Okay, y’all. This one was a doozie for me to rate. I went back and forth between 3.8/5 because it felt chaotic in regards to the path the plot took and a 4.2/5 because the uniqueness of the story. The genre jumped around a bit, undecided between fantasy, then dabbled in romance, then strange horror, then suspense, then back to fantasy. It had a bit more potential than what occurred but might stand out in my mind compared to others since it went down an unexpected path.
In chapter one we learned about Annaleigh, one of twelve girls. (so she originally had eleven sisters). In the beginning she was at the funeral of a fourth sister’s passing. With only eight of them left, our heroine was wondering if they were cursed or if their deaths were coincidence and of course, who would be next. Sidenote: The interior artwork reminded me of “To Kill A Kingdom.”
So many questions popped up right away. Like
if Morella will be the villain or not? Or who exactly were The People of the Salt? Can I trust Cassius or not?
When we finally saw Annaleigh’s goal of proving her sister’s death was a murder instead of an accident and to find the one responsible, then the plot became more set.
So … what? … chapter eight definitely changed the dynamic from a mysterious fantasy to a possibly horror fantasy. Verity was seeing the ghosts of her deceased older sisters and no one else seemed to have this capability. Was she being truthful? Did she have special powers? Why was she the only one? Sometimes, I was just shocked by the turn of unexpected plot events. I truly didn’t assume the story would take this route which was exciting. By chapter eleven I wanted more progressive movement with the possibility of a love triangle between Fisher, Cassius, and Annaleigh but the momentum between all those relationships felt stagnant so I couldn’t classify this as a romance.
Things took another surprising turn with a mention of a magical door for gods …. I won’t mention other spoilers but at this point I was unsure of what to focus on. I felt pulled in too many different paths of the central theme and topic of the novel. Was it a love story for Annaleigh or a murder mystery or a fantasy with a mystery portal? There were too many options and it didn’t feel focused.
“I’m the most terrifying nightmare of them all … regret.”
I smiled, though it wasn’t funny. “Is that really a nightmare?”
“Can you think of anything more frightening?”
In chapter eighteen I was like… “Um what? What did this Weeping Woman have to do with anything else? Were all these unrelated parts of the plot somehow connected?” It seemed like the author didn’t know which way to take the story and ambled down random paths.
(Second Sidenote: Their People of the Gale in Zephyr’s domain sounded like my land of Vayu in my Linked Trilogy.)
After chapter nineteen I was just open-mouthed, gawking and asking, “what the hell is happening?” Lol. I was enjoying the story still but even more layers were brought in with this possible hallucinations or psychosis that added onto all the other unsolved confusing points. I wished some of the earlier questions would have been answered along the way because at this point more unknowns were added on, making tell pile almost too complex. My mind was being tugged in 30 directions.
At the halfway mark I was wondering how Verity and Camille will play into the climatic scene later. I hated how the daughters/sisters were viewed as prizes at the party. This pattern in fiction needs to stop.
Chapter 27 finally got the suspense increased for “who dunnit!” Eventually, I just gave up trying to figure out who to trust.
As for the ending… Well … goodness … what a ride and grande climatic scene. I was overall satisfied with the outcome. So many deaths though, yikes. It felt as if there was a big plot hole that wasn’t addressed but I can’t really say what. This novel was interesting and unpredictable. Because of the strange-ness it’d be more memorable than others and stand out.