5. THE LOST THORN, BY JOSHUA P. AGUAYO
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I REALLY enjoyed reading this book. It was fast-paced, funny, thrilling, fresh, with amazing characters and very imaginative world building. I love the amalgam of sci-fi with fantasy and I felt like it was quite well done. Some things weren’t as well explained as I might have wanted them to be, but that makes sense in the context, considering the story is told in first person from Sam’s perspective, and she doesn’t strike me as someone who would bother with this kind of detail.
Sam is such a rich and well written character. Every aspect of her personality is vividly portrayed in her behavior, from her drug addiction to her eagerness to appear tougher and more aggressive than she really is. There is some mild misogyny, but it’s also part of her characterization as a teenage girl trying desperately to appear independent and invulnerable. *SPOILER ALERT* I did feel like her mental illness should have been better foreshadowed, though. It came as too much of a surprise in the end; there should have been some hints along the way. *END SPOILER*
The plot works, and the character’s motivations are clear and well established. I particularly loved how, as full of bluster as Sam may be most of the time, during the fights and action scenes she is actually terrified and just reacting to what happens around her. It was a very fresh take, and it makes for interesting and captivating writing. The final part, though, after she storms ClearSight, felt a little bit rushed and not as well resolved as the rest of the story. *ANOTHER SPOILER HERE* There is no explanation as to why, since they erase the memories of every mage after making experiments on them, Aly still had all of her memories. Especially since she said that they had done experiments on her.*THIS SHOULD BE THE LAST ONE*
One thing that deserves particular not is that, even though this book could be considered YA, there is NO LOVE TRIANGLE. That alone had me jumping up and down in happiness. There is some romance, but it’s definitely secondary to the story. And it’s not the childish, lazy, contrite, type of romance I’ve learned to associate with YA, it feels very mature and real. *OK, LAST SPOILER, I PROMISE* I live for genuine, non-fetishized, and non-stereotyped girl-on-girl romance. *NOW I’M DONE*
Lastly, just because I can’t let it go: this book BADLY needed a proofreader. There were way too many typos and small grammar mistakes; I don’t feel like any of them actually take any merit away from the writing itself, but the sheer amount of them is suggestive of carelessness. It got to a point where it was disrupting the flow of the narrative, not because it didn’t have pace (it has, and to spare), but because I kept stopping and mentally correcting them. Even when someone is writing on their mother language, it’s still good practice to hire somebody to go over their finished manuscript and polish the language; that’s even more vital when it’s a foreign language, no matter how fluent you may be in it.
Up next: Empire of Bones, by Liz Williams