Jodi Meadows has a beautiful imagination and I was very excited to become a part of the world she had created. Let me just say first that she really created a beautiful and interesting world and I found myself eager to find out what would happen next.
With all of the dystopia and post-apocalyptic YA being marketed lately, I was more than ready for a utopian tale. The story that Meadows created really is a beautiful one and I applaud her for her creativity, unfortunately I think this story was better in theory than execution.
This could have been a wonderful philosophical tale about identity, discovery and coming-of-age confusion mixed with the occasional dragon and sylph attacks. Instead, more than half the book focused on a stale romance. Ana seemingly forgets about her identity of being a newsoul - the only newsoul - to focus on music and a boy. I was so thoroughly disappointed in this turn-out that I nearly stopped reading this book.
But, I kept reading, hoping for some answers to the many questions raised throughout the novel. Most of the answers, when we got the answers, were not well thought-out or interesting. In fact, a lot of this book revolved around the author making situations work. Instead of seeing logical and reasonable ways for a situation to go, something out-of-the-blue would occur and the narrator would be in the clear.
Another thing that bothered me was the constant confusion Ana had with Sam's expression. I wanted clarity and instead was left in a pile of mud, both with the romance and the plot line. I can't count how many times Sam made some sort of face that Ana couldn't decipher - and didn't even guess at! - in this book.
I took issue with the characters as well. The author wrote them in a particular way, but then they'd do something completely contrary to who we were expected to think they were. There were multiple times I saw a manipulation of the text and, as a reader, manipulation is not only annoying, it is also a sign of bad writing. For example, Sam refers to Stef as "he" when he's talking about Stef with Ana back in Range, but when we meet Stef, she is a she
in this life. Why not use the female pronoun unless it is a manipulation of the text to cause drama? I also didn't understand why Meuric was presented to be such an antagonist? The author kept telling me to hate him, but I never understood why. I understood the hatred aimed towards Li and empathized, but when Ana killed Meuric, it was so completely out of character that I had to walk away from the book. It also made no sense! She could have left him trapped in the Temple forever -- why throw him into the pit? And she was so okay with murdering someone who had never truly hurt her. Had it been Li, I would have understood, but Meuric? There was just so much in this book that didn't make sense.
Like I said earlier, I was really eager to find out all the secrets that this interesting world Meadows created had to offer. Unfortunately, those secrets were either kept from me, dragged along until I found I just didn't care anymore or it got tangled in the spidery web of Sam and Ana's romance.
All in all, if you're on the fence about this one, I'd say skip it. Meadows had great ideas and a great world that just, unfortunately, got lost in a plain romance. However, if you've got a hankering for a utopian tale, then it certainly wouldn't hurt to give this one a go!