Review #262

I rated this fantasy a 4.6/5 stars. I loved the circus/ magician performer theme with the dark vibe of the haunted mirrors. I thought the first half was much better than the last Act which is usually the opposite for me so I’m not sure what happened. There is a sequel I’ll be reading next so stay tuned.

I’m glad Daron had a POV too but I really don’t like head hopping mid-chapter.

Here’s my thoughts live while reading:

The prologue completely captivated me. In this casino-like location, I’m unsure if the star, Kallia, or the Master is in charge/in control, which may be the whole point.

I’m impressed that this is Janella Angeles’ first book. The prose are beautiful but not overbearing. Kallia already has a distinct and relatable goal, to leave her current state and see what lies within the forbidden city of Glorian, just out of her reach. And even though Jack may present himself as her ally by showering her with gifts, he is trapping her there. She has greater potential that he may want to control. I’m wondering how old Jack is? If there are other female magicians like Kallia elsewhere? How will she trek through the Dire Woods to get to the city? Who king help her along the way? What kind of obstacles will she face? Is the theme overcoming the silence of women? Will anything surprise me?

Jeez! The scene with the illusion on the edge of the forest was super intense. Jack reminded me a bit of Tamlin in ACOTAR. 

This is one of the first books in third person that is done so well that it feels like first person, which is a huge compliment. 

Act 1 had soooo much agency and urgency that I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, speed reading and barely took a breath for 53 glorious pages. I’m in love so far. 

I love how the author has such a great balance between action to drive the momentum forward and description that paints the scene. 

This book is classified as YA, but so far the vibe I’m getting from our heroin is around age 21. So I’m interested in her age.

Ooooh who just signed their life away and why? In my head there’s a little evil laughing ringing and I’m rubbing my hands together. 

Who started the fire?!? How was it so sudden? What secrets does the mayor and his daughter know? This banquet meeting felt like a major shift in the story. I’m about a quarter through and learned about more history of the city. 

I’m not sure what Doran’s goal is? Was Eva his sister? What is he trying to accomplish on the board of judges? Why is he there? Why did he stop using magic? What’s his story? 

At the halfway mark I’m thinking the same as Kallia, as in we’re both super confused about what just happened. Though I’m obsessed with the concept of the creepy mirrors being their downfall. 

Chapter 23- omg I love this story. The author is soooo good at the compelling scenes on stage. 

At the end of Act 2 I’m a little frustrated and impatiently awaiting more answers. 

In chapter 30 I’m a little bored because this is when they’re getting to know each other but it’s all summarized. 

At the end of Act 3 I’m increasingly frustrated with wanting more answers but also the intrigued is high to keep reading. 

Unfortunately, last chapter was very confusing. I’m not at all satisfied with the cliffhanger because nothing was clarified. The book doesn’t feel resolved or finished. I understand there’s a sequel but that second book should have it’s separate plot arc instead of just never answering things from the first.

I have way too many unanswered questions but can’t list them here without giving spoilers.

Published by CassieSwindon

Fiction author

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