The idea behind this novel was more of what drew me in. Admittedly, I only finished it because I knew it wouldn't take very long, not because I was in any way, shape or form drawn
along. Some books whip you into a passion where you have to flip through pages (or press fervently on the Kindle 'next page' button), but this is not one of them.
The characters are shallow, stagnant creatures. They have no depth. Kate is your average, run-of-the-mill, YA heroine. She's nothing extraordinary, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but she also has no quirks, no downfalls, no annoying habits (other than complaining about dresses--I'll get to that), nothing that the reader can identify with.
She's a kind of shell, insert spirit here. I couldn't identify her characteristics well, other than the vague, she's giving, she's caring, she's loving, etc. She has no definition outside taking care of her mother. The only interesting part about her emerged when she punished Ava, and rightfully so. The rest was not so enchanting.
My biggest contention: Kate has no backbone. We're told she does (taking care of her mother through difficult illness), but we're not shown it, except for once. When it comes to others, she can quickly find it, say when she's quick to defend Henry's moping, or placing judgment on her newest best friend Amy--who lied
to her, who had so many bad habits: squealing, sleeping with random men with no thought of the consequences. This is the best friend she's chosen, a girl who would leave you in a forest simply because her boyfriend appeared interested in you. No jealousies, or insecurities there. How about a friend who can stand on her own two feet? That's the YA best-friend I would crave.
One further annoyance, though a small one when it comes to overall story. How she dresses. She gets bullied along by Ella to wear whatever her maid/helper chooses, which was singularly dresses. Kate says no, but nothing comes of it. She relents, just puts them on, doesn't put up a fight. She whines about it, but does nothing to fix it. Henry does. Thanks, Gallant Knight, I couldn't save myself from lavish finery.
The book gets two stars, but only because the writing was not abysmal. It was quick, easy, light reading. The pacing was fast, but the written story lacked appropriate transitions between actions. One minute you cannot be stepping in a river, and then dodging under a hedge. How did you get further across the river? How did you get out of the river? Did you climb on the bank, or did the hedge literally sit on the edge of the river?
I'm sure there is much more left to critique. Things that are more pertinent to the novel than say: a heroine's wardrobe.
I will admit that the book did surprise me at the end. I usually pride myself on being able to unwind a mystery, or a surprise before the author spells it out for you. Admittedly, I didn't know to even look for it, but the author deserves credit there. The veil was most certainly over my eyes. And if you're curious, it was exactly who all the gods and goddesses were. I didn't spend any time, or put any thought into who each person was, let alone that they were so tightly woven into the story and everyday life for Kate.