I enjoyed this novel – it followed the conventions I’ve come to expect from YA fiction: teen romance with some paranormal aspects thrown in. As much as I liked the novel, it didn’t push any boundaries within the genre. It stuck comfortably to tropes of the main character being shown into the world of the uncanny, coming to terms with this supernatural world that was under their nose the entire time, with some romance thrown in.
I do love these kind of novels, because I’m used to the path the plot takes and it doesn’t take much thinking to enjoy the narrative. I jump at the chance to read a YA novel covering a different aspect of the supernatural, too – but part of me wanted this novel to exceed these expectations. As much as I enjoyed it, the novel didn’t do anything to further the genre.
The idea of savants was interesting, but not fully explained. This made the concept a little confusing, as there were no set boundaries for the savants to adhere to which might have helped a reader’s understanding of the story world. This may have been done on purpose to leave it open for follow up novels, but it would have tied the story together much better if Stirling had explained her concept a little better.
I did like the main character, Sky. I liked how Stirling decided to write about a character who was vulnerable and did her justice. However it did feel like there was more to Sky’s story than was written in the novel.
Stirling focused on the cutesy aspect of paranormal romance rather than exploring the story world more. The novel concept felt like it could be a lot darker than it was portrayed, which might have given it that edge that I felt was missing.
I really don’t like how these types of novels lay the romance on thick, and give young readers the wrong impression as to how romance works. As Stirling does in this novel, she romanticises the bad boy being tamed by the main character and he turned out to be the nice guy the entire time. This gives readers the wrong idea of how love works in real life! It gives the readers the impression that you aren’t complete if you don’t have a partner too, which is completely false. Readers should be taught to love themselves rather than rely on someone else to boost their self worth. It’s also very unlikely that someone would find their true love at 16.
If you like paranormal romance then you would definitely enjoy this novel. I would give it a 3/5 because I did enjoy it, but it doesn’t quite reach the 4 or 5 because it didn’t push itself to become as outstanding a novel that I would rush to recommend it to friends.