Even though this book wasn't a galley, I decided to review it because it struck me as one that would be fun to review. It had great plot and great characters. The conflict felt by the main character was believable (in a way). This is where is stopped being a good book.
Locked up for her murder of a General's son, Yelena festers away in the dungeons of the Commander while she awaits execution. Suddenly, in a twist of fate that could only be described as miraculous, she is promoted to the Commander's food taster and brought up into the world of might and conflict above. She enjoys the best food of the castle and the freedom to go where she will- that is, as long as she stays in her position as a food taster. If she doesn't, she'll die a horrible death poisoned by the Commander's assassin.
Sounds good, right? And the story was, for the first book. Then it quickly degenerated into a series that dragged and caught on minor details. Couple of pointers:
- Don't refer to something as skirts/pants. Make up your mind. Don't let your readers be forced to imagine something that only you yourself can see. It came across as (at least to me) incredibly irritating to be in the middle of an action scene and have Yelena fretting over a hole in her "skirts/pants".
- When someone makes a plan, don't hide it from us, or at least do it more subtly. A lot of times in the book, plans are referenced, executed, and succeed/fail without the reader even knowing the basics. For example, it happens once that Yelena's talking to her mum and tells her her plan. Without delay, her mum bustles off and finds her a bunch of potions that will "help her plan". A full 30 pages later, I realized that the plan had already been executed. Darn!
I'd give this book a 2.5, also due to the lack of emotions in the book. I'm serious. The only emotions in the book are Yelena's lust, fear of being a soulfinder, and everyone else's hatred of her.
So, 2.5. A runny and burnt egg, I guess.