I bought this book in the beginning of May, but have only finished it just yesterday. The reason for the extremely long length of time it took to read this was due to problems I have encountered with the novel. Although the novel tried hard to be gripping and action-packed, I wasn’t hooked. Reading the novel was like a chore to me for a while, and like with all chores, I procrastinated. However, I am a from believer in the idea that no books should ever be abandoned, so I endured it and kept reading. And I’m actually happy that I decided to continue reading the novel, because it was actually surprisingly enjoyable. After 100 pages, I found myself interested in the novel, and it turned out to be quite an fascinating read. Although there still were a fair share of problems in the novel, I was satisfied when I finished it, meaning that it wasn’t as bad as I first presumed it to be.
One aspect of the novel that I found to be wonderful and irritating at the same time was the magical world the plot took place in. The setting was created and written beautifully, successfully depicting the dangerous beauty of today’s world through the Great Forest. The author also masterfully styled it with complications and complexities, making it as realistic as fantasy could be. However, its intricacy soon became a problem as the story progressed. To describe the problems the world produced, imagine that you’re attempting to cram a gallon of water into a normal-sized glass. When pouring at first, everything’s fine, since the glass still has room. However, the water soon fills up the entire glass, leaving no room for anything else. Then, the water begins to spill over the glass, flooding the surrounding area and creating a mess. That almost perfectly describes the effect the magical world had on the story. The novel, depicted by the small glass, soon became over-flooded with the setting, not allowing enough room for character development or a less cryptic plot. With that analogy, there are two simple solutions: get a bigger glass, or use less water. However, the author completely ruled out the latter option, making the Great Forest a much too large concept for this much too small book. She made no attempt to simplify it and make it a smaller aspect of the book for the sake of the reader’s comprehension. Then, the only solution remaining is too get a bigger glass, or, put in simpler terms, make a larger series. However, since the author doesn’t seem to have any plans to produce a sequel to the novel, I guess there’s no way to fix this issue. The setting wasn’t supported properly by the novel, which left me feeling much too overwhelmed. Settings are meant to be the background of a story, offering a backbone to the plot. They’re meant to be subtly hinted throughout the novel, not arguably the biggest aspect of it. Overall, although the world was very interesting and appealed to my curiosity, I wish that instead of making it her main focus the author put more time in the characters and the plot, which I deem to be more important aspects of the novel.
Another aspect that I found to be confusing was the personality and thoughts of the main character, Rachelle Brinon. I found her character development to be lacking, since I didn’t see much change in her from the beginning to the end. However, that might just be due to the fact that her personality and ideals fluctuate so often that it’s hard to determine if she’s changed or had a mood swing. She always begins by upholding the beliefs and not wanting to commit any more sins in her life. However, when she does do things that are frowned upon, she simply shrugs them off with the idea that since she’s already damned, it doesn’t matter. Well, I do not understand her or her train of thought one bit. I do not understand how a character like that, who has already accepted her damnation, has any values left to uphold, especially if she puts them in such low regard. The author attempted to make her honorable and resilient and wrote and developed the character as if she should be a worthy-role model to readers everywhere. However, I highly disagree. Under that mask of a brave face, Rachelle is simply an unsure teenage girl with no regard to herself or to the feelings of the majority around her. She is a self-centered, self-entitled jerk and should be thought of as such. Frankly, I was disappointed by the main character, and she’s definitely not as worthy and memorable as I’d hoped she’d be.
One aspect that I enjoyed, though, was the concept of the Devourer, the antagonist of the novel. At first, you are led to believe that it is some sort of abominable monster, too fearsome to behold. However, at the end, you realize that the Devourer is nothing but the abstract concept of hunger and destruction, manifested through instances of chaos. I was pleasantly surprised when I came to know this fact, and it made me enjoy the novel a lot more. It wonderfully explains how the urge for power isn’t coordinated and organized, but more like a vacuum of intense blackness that swallows up everything it consumes. It definitely made the ending, and therefore the whole novel, more worth-while.
Another part that I loved about the novel was the fairy tale and heathen legend scattered throughout the story. It was fascinating to me how wonderfully the author managed to create mythology for her characters and world, and it was arguably the most interesting facet of the novel. She also masterfully placed it in just the right sections, allowing the myth to flow parallel to the actual storyline occurring. I found it clever and entertaining, definitely allowing the plot and book as a whole grow and fit the mold of fantasy a lot better.
Overall, the book could be better. I wasn’t dazed or in love with the novel after finishing it, but I wasn’t ready to throw it in the trashcan either. If you want an introduction to the fantasy genre, I don’t recommend this novel, because it will overwhelm you and would most likely put you off from reading another fantasy novel in a while. It isn’t a memorable book, but I was content enough while reading, which I guess means that it might be worth a shot for people who want to endure it.
If you do decide to check it out, please let me know your opinions on it in the comments below. Thank you for reading!
Here’s how the book cover looks like, if you were wondering: