I've owned this book for maybe three years, I bought it with a load of other books and just never got around to it. I finally decided to pick it up because I have the hardback version and it was taking up a lot of room on my TBR shelf! As this suggests, I wasn't overly eager to begin this novel, and if it hadn't been hardback I probably wouldn't have.
Firstly, the problems I had with this novel.
This novel is an info-dump. The author throws so much information at the reader that it got a little overwhelming in places. I understand this has to be done to set up the world, but even with the huge amount of information we were being given, parts of the world still didn't really make sense. That led me to feel that the information we were being bombarded with was a little pointless at times.
The author also uses so much slang words that the novel required a 10 page glossary at the end to list all the words. I'm not a huge fan of the over use of slang; I don't mind a bit, but there were so many that at times I didn't know what I was reading about. Obviously I could use said glossary, but I really can't be bothered to flick back and forth while I'm reading!!
This novel comes across as very predictable. It seems like a regurgitation of many other YA or fantasy novels. The whole storyline with 'Warden' was so predictable from the beginning, but when the inevitable did happen it seemed out of place and unsubstantiated from what had happened/how they acted previously. (This paragraph refers to one character falling in love with another, after initially hating each other. I kept it vague to try and reduce spoilers!)
The characters all felt predictable and recycled too. Paige is the main character, and there is very little to separate her from other YA heroines. Warder is every other 'dark, brooding' male character in YA, a paranormal being that starts bad and distant but ends up good! Even the minor characters are oddly developed. Some we are supposed to become attached to, but we never really find out much about. Some are mentioned and created only to further Paige's sob story. Even our antagonist is poorly developed, I'm not even really sure what her 'power' was, and I know nothing about her, but I'm sure she'll be a big character in the next book!
I actually felt quite detached from this novel. It's like I could see where I was supposed to feel sad about a character's misfortune or death, but I really felt nothing at all at any of those moments. I never felt attached to any of the characters, and I didn't really care what happened.
I also really vehemently dislike the 'slave falling in love with master' trope that is so popular in YA novels. This master drugs her, physically hurts her, invades her memories without her knowledge, and 'feeds' on her mind or something. There is something inherently wrong about this behaviour, and the subsequent relationship they develop. I hate it. This really put me off this novel.
However, despite this overwhelmingly negative review so far, I did enjoy some aspects of this novel.
I liked the setting of this novel. I always like a novel set in London, and I thought the novel had a steampunk feel to it, like a sort of Victorian London but in the future; I thought this setting was used well by the author.
I also like the amount of action in this novel, the plot was very fast paced, and although there was a lot of info dumping, there was also a lot going on. There was quite a lot of tension and excitement too, which meant this was actually quite a speedy read, although there was a lot going on.
Although I thought this novel was predictable and some elements of the plot put me off, I think there are encouraging signs for Shannon's future. This is only her first novel, and she is young, and I am sure that she will improve. Her imagination and story telling skills are something that will serve her well for further writing.
Overall, I thought this was an ok debut from Shannon, and first novel in the series. There were some good elements; the storytelling and setting were good, but I'm not sure if I will read any further in this series.