Author: Jennifer Nielsen
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Pg. #: 342
Rating: **** (four stars)
Let's face it, I read a lot of YA. A lot of YA. Every one of the 23 books I read in 2013 is YA except this (though I suppose Princess of the Midnight Ball is also classified as Middle Grade). So anyway, it was absolutely excellent to read a middle grade book because it is such a refresher. The writing style is just different and I don't know exactly how (it's not simplistic or "telling not showing" or anything). The lack of romance was also refreshing, and the twisty plot that doesn't lag on-- I'm always entertained in Middle-Grade fantasy.
I really liked the narrator's voice for the first 150 pages or so. It was told in first-person from the perspective of Sage, an orphan who is basically kidnapped and in contest to play a special role (dang synopsis totally gave that away). He was sarcastic and rebellious which made the book much more interesting. However, as it went on, I became increasingly annoyed with his smart-talk. For a boy described as very clever, sometimes he said the stupidest things. And talking about the narration brings me to another point that frustrated me...
Sage conveniently left things out of his narration. No, seriously. Say he saw someone steal a knife. He wouldn't express that until later. Obviously the author was trying to up the suspense factor, but this frustrated me and made me confused. There was a huge part of the novel that Sage just conveniently didn't mention until the end, which made everything fall apart for me. I couldn't get used to the fact that I couldn't trust the narrator.
I also found some things predictable. Just by the nature of the book, you can almost guarantee one thing that's going to happen (like when the constant threat in books is always the character dying... the main character doesn't die when there is a series, at least not that I've seen). I also predicted several things, even the big event at the end. I was a little unsatisfied by the ending because I wanted something else to happen. SPOILER ALERT. I really wanted Roden to become King, then the next book could've been about the consequences of this. SPOILER ALERT OVER.
Despite all that, the novel was highly enjoyable. I was always entertained, the plot progressed well, and I liked the different characters. Overall, it was just a super fun book, which is why I still rated it 4 stars because I did really enjoy it (once I got over all the stuff Sage "conveniently forgot to mention").
Thanks for reading! I have a few more posts planned, so keep checking for those! Or, you know, just follow. :) Have a great day!