Honestly there wasn’t really anything special or overly extraordinary about this book. It was underwhelming and a lot of the time I felt myself waiting for something more exciting to happen and it rarely ever did.
I can’t really formulate my thoughts into the typical review style I usually do for this book, which should say so much about what I think of the story, so here are some point form notes:
- As I said, the book itself was underwhelming. I never felt like the plot was actually going anywhere or really exposing it to its full potential. Things were constantly touched upon here and there, but they never felt like they mattered when looking at the big picture. There were little to no high stakes, no jaw dropping, chest clutching gasps, and not a whole lot to be excited about, I guess.
- I myself have never read the original story of The Count of Monte Cristo so I have no idea how well of a job Tara Sim did with retelling it, or even creating a loose reimagining of it, but based on some googling I did, I can see what Sim wanted to do but I don’t really think it was a good matchup. Granted, I always applaud retellings that make the story their own and there was effort here to do just that, but part of me feels like if I can’t place whatever tale that’s trying to be retold, even after finding the basic plot, then maybe it didn’t work. Whatever was trying to happen here didn’t work for me personally.
- The characters were fine but, again, nothing about them made them stand out. I took interest in them for sure but never found them to be interesting, if that makes sense. Both Cayo and Amaya definitely had interesting enough backgrounds, but I never felt like we got deep analyses of who they are or what they stand for, never going past that one dimension of their character. Again, it might just be me but compared to the multitude of characters I’ve read about before, they come off as a bit bland.
- I will say that I quite enjoyed Sim’s prose. I liked how, rather than going the typical YA route of a first person voice, she wrote in third person and with all the YA books I’ve read in the last few months, it was a wonderful change. I think it was the right prose for this story and while the plot might not be her strong suit, the prose definitely is.
- I have no idea what this title is supposed to mean or allude to. And nothing pisses me off more than a random, irrelevant title that’s just there to pull people in like a shiny object.
I probably won’t read the second book but I might make the effort to look up the plot once it’s released. I’m just not interested enough to spend more money on a series that is nothing more than “meh.”
When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.
Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…
Packed with high-stakes adventure, romance, and dueling identities, this gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first novel in an epic YA fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo.