Solid 3.5 Stars
First of all I need to state claim as to why I am not giving this book a higher rating (explained altogether further below):
1.- I found too many similarities to other stories/characters out there: Alice in Wonderland, Labyrinth, Peter Pan, etc.
2.- This book is not a YA Romance.. For me it was just a fantasy/adventure book.
3.- I found no relationship build-up between Ash and Meghan. I did not buy the instant-love... like when did it happen?
4.- Very, very, very predictable.
5.- Not a very intelligent heroine. Low self-esteem, doesn't feel pretty cliché.
6.- Bad blood between Ash and Puck totally cliché.
7.- Way too much creatures and lore shoved down your head, that the book makes you dizzy at times.
Why I gave it the 3.5 stars:
1.- The folklore was solid! I liked how the author worked everything and made her own faery world.
2.- The Iron Fey idea was excellent and logically explained. Though it would have been more interesting to understand the motivations and actions of Machina more in-depth.
3.- Grimalkin (even if I believe to be a carbon copy of the Cheshire Cat). I loved the character you never get a clear view of the motivations behind the actions and I'm intrigued. Now I will explain as best as I can why I did not give a higher rating, point by point:
1.- I totally understand if an author finds inspiration in other stories, and classic's; even movies and songs, etc... but when you do that it has to be done in such a way that you can create something new. I f by any chance your creation is similar to what inspired you then you have to "quote" it. The author did this with Puck, so I think you get where I am coming from. Grimalkin was a hoot! And I loved the character, but since it was described for the first time and until the end I couldn't get the Cheshire Cat out of my mind. Also, when Puck is described upon entering Nevernever.. I mean really??? Green clothes, leather booties??? Sooooo Peter Pan that Puck just went from BFF cute hottie to gay-ish looking kid peter pan-ish fey. If the author wants the reader not to think of tinker bell the why do that?.
Labyrinth: I understand we have a whole new generation reading these books BUT: Moms read too you know...! so when I was reading I started having these weird thoughts, like, where did I read this? Where did I see this?.. this story feels familiar...... OH yes! Then I remembered David Bowie and a movie I loved when I was a kid and still recommend to new generations and I know my son will see in a few years.... Labyrinth: where a girl goes to new weird world to save her kidnapped brother from a crazy King who in the end actually wanted to marry her???? And the Pack Rats.... if you want to know.. watch the movie in Netflix :)
2.- Not much to say here... everyone told me this was a romantic YA novel... but Nope it is not; This is a fantasy/adventure book with a bit of romance... I know this becomes major (the romance) in the next installments so I will comment more about it then.
3.- The relationship build up was non-existent.... I really think the Ash/Meg romance storyline should have been moved on to book 2. I did not buy him falling for her so fast and also I did not buy her infatuation with him either... There was no time for romance as they were in and out of a bad situation like.... all the time.
4.- 80% of the book was completely predictable, except for the Iron Fey plotline.
5.- As always we were presented with a teenage heroine stereotype: the self-conscious, low self-esteem, feels ordinary and boring and I don't have an interesting life girl... when s**t hits the fan she has lots of undiscovered power, and has no idea how to use it the whole length of the book, never tries to learn and understand what it means and in the end it all comes out of the blue during a dire situation.... I understand she is a teen and on the road to self discovery and growing up, etc etc... but it is just such a cliche... and she got in my nerves with all her impulsive "bargaining", they tell her not to do it like a thousand times and she keeps going and going and going..
6.- The bad blood between Ash and Puck just seemed to be forced in order to insert a love triangle... also a cliché in teen books.
7.- I can say the way the author described everything was brilliant and not overdone.. I pictured everything in my head perfectly.... and I loved the Steampunk feel of the Iron realm too... but.. the creatures and all were just to many that I lost count so... sometimes less is best.
Overall this is what bothered me... Oh!!! And also all the sexual innuendos with the creatures I mean... this is a YA/young novel and i know the romance part is very very mild and on the contrary the way some acts and references are depicted during the book were kind of crude, so.... I feel some contradictory writing there... also there are a few inconsistencies during the book and I dare you to find them... :) there like directing mistakes in movies.. here just the same :)