The cover's pretty cool, and I really like fantasy books with female protagonists, but unfortunately, this one just didn't work for me. I think I started this way back in January, but by this past Friday, I'd only made it to 24%. I sat down that night, intending to get a good chunk done, and after what felt like forever, I was only at 29%. So I decided not to finish this one.
I don't think I have much to add to what people have already said. Talking about believability in a fantasy book feels weird, but this story stretched mine. Eliana is supposed to be a serious assassin, but a lot of the times, she just feels incompetent. Her mom is supposed to be an assassin, too, the one who taught Eliana everything, but then she gets captured? It seemed like it just happened for plot purposes.
I also just didn't like anyone. I don't think every female character has to be "likeable," but I have to want to root for someone. The problem was I didn't connect with either Rielle or Eliana, and I can't really pinpoint why. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that their stories didn't feel like they revolved around them, if that makes sense. As for the side characters, no one captured me. It feels like Simon was supposed to be charming, but . . . meh? Because of my disinterest for the characters, some moments that were meant to be emotional just felt silly to me. Like Harkan declaring his love for Eliana right before he does something unwise.
The writing didn't click for me. The prologue confused me rather than got me hooked on the story. Because of the time jumps, a lot of it felt repetitive. The pacing is a lot of action and not a lot of character development. A horse gets killed pretty violently, which I really hated.
All that said, this book obviously works for some readers. That's cool. It just wasn't for me, and that's okay, too. Different strokes, and all that.
Thanks to NetGalley, Sourcebooks Fire, and Claire Legrand for the e-ARC.