. It has been done so many times. I know that women were subjugated in the past. I know that we still face disadvantages. But we’ve seen it done in fiction so much. I’d like to see fantasies build conflicts that don’t rely on fighting gender norms. It can be done and it can make great fiction. And in this case the subjugation of women seemed so typical and been done. And it also added to the extremely creepy and unsettling romance that I can’t get into because of spoilers. It left a bad taste in my mouth when I closed the book. Its not that the gender subjugation was handled poorly for the most part. I would just like to see something new.

In the end, it’s a shame this book was so convoluted and rushed. With the right focus and the removal of the Mallory plot, it could have been quite interesting. Unfortunately old fantasy clichés, a rushed romance, and weird characterization leaves this book with a low rating. It didn’t anger me, but its just not the quality of work I've come to expect from Melissa Marr.

Final Rating: 2/5 stars.