This is Not A Review. Well, it sort of is, but I felt like almost everything that there is to say about this book has been said already, and much better reviews than I could write have been written, since, I think, mine would just be reactionary to the largely negative word of mouth I had lobbed at me about the book. I actually put off reading it for a year or so because of this.
So instead, let's take a look at a few things that I really liked, and not so much:
- I was really shocked to find that Celaena was so hated. I saw comments about her being stupid, petty and vain, and the only thing I can think of is that she doesn't operate around that typical YA female character insecurity. She's girlie, as well as being a master assassin, a little lazy, a little silly. I quite liked her.
- LADY FRIENDSHIPS! Oh my God, how rare is this in YA? This book actually passes the Bechdel test; I couldn't think of one other that does. I loved Nehemia, I hope I see more of Philipa in the future, and Kaltain was a very good foil, tragic, in a way, while still being a horrendous bitch.
- The love triangle is wonderfully understated! Like, unprecedentedly. And neither men puts pressure on Celaena of any kind, leaving her relationship with both to develop surprisingly naturally.
- Obvious influences from Tamora Pierce and Lloyd Alexander, among others. Is it the best world building ever? Ha, no. But it wasn't as bad as I'd been lead to believe either. She's considered things like religion and the fact that other countries would exist in her fictional world. And, honestly, I love the Fae; I will always like a magical race that is sort of elfy, sort of fairy-y, and the In-Between was interesting, exciting and really well done.
Things I didn't hate, exactly, but made it a little bit of a harder read than it needed to be:
- I think it was a bit longer than it could have been. Parts of it dragged for me, and I found myself yearning for the action-y parts. And it wasn't as if I didn't care for the relationships! But I felt my attention wane a bit when there were huge chunks of only that. But then it would get exciting again, and I forgave. It's why it lost half a star though.
With its lighter, adventure-oriented tone, I was pleasantly surprised, and extremely happy that I stopped listening to all the dissenting voices. A fun read in a series that I'll definitely be continuing. Eventually.