For those of you who like my rant reviews, wooow you’re in for a treat.
I always feel really bad rating ARCs low, but sometimes I just can’t help it. Every. Single. Thing. About this story made about 0 sense to me. Basically there’s this really cool concept of the Noble and Vile, right? Demigods who used to walk the earth until humans ate them and claimed their powers/the Gods banished them. But the Vile cheated and made some sort of door that requires blood sacrifices to be kept shut. Enter: Lorena. A 17 year old with a Tragic Backstory. She and the Crown prince, Alistair, have to work together to try and find a way to stop the door from opening and letting the Vile wreak havoc on the world.
Honestly, the summary is pretty cool, but I did not understand any part of this story. It had an A+ concept, but felt so much more like a first draft than a finished book. Oh, the potential! The rules and lore of the world were really shaky at best, and downright contradictory at worst. Let’s start with the Noblewrought and Vilewrought. I loved the idea of there being a power that required sacrifices to be used.
We are told that there are Noblewroughts, who have the power remnants/ soul kind of thing of Nobles, and they can create things from self-sacrifice. Then there are Vilewroughts, who have a power remnant/soul kind of thing of the Vile and can destroy through other-sacrifice. Plus the Dualwroughts, who have access to both. And yet the powers never seemed to have rules in practicality, or had sacrifices that actually made sense. There was SO MUCH overlap between the two wrights, I didn’t get the point of the distinction. This was a super unique concept, but was very much underdeveloped. Which was a big problem seeing as to how it is the background of the world, plot, and characters.
Then there is the arbitrariness. Two of the only interesting characters are cursed. And although they are immortal, they can also somehow die of old age? But anyway, one of them can only have their curse broken by growing a “perfectly blue rose”. Why? I HAVE NO IDEA. There were so many instances of strange little rules with no backstory or explanation, and I didn’t understand any of it. I had to search through the book dozens of times to either remind myself of what the senseless rules were, or check to see if there was some sort of background I was missing (most of the time I wasn’t. There was just no explanation). I couldn’t even read descriptions of the characters without getting confused or conflicting information–can someone tell me what color the Prince’s eyes are actually supposed to be??? Not to mention the councillors versus peers versus courtiers versus court overlap. And no, I won’t elaborate. Mostly because I can’t!
And lastly there were the characters. None of them were really likable and especially Lorena. I did truly feel bad for her tragic history, and I think she was supposed to be a very complex, tortured type. But that didn’t make up for every single manipulative, awful thing she did throughout the book. Even if most of it was revenge or attempted heroics, it read a lot more like she just didn’t have a conscience. Plus, talk about the queen of monologuing. Every other page was the same “the rich are corrupt, they abuse the poor, etc etc” speech. And I totally agreed with the sentiment but it added absolutely nothing new to the story with so much copy-paste repetition. Points for ace and nonbinary rep, although I am not one to speak to how accurate it is. Everyone else in the story I either tolerated, or downright hated (yes hello Will and Julian).
Overall, another very very good concept that wasn’t what I was hoping for. I honestly cant even explain the majority of what I found so confusing because it would be a book in itself. Coming from someone who enjoys complex “info-dumping” books, trust me when I say there was just too much going on.
So, have you guys read/ do you plan to read this book? Comment below!
Happy reading (:
Intended audience: YA
Content warnings: Self harm, death of a parent, murder