Published By: Del Rey Books
Release Date: Febuary 14th
Genre: YA Fantasy, Dystopian
I was given this book for an honest review from net galley.
Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.
Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.
A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.
Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?
A boy dreams of revolution.
Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.
And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.
He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?
I’m gonna start off with some basic thoughts then go into some pros and cons. Sound good? Good. So I used the good reads description for the synopsis because anytime I tried to explain this book to someone else they would give me the “huh???” face. There is A LOT of plot going on between the government trying to maintain control, and the different characters going about their daily lives. The plot just isn’t easily to be summed up in a sentence or two.On top of that there are 5 different POVs. This book has pieces of many other YA books like Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard or Red Rising by Pierce Brown. If you loved those novels you will probably love this one. I actually hated Red Queen, but not for the story line. If you like the magical bloods vs normal blood storyline, then keep reading.
Alternate version of Britain – I love alternate history retellings. Especially when they get gritty.
The dystopian set up – James set her story up nicely for an engaging dystopian with that plot that will have the reader rooting for the unequals and their revolution. The story was never boring and kept me wanting to know what was next.
Family dynamics – Whether looking at the equal family the Parva – Jardines, or their servents the Hadleys, the way the family members related to each other was intriguing. Magic doesn’t equal happiness. The sibling bonds were my favorite to read about. Abi does everything in her power to take care of her brother and sister. Yet Silyen is purposefully creating trouble for Jenner and Gavar. Both sets of parents are doing what they deem “best” for their children. Whether it aligns with their children’s wishes or not.
Cons( 1 or 2 spoilers below.)
There was A LOT of telling instead of showing. Time would pass and events would’ve happened during this time, and it was not touched on again. The narrators would tell the reader things in this distant and non personal voice. “Time passed and I played the game a few times.” Ok what did you have to do? What’s happening in the slave town while the equals decide everything for you? I got really frustrated with it.
Abigail’s romance with Jenner was completely unnecessary. After the prologue we already know what happens when a servant falls for an equal. Her teenage crush seemed vapid and flaky. On the way to Kyneston she’d already talked to herself about focusing on work, ect. Where did this romance come from? It’s not like he was the first guy to be nice to her. She had just started her slave days, so she couldn’t be that lonely and downtrodden. Then suddenly he liked her back? UM NO, I don’t believe that.
Speaking of the the prologue, Gavar kills Leah. Now I’m all for a morally grey character. But then later he goes on about how he did love her, he just has anger issues. And we are supposed to feel not as mad at him because of his family life. Um No! You killed your precious daughter’s mother. I am not about to give you an ounce of pitty sir.
The last 1/4 of the book felt thrown together. There are 2 major events that take place. The first one is a magical healing. And James doesn’t explain how Silyen (Who p.s. I called Slitherin in my head the entire time. ) is able to do this thing. He just does, and the reader isn’t even present when it happens, only after. And the second thing is a major revolutionary event. But it felt sudden, out of place, and you wouldn’t tell until later that Luke was being controlled by magic anyway. I was so mad! And because it didn’t go the way I wanted. But because it didn’t make sense.
Other people may not have a problem with the telling vs showing. And they make think the ending was spectacular. But I has some strong feelings about this book and couldn’t hold them in. I encourage you to check this book out anyway and make your own opinions. Especially if you loved Red Queen.