When a letter from her uncle Henrick arrives on Bryn Roth’s eighteenth birthday, summoning her back to Bastian, Bryn is eager to prove herself and finally take her place in her long-lost family. Henrik has plans for Bryn, but she must win everyone’s trust if she wants to hold any power in the delicate architecture of the family. It doesn’t take long for her to see that the Roths are entangled in shadows. Despite their growing influence in upscale Bastian, their hands are still in the kind of dirty business that got Bryn’s parents killed years ago. With a forbidden romance to contend with and dangerous work ahead, the cost of being accepted into the Roths may be more than Bryn can pay.
I have a weird relationship with Adrienne Young books, usually wanting to love them, but never quite falling completely in love with them. But, I did end up really, really loving the Fable duology as a whole and I was intrigued with book set in that world, and that followed a family that were a apart of the previous series. Plus, it was going to follow a girl desperate to earn the trust of the family she has been thrust into, and it had a forbidden romance. I was eager to see what I would think of it!
This is another one that I’m not too sure about. I wanted to love it so bad, and I think I do love it in some ways. It’s very weird to love a book to some extent so much, but not like it at the same time.
First off, I want to praise Young’s writing, because it is simply gorgeous. I know I say this in every single review of her books, but it’s true for this one as well. And her writing just becomes stronger with every book. It makes the story so immersive, and it evokes such feeling. It makes me want to connect with the world, with the characters, and it makes me want to love the book as a whole.
The characters were another highlight for me. I loved Bryn. She was determined, smart, and stubborn. She knows how work schemes and how to manipulate to earn trust. (And I know she wasn’t written to be nonbinary, but to me, she felt a bit like she was nonbinary/questioning her gender.) I also absolutely adored Ezra. He’s reserved, but underneath his hard exterior, he hold such feeling, pain and sadness, but also love and appreciation. I also really loved getting to see the rest of the Roth family. The dynamics are complicated and slippery, and it was fascinating to see how they operate and how different people navigate and make their home in them.
I also enjoyed most of the plot This book is set in the Fable world, and I liked getting a better look at this area and the inner workings of the politics governing it. Bryn has to navigate the choppy waters of the Roth family, while also trying to make a name for herself.
Though, I felt like this book fell a bit short here. I dunno, it kind of felt like there was too much plot and to little at the same time. I felt like it could have been expanded into a duology, but I also felt like there could have been more added to this book as well. I wanted more out of the overarching emotional plot, to see more deeply just how the manipulation of the family and cutthroat world affects everybody, and to have Bryn’s development with this aspect fleshed out a bit more. Because this is present, but I felt like it could have gone so much deeper. I felt like a lot of the plot pieces could have been dragged out, to create a slower burn, and to flesh everything out a bit more. There is so much good stuff here, I guess I just wanted more of it, and for it to be developed just a bit more.
I also felt like the romance was quick. There always seems to be a quick romance in Young’s books haha. But, it just through off my connection to the story and to the characters a bit. I felt like a slow burn was trying to happen at the same time feelings were quickly being developed. It just felt a bit awkward for me, and it’s a bummer because I adored the love interest and I adored the relationship him and Bryn have.
Overall, I liked a lot of things about this book. I think it’s fantastic in a lot of ways, there were just a few qualms I had with it, but that does not mean it’s not good!