HarperTeen | Fantasy | Release Date: 09/03/2019
Okay, is it just me or is this one of those books in the YA book world that people either really love or really don’t like? I feel like the other books series that fall into this category are Daughter of Smoke and Bone and The Raven Cycle. I like a polarizing book so I had to check this one out.
I started this having no idea what it was about, I just knew it was a YA fantasy and was stirring up some controversy. As I was reading (listening on audio) my interested was piqued as we enter Cesarine, an opulent city forged in a land once ruled by witches—who have been ruthlessly conquered by the religious and devout Le Blanc royal family.
For generations, witches have been forced into hiding or face death at the hands of the Chasseurs, witch executioners. So for Lou, a foul-mouthed impulsive young witch on the run, Cesarine is the last place she should be. When a public misstep forces her to marry Captian Reid Diggory a Chasseur officer, soon the man she fears the most becomes the only one she can trust
What I like is this is one of the books where we jump into the action at the start, then quickly watch Lou and Reid navigate their forced marriage of convenience. I never knew what to expect and liked that it didn’t feel formulaic and wasn’t just about a rebellion. Lou and Reed had individual journeys and goals they wanted to accomplish.
I am strictly middle of the road with this book. I’m not a big fan of forced marriage or enemies to lovers tropes. I can see how the taboo nature of their relationship might be appealing to some readers but not so much for me. I mean because Reid is a Chasseur, he has killed tons of women and girls because of his religious creed as Chasseur and this is something Lou has to accept about him? Not an appealing dynamic.
Now with that said I feel like there is a bit of a controversy with this book as it features a rather steamy sex scene for YA while they are two consenting people having a positive experience, I can see how younger teens may not want to read this.
I’m just actually really curious why this YA? The perspective felt like it could have been an adult fantasy novel. The characters are 18 but read much older, they are established in who they are and what they want. And I know when you are young a teenager a few years makes a big difference but they treated a 16-year-old character like he was much younger than them.
Readers looking for a darker YA romance with anti-heroes, snarky female characters, magic, and some witch related female-rage will enjoy the start to this unpredictable YA duology.