Top critical review
I went in prepared for disappointment because no matter what Gena Showalter had said about ...
Reviewed in the United States on June 30, 2018
This book had my attention from the get go. I went in prepared for disappointment because no matter what Gena Showalter had said about changing my mind with this strange pairing I was certain she wouldn’t be able to do it. I just finished reading The Darkest Warrior and I am not sure if she was wrong or I was.
This book was very well written – one of her best offerings in fact. I was sucked in from the first page and had a hard time putting down the book. At the same time, it took me a few days to finish because there was a part of me that didn’t want to read it. I did manage to finish it and I am glad I did. I was very frustrated by the direction Showalter had indicated that she was going in and while I didn’t publicly berate her decision or vow to never buy from her again, I was really not here for Gillian and Puck. In my mind, you cannot build up a relationship through several books then abandon the story at the last minute. And it was last minute. The pairing came out of nowhere for me and there was no easing into a more platonic relationship between Gillian and William to get me used to the idea. It seemed like a spur of the moment idea and it showed in the book. On the other hand the story itself is engrossing. The supporting cast are a treat. The chemistry between the H and h crackles off the pages and the conclusion was satisfactory.
Showalter’s decision to use the first chapters of the book to give us Puck’s back story and version of events was a wise one and made him seem more likeable rather than the interloper who caused the end of Willian. I understood his motives and came to enjoy him. But the fact is I would have enjoyed him more if we hadn’t had years of Willian build up. Also, I couldn’t really get into the furry goat feet thing - Gillian is weird.
Initially I thought I might begin to dislike William during this book, but Showalter brought out a maturity in him I hadn’t seen before. New facets of his personality were revealed and even though at first he came on as his usual arrogant self, by the end he had grown up. My issue with William and by extension Hades in this book has nothing to do with the character himself, but the way writers are able to manipulate their creations as they see fit. I could be totally wrong, but when I read the part where Hades says he is certain that Gillian is not fated for William and he would kill her if necessary to get her out of the way - He helped Puck so that Gillian would be apart from William - I had this moment where I came out of the written world and wondered if Hades was just voicing Showalter’s own feelings on the matter. What I am trying to say is we all know William is the most popular and intriguing male character to come out of this series, does Showalter think - like Hades -that William deserves better so in a last ditch move wrote this book to justify the separation? At the end of the day, no matter how great Puck is, he is no William. William is THE prize male all the readers want to read about and Gillian didn’t end up with William.
I wished we had more than a few letters to Puck to really show how Gillian became a warrior. I felt like the use of different timelines and swift passage of time was a cop out and it was even worse that we didn’t actually see enough of Gillian overcoming her trauma. It was more Showalter telling me, hey, Gillian is a bad ass now rather than letting me witness it myself. I also didn’t buy the instant lust between Gillian and Puck no matter how well the attraction was written. She had barely known Puck and he left her alone for hundreds of years but as soon as she sees him again it’s on? Nothing for William who she had known and trusted for much longer?
Showalter does a pretty good job of presenting Gillian and Puck as a great couple and at the end she had done what she set out to and I was invested in our H and h’s happy ending. I would have given this book 5 stars if not for the underlying “wrongness” I constantly felt throughout. I wish that Gillian and William had realized that they were meant to be just friends a few books ago rather than discovering it here, thus taking away from what could have been my favourite book in this series. Puck deserved better.
I will not abandon this series. Showalter is a favourite of mine and I cannot wait for Galen and Legion’s book. I feel like Showalter has written here the best book she could have under the circumstances. My critiques have very little to do with Puck and Gillian as written and more about me not being fully able to immerse myself in the idea of a broken Willian. She almost sold me, but not quite. I really hope that by the time William’s book comes around I will be fully converted. I cannot wait to see who Showalter thinks is worthy enough of him.