I gave this a young adult fantasy a 4.5/5 stars.
Here my thoughts while reading:
I love the map of Endla, from Spring Ceremony to Harding’s Cottage to the hideout. The prologue about the wolf didn’t make much sense to me so I wasn’t sure what to expect when the story started. Right away we meet The Watchers, Leelo and cousin Sage. I believe Leelo is the main character but we also heard about Isla and Tate and Fiona and Ketty. I need a family tree.
I think they protect their land from outsiders but the lake in their area is poisonous to villagers too.
So they have some sort of blood magic that’s related to singing. Leelo seems to have a festival coming up but her little brother isn’t allowed to go since his magic hasn’t matured yet. Chapter one has started in third person past tense but the last paragraph seemed to turn to omniscient.
Alrighty in chapter 2 we’re changing to a secondary point of view, which I’m assuming is the love interest, but again there’s already too many characters being introduced right away: Stepan (dad), Jaren (hero), Summer (oldest sister), Story (his twin), Sofia (baby sister), Sylvie (deceased mother), Klaus (family friend).
Jaren is 18 and not really sure where he’s going in life. He seems to be a bit of a wanderer and dreamer without a clear path for his future. While out he found the poisoned lake, without knowing the history of it. Because he was so far from home he has to sleep by the lake and awoke with a strange melody stuck in his head, the one Leelo sang last night.
So a boy not allowed in their land was discovered in the bed of one of Leelo’s friends. He was immediately kicked out of town where he chose risking the poisonous lake instead of attempting to live through the Wandering Forest. He drowned immediately showing us what happens when others break the rules.
I’m still unsure what their people are protecting exactly? Why can’t nonmagical people live with them and why is it so dangerous for them to stay?
Leelo’s little brother has weeks until his magic must mature or he will also be sent away forever. If he ever tries to return he will have the same fate as the drowned boy. Leelo seems to be the only one in their community questioning their methods.
I’m still having confusion about the two mothers and who are their kids. Fiona has two children, I think? (Leelo and Tate) And Ketty has one? But the way the narrative is written often feels misleading so I have to go back and reread it which slows the pace and takes me out of the story.
A lot of this reminds me of A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross.
I really like the consistent risks Leelo takes once Jaren arrives. It shows so much about her character.
Halfway through I’m wondering what did Ketty sacrifice for Fiona? What truly happened to Leelo’s father? Is Tate safe? Will Jaren return to his home? Will Sage discover her cousin’s secrets?
It seems like a woman is forced into a marriage in every other book these days.
Chapter 42 was predictable but still great! I like Isola’s involvement
I liked the climatic scene and had some assumptions things would be explained the way they would. But there were a few moments there where I was on the edge of my seat for poor Jaren.
I wasn’t sure if another big scene would happen because there were quite a few (short) chapters after the big event. I appreciated that the author took those pages to help the reader feel comfortable with the characters’ future. But not much romance conclusion happened, it was more family oriented.