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Kestrel’s friend Jess pulls her into a slave auction one day at the market. She finds herself enthralled by Arin, and ends up purchasing him for an exorbitant sum. Societal pressures forbid Kestrel and Arin from being together, but they can’t deny their attraction. Both Kestrel and Arin soon have bigger problems, though, as a secret rebellion threatens their entire way of life.

I’ve read about a thousand positive reviews of this book. All of the reviews were the same:

  • Strong main character
  • Awesome love interest
  • Incredible world-building
  • Engaging plot
  • Political intrigue

Unfortunately, that is not what I got.

What I found in this book was instead:

  • A main character who has been brought up to be strong, but really just flops around whenever something remotely difficult happens to her.
  • Arin is actually pretty rude and disrespectful, considering that Kestrel doesn’t treat him like a slave at all and he’s been given free rein to do basically whatever he’d like.
  • World-building? I’m sorry, but I can’t even tell if this book is supposed to be futuristic or medieval. There is near zero background information on the main conflict (Herrani/Valorian war), and more focus is placed upon societal gossip than the actual world in which these characters live.
  • The plot is so flat that had I not been stuck in a hotel all day, in the middle of a rain storm, in a foreign country, with no WiFi, I most certainly would have struggled to finish. There was nothing to keep me interested. Again, it all comes back to the fact that the most developed facet of this world was the gossip. Whether one of the ladies had cheated on her husband is incredibly unimportant to me, yet it is constantly mentioned throughout the book. You know what’s more important? The actual plot of the book.
  • With all the political plotting, you might think there’d be a semblance of conflict, but not really. Even the dramatic scenes fall short. Sure, Kestrel seems to have a good head on her shoulders when discussing hypotheticals with her father, but again, there wasn’t enough background information given for me to actually care about the war and rebellion.

All in all, I’m really disappointed. I had high hopes for this one (the reviews are 94% positive), but it really fell short for me. The curse of the overhyped book, I guess.

Final rating: ★★☆☆☆