Rating: 3.5 Stars
Synopsis via Goodreads:
Death hasn’t visited Rowan Rose since it took her mother when Rowan was only a little girl. But that changes one bleak morning, when five horses and their riders thunder into her village and through the forest, disappearing into the hills. Days later, the riders’ bodies are found, and though no one can say for certain what happened in their final hours, their remains prove that whatever it was must have been brutal.
Rowan’s village was once a tranquil place, but now things have changed. Something has followed the path those riders made and has come down from the hills, through the forest, and into the village. Beast or man, it has brought death to Rowan’s door once again.
Only this time, its appetite is insatiable.
This book was just a recipe for everything-I-love in YA books. A dark, twisted tale that includes long-buried secrets in families, evil creatures hidden in the cloak of the dark forest, and some very, very crooked love.
Nothing is as it seems, and yet everything is right out in the open for those who wish to see it. There’s no grand journey a hero/heroine needs to go on to save everyone, there’s no such thing as being a “chosen one” – there’s simply the possibility of saving everyone because you want to, not to prove anything to anyone or even yourself, not because it’s expected of you, and in no ways that show your own pride hindering you to make foolish decisions. It is the character’s choices that make them end up where they are in the end, and even though unforeseen forces may have been giving them a guiding hand, it is ultimately their own choices that prove where their fates lie.
And yet . . . I didn’t quite love this book. I kept putting it down. I had to almost mentally make myself continue through it. In some ways, I suppose you could call this tale . . . boring. It had all the right things to make the book run smoothly, and yet it still wasn’t enough to keep my interest peaked.
“She hadn’t known her aside from the conversation on the forest path. But now that she was gone, it felt as if someone very important has disappeared, and she had to keep her hands at her sides lest they search blindly out in front of her for the warmth of a mother she knew she couldn’t remember.”
Probably one of the most important things in books is the writing. And this book had it. It ran along smoothly, enticing me to let the words roll of the page in front of my eyes. And, still, yet . . . it was never enough.
Fiona comes to the sleepy little village of Nag’s End with two parents that are not actually her parents. She is the cousin of Rowan, and they do not bond instantly. They meet once, and never again.
There is romance, yes, but never a real love triangle. Rowan has feelings for her best friend, Tom, but he is soon consumed by his feelings for Fiona . . . and his feelings are reciprocated.
But the thing I loved about the characters – especially Rowan – was that there is no petty feelings among them. Does Rowan feel the sting of jealousy even she – the one girl who is a genius in every way – does not fully understand? Yes, she does. But even when Tom turns his feelings onto her, she rejects them, and is mature enough to understand wholeheartedly that the feelings he has for her are only the shallow remains of what he feels for Fiona.
Rowan does not lie to herself to escape the horrors in front of her. She does not try to pretend that they are not there, that she simply sees something that only her imagination could conjure, but instead embraces it all instantly, letting the fear and horror of it all wash over her until she comes out new and understanding.
Rowan is the type of girl I love. She gets hurt, doesn’t bock out her feelings, and yet she is able to withstand everything thrown at her by letting it touch her, only not letting it all consume her.
When the romance I was waiting for does finally come along, it’s amazing. It’s fierce and powerful, and is exactly what Rowan needs but will not be destitute without it.
Best of all, what is the one thing every girl wants to hear after a steamy make-out session with the guy who finally made his move?
“Right,” Jude said, still shocked but grinning now. “Where does your father keep his weapons?”
There’s nothing like being kissed thoroughly and then having a conversation about weapons.