Okay, ya’ll. Sit back and get ready because this is going to be a long and very rantish review.
Let’s start off with the positives first, though, okay? Helene. Yep, that’s it. Moving on… Kidding. I have to lovingly rant about one of my favorite characters ever now. Helene is real. Helene is flawed. Helene makes mistakes! One of her best traits is her downfall because she now doesn’t know who to be loyal to, and so ends up becoming hesitant and indecisive. I absolutely loved her because she was real. Also, girl, you NEED to get over Elias. He’s not worth your time.
Now… the fun stuff. Elias lost any personality he had last book as he pines over Laia and her golden eyes *gags* And, might I remind you, he’s 6′ 4″ (yes, they actually mentioned how heavy he was and how tall, because we all LOVE being able to visualize this hunk of a man) has grey eyes, is built like Dwayne Johnson, and is the bestest warrior EvEr. *rolls eyes* I genuinely loved him in An Ember in the Ashes, but it’s like the author forgot he actually had a personality. By the way, his only flaw is caring too much about people. Oh, and he lusts over every girl he sees but it’s not an issue. Hm. Let’s make him human, okay? Thanks.
I actually like Laia. If her and Elias wasn’t shoved down my throat. Every. Single. Page. I’d probably like her even more. She’s flawed, she’s got issues, and she grows. But she almost does a complete 180 from being timid to courageous, and while it wasn’t “too” unrealistic, it still wasn’t realistic enough. Also, finding out her and the Nightbringer had sex (he’s the villain of the story, mind you, and a jinn) was absolutely disgusting. Yes, she thought he was Keenan, but that was a detail that didn’t need to be added and the way she deal with it afterwards is a poor attempt at how any human being would react to that trauma.
I hate her and Elias together. It’s based purely on physical attraction and how much they both desperately “want” each other. Keep in mind Elias ALSO has feelings for Helene, but we know that’s only there to build sexual tension between Elias and Laia. And while they both say they like the other for their personality, it’s quite obvious they don’t. I initially shipped Elias and Helene, but she can do so much better than him. Also, just a month after Laia’s traumatic experience, she’s trying to have sex with Elias? Like, what?! I’m sorry, but that’s BEYOND unrealistic and minimalizes how Laia must have felt after what she went through. And the dead souls are jealous when they kiss… I’m just… I’m confused and disturbed.
Didn’t hate the side characters, but didn’t really care for them except Izzi/Izze. she was realistic and I really liked her. And the names of lands and people are so basic! Scholars, Masks (wow, they wear masks! How subtle), the land is called the Empire, the resistance is called the Resistance… etc. Lastly, everyone is gorgeous! Every. Single One. All are slender but curvy, NO ONE has brown eyes, and when first described all are called physically attractive. This book was just a nope. Everything is surface-level and seems set on desensitizing you to the horrific things in our own world. The only reason it got two stars was because I actually finished it and Helene was that amazing that she bumped it up to a two.