Author: Jay Kristoff
Published by: Harper Collins
Publication date: 11th August 2016
Source: Illumicrate subscription box.
“The books we love, they love us back. And just as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us. I can see it in you, sure as I see it in me. You're a daughter of the words. A girl with a story to tell.”
I wish I hadn't read any reviews before I'd read this book.
Not because of spoilers and hints at plot, but because they completely put me off reading it for weeks.
I was so hesitant and sure that I wouldn't like it that I put it on a shelf and politely ignored it for a while.
How wrong I was!
“You've got the look of a girl who's no stranger to the page. I can tell. You've got words in your soul.”
The book itself is absolutely gorgeous.
I was lucky enough to receive a signed hardback copy in my recent Illumicrate subscription box, and it is a thing to behold!
The dust jacket has a beautiful and detailed crow illustration and hidden underneath is another crow, this time embossed in black on the actual hard cover. The end pages are made to look like a black sky filled with stars, and there are three amazingly stunning maps that I could stare at for ages.
Its a truly lovely book.
Now onto the story itself.
A lot of reviewers on here disliked it because of the style of writing, and this is initially what put me off too. From peoples reviews of it I was sure that I wouldn't like the writing style either.
People claimed it was overly descriptive. Using weird and strange metaphor after metaphor.
And this is true to some extent.
I spent a good couple of chapters being annoyed, confused and baffled by some of the descriptions used. They just didn't made sense and were often laughable or just plain frustrating.
Here is one of my favourites:
"But if the inn were a man and you stumbled on him in a bar, you'd be forgiven for assuming he had - after agreeing enthusiastically to his wife's request to bring another woman into their marriage bed - discovered his bride making up a pallet for him in the guest room."
If the inn were a man?!
What the what?
I think this part was trying to describe a particularly awful building? But who knows!
However, with that said, this style of writing does seem to calm down after a few chapters (the very first one probably being the worst). Almost as if even the author became bored of wading through all the confusing and pointless waffle!
And then it gets really good.
The story really gets a flow to it and I found myself happily carried along, unwilling to put it down even for a second.
Desperate to find out what was going to happen next!
The setting of a school for assassins was just amazing.
It was like a deadly and dangerous Hogwarts where the students learn about poisons, weapons, stealth and seduction instead of spells.
I felt like there was danger and death lurking at every [page] turn.
And I loved it!!
The twists and turns were hidden so well I never saw them coming! So much shock and suspense.
This really was a hard book to put down.
The characters were also wonderful.
I wasn't sure if I was going to warm to Mia at the start. 'Angsty' characters aren't usually my favourite as a rule. But she became so much more than just angst as the story went along and I ended up really liking her and caring about what was going to happen to her.
Though I wasn't the biggest fan of the romance.
It wasn't awful, but nothing would really be lost from the story if it wasn't there.
I loved all of the teachers at the school.
(and was terrified of them in equal measure)
They were all wonderfully fleshed out with completely different personalities to match the lessons that they each taught.
Overall, I was really surprised by this book and wish I had of given it a chance as soon as i got it instead of letting myself be put off it.
So yes, while some of the writing is over-the-top and a bit annoying at the start, if you can get past that you will find a truly amazing story.
One you really should try for yourselves!
“Too many books. Too few centuries.”