I think I’m going to find this review a little difficult to write. Because whilst it didn’t exactly wow me, I didn’t hit any points in the story where I didn’t really want to read on. Although I think that may have had something to do with wanting answers. But the answers never came, so I’m left slightly at a loss now I’ve reached the end (N.B. this is evidently a 1st in series, because the story ending with a new beginning–if that makes sense).
To me, this book had a few issues that stopped it from being a great read. I’ll try and organise those into coherent thought to explain myself.
- The MC: Nikki: She was a decent enough lead for the book, but she did feel slightly under-developed. Or the route she followed completely changed from scene to scene, with little explanation–which meant I was never really given a choice to understand her as a person, and then led to a dampening on the chance to truly connect with her.
- Mace: The second point of the ‘love triangle’. I didn’t quite grasp a decent enough explanation for why Mace decided he was in love with Nikki (love at first sight, too). Another character who seemed to change direction a lot with little lead-up or reasoning.
- Raven: I thought he was better developed than the other two. Although he did surprise me by not just going for it with Nikki when he obviously wanted to. I’d imagine that had a lot to do with the inner battles he constantly seemed to be fighting–though I would have loved a much deeper glimpse into his thoughts/soul because I believe that would have added some great depth to his character.
- Vine: possibly the most consistent character throughout the book. The reader knows where they stand with this Halfling, and I found myself almost wishing he could have played a bigger role.
- Will: he was supposed to be their ‘leader’, the main trunk of the tree, yet his character almost paled into the background. Even when he was heading up a discussion with the three Halflings, he didn’t seem to hold much dominance over the situation.
- the transitions/altered directions/scene jumps: as mentioned above with both Nikki and Mace, their directions/thoughts/wants/etc changed direction a lot. I get that this can happen–especially amongst teenagers–but there was no lead/little lead up to the change in attitude/decisions, which made them seem almost bipolar in their behaviour.
- the world building: I didn’t have a problem with any of it; although, I think we need a greater purpose for the Halflings than them just being expected to protect two realms what both deny them full acceptance–because that’s a bit of a bum deal and is it realistic enough to believe they’d offer such servitude for so little in return?
- the plot: at this point, it’s nigh on impossible to distinguish if the plot is original because I don’t have the full picture of what the story is about. To be honest, it doesn’t seem to have moved very far in this book. HOWEVER, I am left with a LOT of questions at the end that I would quite like to know the answers to. So, in that respect, I guess the author has done a good job in enticing the reader to want/need to read on in the series. Some of the questions I have: what really happened to Nikki’s parents?; who is Damon really? Is he human? And if not, why aren’t the Halflings/Will sensing this? How does he tie in to the labs? And speaking of labs, just what testing is happening and why horses?; Is Nikki even human? And do/did her parents know of her greater role she seems to be heading toward and is that why they’ve had her ‘in training’ with her martial arts? And if yes, how does this tie into their relationship with Damon? Do/Did they know what his intentions are regarding Nikki/are they somehow obligated to him? There are probably more, but I think that’s more than enough mentioned.
To summarise, although there are some issues that hindered the read from being better than it was, the book has enough going for it to keep the reader interested. The author has great descriptions–I always knew what was happening and the scene we were in–and a smooth cadence to her writing tone that made the reading an easy experience. Will I read on? Quite possibly. As already mentioned, I have a lot of questions need answering.