Rating: 3.75 stars
Goodreads Synopsis: In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their family lineage of witchcraft when a binding spell is broken, allowing their individual magical powers to manifest. Now, beyond the manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, an alluring underworld available only to those with power is revealed to the cousins. By claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the underworld.
Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies.
Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed…or even worse, before their new gifts are stripped away?
A lot of the reviews on Goodreads very positive—including the reviews of reviewers who are normally quite critical with their ratings. So, I was incredibly excited to read this book because if even those reviewers liked this book so much, then surely I would love it.
Well, I actually didn’t end up loving it. I’m not saying I didn’t like it; there were still many parts of the book that I thoroughly enjoyed. But, if I’m being honest here, I skimmed through some of the first half of the book.
Now, I’m not usually a skimmer, except when I really am not into the book but am still considering giving it a chance. That’s what happened in this book.
Before I continue, I want to say that this review is going to have quite a few spoilers, so if you have yet to read this book and don’t want to be spoiled, then sorry, but you can’t read on. Hopefully you can read the book soon so you can read this review! Anyway, for those of you who have read this book or don’t care if you get spoiled, then let’s continue.
First though, I want to bring up Cormac, Emma’s love interest. I won’t talk about the cliché-ness of their romance because it actually wasn’t as bad as the romance in a lot of other YA books, but I will start by saying that I wasn’t a big fan of Cormac.
First of all, he decided to ignore Emma completely after kissing her which is absolutely ridiculous—even if he had his reasons, which we will get to.
Second of all, at the beginning of the book, he was already coddling her because she was “weak” since she was a woman. I mean, later in the book he realizes that she’s definitely not weak, but he still constantly underestimates her even after she has proved herself time and time again (ironic if you ask me because that’s exactly how the Order—basically a group of witches who think they’re all high and mighty—treats him).
Lastly, even when we find out that Cormac only ignored Emma because the Order wouldn’t approve (to put it lightly) since Emma’s name was tainted and also because both he and Emma would end up in some sort of witch jail, he still won’t be seen with her.
That is positively absurd! They finally admit their undying love for each other (blah, blah, blah) and then he still does not want to be seen with her anywhere. Ever. I almost wanted to bang my head on the book after reading that.
Before I continue my long rant about why I didn’t like Cormac, perhaps we should get to the book itself first.
As I said earlier, I basically skimmed 50% of the book. Unfortunately, I felt the first half was quite boring. Nothing really happened. And even if something did happen, it didn’t have much action. For example, the beginning started with a murder, but it wasn’t that exciting. I was expecting something more from the murder, not just Emma (the main character) finding an injured girl who, when she checks back on her, turns out to be dead. A bit anti-climactic.
But, I definitely devoured the second half of the book. That was when the real action started, and I had to keep reading to find out what would happen next. There were cliffhangers at the end of nearly every chapter.
Would I say it was totally worth it? Maybe not 100% worth it, but I’m glad I didn’t give up on the book. Otherwise, I never would have gotten to the action-packed parts. I definitely do not regret reading on.
Now, let me finish my rant about Cormac.
I don’t care how much he loves Emma. Emma deserves much better than a guy who won’t be seen with her just to preserve his reputation. (Of course, there is one other reason, but still.)
I am still thinking of picking up the next book because though this one wasn’t as great as I thought it would be, it grew on me as I continued reading, so I’m thinking I’ll give the second book a chance—especially since it’s focused on Gretchen, who I really loved since she didn’t need a guy at all and just was super badass (but, I am aware that she will end up with a love interest anyway from reading the synopsis).
I know I was a bit harsh with this review, but there were still parts I enjoyed a lot. Maybe I wasn’t the most enormous fan of this book, but maybe you guys will like it more.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. I know I haven’t posted in a while, so I’m super sorry about that! I’ve been really busy lately, but I’m trying to figure a posting schedule. I know I’ve been posting sporadically, but hopefully I can work out a schedule soon. 🙂