Arianna grew up with an overprotective legal guardian on the bad side of town... until she learned she's the believed-dead twin sister of the princess.
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This book was very conflicting for me. On the one hand, it's an amazing plot and very well thought out story. On the other, there's a lot of unrealistic elements and not-so-great writing. So I've decided to break down this review into two parts.
The Good: The premise was amazing. I mean, it sounds pretty cliched - girl grows up in small town, finds out she's a princess. But the magic elements, the danger and secrecy, and the crucial back story we as readers are given in the prologue really strengthened the story.
The magic is pretty well-explained. The descriptions - of scenery and clothing, in particular - were clear, colorful, and the right length. Verb usage and action scenes were strong. Actually, the prologue - with all its action and danger and high stakes - was probably my favorite scene. My favorite aspect of this book overall was how well I could visualize everything in my head. It would translate well into a movie.
While you'll see below that the characters could use work, I did love some of the relationships. Sam (who's often overlooked and a bit confusing sometimes), Kain, and Ash made a very realistic family unit. They protected each other while at the same time strongly disagreeing or annoying each other. I loved old man Mosby and really wish there was more about the Mosby/Ary dynamic. Maybe next book?
The Bad: The characters were, a lot of the times, one of two types: 2D (given a few traits that alone defined them); or unbelievable (one minute chipper and friendly, the next scowling and grumpy, then suddenly mysterious). I felt like Kain, Ary, Lita, and minor characters were more 2D while Ash and Tristan were more unbelievable.
The love triangle was all wrong. Both Kain and Tristan seemed almost to have dual personalities; they're all caring and protective of Ary. Then they're forcing her to do something/bossing her around. And suddenly they're throwing each other through walls in jealousy! If they were real people, I would advise any friend of mine to get rid of them both. (Which is sad, because I had really high hopes for Tristan at the beginning of the book.) Then there's a bit about destiny and soul mates... making a clear "right" and "wrong" choice here is just not good, in my opinion.
When the word choices weren't bland, words like "flow" or "stain" were used very strangely. There were some misspellings that bothered me, like peek/peak. In several minor spots someone would move their hand, or put something down... and then do it again in the next paragraph. Example: Boy puts hands on girl's shoulders. Lines of dialogue. Girl jerks out of boy's grasp and steps back. Another line or two of dialogue. Girl steps out of boy's hands... didn't she already do that a few minutes ago?
Finally, the setting. Arg. The setting! This was the first problem that showed up and the one that continued to irritate me the most. We have a palace, and magic, with spells, healing spheres, special forests of trees, et cetera. There are royals, lavish gowns, open-air markets full of vendors' booths, magic animals, secret villages with weapons training, and colorful, Tangled-reminiscent houses. This all goes beautifully with the story line. But what's this about dishwashers? And traffic lights, sleeping pills, sundresses? Excuse me? Um, no. Not working at all.
Conclusion: As you can see, there's a lot of amazing and awful in this book. To be honest, I would love to tell Miss Moyer to take it off Amazon and do some serious edits and rewrites - my feedback on "the bad" seems to match some GoodReads and Amazon reviews I've seen. Once she's put this book back through the wringer a time or two, I can really see her writing career taking off with this series.
I give this book two point five stars, and hope to see improvement with the next book - which, yes, I will be reading!
I downloaded this book at the author's request during a buy-it-free promotion that the author ran. I wrote this review in response to her request for a review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.