By MarcyKate Connolly
Expected publication February 10, 2015 by HarperCollins Children's Books
In the city of Bryre, an evil magician sickens and steals young girls. Kym, who lives in the forest, was born to put a stop to this. But, she is special, and she might frighten humans - she must only visit Bryre in the dark of night to rescue the girls. Despite the curfew, one night Kym sees a young boy in the palace gardens. Though she shouldn't, she can't resist the urge to talk to him. Soon, his friendship will expose her to truths she couldn't have imagined.
I was pretty excited when I spied this book on Edelweiss. It sounded dark and complicated, reminiscent of fairy tales. I was very much looking forward to reading it and happy to have access to an advance copy.
For me, this book didn't really hold up to its promise. I was initially quite engaged with the story. I like that the first chapters are short, as Kym is just awaking and is very slowly learning about the world. I liked that this book could be said to be about monsters in general, monsters of all kinds - those that are perhaps misunderstood, those that are irredeemably evil, those that are only considered monstrous because of their appearance, etc. It is, I suppose, a more fantasy-specific version of "don't judge a book by its cover." But that is about where the good stuff ends for me.
I often found Kym quite frustrating. I suppose I had a really difficult time relating to her - her insistence on following and befriending Ren just didn't really work for me. On the one hand, I understand her bitter loneliness and her longing for a friend of any kind. On the other, it seemed so far out of line with her character and her desire to please her father. Additionally, I thought the way the plot played out was incredibly predictable - pretty much everything happened exactly as I would have guessed. I spotted the twist coming from a mile away and was thoroughly disappointed when my suspicions were proven correct. And the ending - ugh. I'm sorry; it was too incredibly cheesy for me.
Overall, I found this to be disappointing, but I can see younger fantasy fans enjoying it - they will be less likely to spot the twist ahead of time.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.