Owlcrate Exclusive edition. Signed by Lyra Selene. This is an exclusive cover change.
Sylvie has always known she deserves more. Out in the permanent twilight of the Dusklands, her guardians called her power to create illusions a curse. But Sylvie knows it gives her a place in Coeur d’Or, the palais of the Amber Empress and her highborn legacies.
So Sylvie sets off toward the Amber City, a glittering jewel under a sun that never sets, to take what is hers.
But her hope for a better life is quickly dimmed. The empress invites her in only as part of a wicked wager among her powerful courtiers. Sylvie must assume a new name, Mirage, and begin to navigate secretive social circles and deadly games of intrigue in order to claim her spot. Soon it becomes apparent that nothing is as it appears and no one, including her cruel yet captivating sponsor, Sunder, will answer her questions. As Mirage strives to seize what should be her rightful place, she’ll have to consider whether it is worth the price she must pay.
Originally I hadn’t heard to much regarding this book. I had seen the cover on Goodreads a few times and from what I could tell, the story was going to be a hit. It is safe to say I feel the opposite now.
When starting to read this book, you get some descriptions that don’t quite make sense. For instance, a time of the day will be described as a Prime or Nocturn. However, and I am still not sure which is which. A day, week, month and year are described as, Spans or Tides. The time zones are not explained in the book at all. I even thought about emailing the publisher, editor or the author just so that I could make heads or tails out of it.
The next point is still linked to the description, however this is the use of colours or descriptive words from her world. Like Kembric. For example “Her hair was the colour of Kembric”. What colour is this? You would expect that if your going to create your own language, like with Tolkien or with Paolini, you would have a glossary at the back. This would allow your readers to understand what time of day it is or even what some of the items, in the world, are.
This doesn’t just confuse readers. This stops them reading the section that they are on, to go back and hunt through and piece together something they may have missed. It stops them being as engaged. I honestly feel that if there is to be sequels, they need a glossary or some way to determine what items are.
There was one last thing that bothered me about this story. Our leading lady. Our main female character, I feel, was a piece of work and not in a great way. For someone who had no idea who she was, after all she was left at an orphanage, is extremely self entitled. This is extremely unattractive. The same unfortunately can be said for our leading man.
Our main male character is not just self important but is a bully for no other reason than to see people upset. These two people are to be “romantically’ involved. Now don’t get me wrong, we all like a bad boy, tugging on the pig tails because he likes you. It’s cute in school but there is a difference between bad boy and someone that is being nasty just for the giggle.
I know that that is a load of negative but there were some positives. I feel that the plot was great apart from the character floors but the pace could have been slowed/sped up, again we don’t really know the time scale of the story.
I love the sound of this world that is perpetually stuck in dusk, with no way to move the sun. I love that there is this, almost, black site that no one can step a foot in. We aren’t sure why, but there is no one that can do it or has lived to tell that we know of. I personally want to hear more about fixing this “broken” world.
Another thing that fascinated me was the magic system. You don’t find out about the empresses powers till the last chapter but it is very clever. I won’t spoil that one for you. What does fascinate me is that these people have not been born with the gifts. They have developed them through events that have damaged them. Our Leading lady has the ability of Illusions. She has constantly been locked away as people fear what she can create. Some of the people that have magic are dangerous and some are harmless, but they are each individual. Keeping track of this many character profiles as well as understanding the magic system is not an easy feat but one, I know, everyone appreciates.
I feel that with some time and a look at this, the book could have been a hit. However I feel that it has been let down and has let its readers down. I understand that creating a new world is not the easiest of things but we need that little more help learning the customs and language to fully engross ourselves.
As normal, I will be putting myself through this again, and be reading the sequel, should this be happening, but for now I can only offer this book 2 Stars.