Ughhhhhhhh this book. I don’t hate romance in books, but I EXTRA HATE when a pretty good premise – young girl’s brother is captured by guards, and in order to secure the aid of The Resistance in rescuing him she has to aid them by spying on/becoming the slave of the ruthless commandant of the ruthless training school, MEANWHILE the commandant’s unacknowledged son is a promising but reluctant student about to graduate from said school only to find himself tossed into a contest to become THE NEXT EMPEROR – I hate when major players break off from their spying or contesting or whatever every ten seconds to be like, But that slave girl! Her eyes.
|Wake me up when you’re back to being used as a letter-runner because people assume you can’t read.|
ALSO I HATE when people’s defiance and desire for freedom flash across their faces, and in that moment you have a kinship and feel less alone, because this is just a lazy way of building rapport instead of having to write actual conversations. NOBODY’S FACIAL EXPRESSIONS ARE THAT SPECIFIC.
Also! You have two female characters doing all kiiiiiinds of badass shit, one of the female students kicking EVERY ass because people are constantly underestimating her, and then you keep letting one of them have some feelings and making your male MC all disgusted because ‘She’s acting like an actual girl.’ THIS IS THE WORST YOU ARE A HUMAN WOMAN WRITING THIS NOVEL DON’T PULL SHIT LIKE THIS.
|But also more importantly you are letting ME down.|
Also, as @meryl_kate pointed out on twitter, ‘”effortlessly graceful” is a helpful clarification because just regular graceful looks like such a sweaty workout.’ (What I’m saying is, the writing isn’t always great.)
I got pretty caught up in the non-romancey plot, I super like trials and contests and things, but it kept being INTERRUPTED, so even though there’s obviously gonna be a sequel, I MAY NOT READ IT even though I super want to know why the commandant’s tattoo is only half-finished.