From the moment Alina touches London’s hottest fae superstar, breaking one of the laws founded to protect all of her kind, her fate – and the fae – close in.
Below ground, the fae High Queen plots to claim the city as her own and places her pawns, ready for the battle to come. A battle she cannot lose, but for one small problem – Alina. There are four ancient keepers powerful enough to keep the queen in her prison. Three are dead. One remains … And to fight back, Alina risks sacrificing everything she has come to love.
This New Adult urban fantasy is packed with action and suspense and will have you yearning for more forbidden fae romance.
Source: ARC from Bloomsbury Spark via NetGalley
This was very much a book of two halves for me. The first half read like another bad PR between a normal human woman and the gorgeous fae jerk because Magical Reasons! Even worse, I didn’t even like Alina. There’s just nothing to her. She’s a nineteen-year-old reporter who comes across a fae superstar slumped in a tube station. She helps him and becomes obsessed with getting his story. But she has no family, no friends, no interests outside of getting the story of Sovereign/Reign and bumbles from one bad decision to another.
There is nothing likeable about her. At one point another character describes her as sweet – no evidence of that – and funny – she does have a sarcastic tone which is sometimes humourous – and she has at least two men developing warmer feelings for her. But I don’t know why. She is tenacious and determined, definitely, and does show bravery at times, but mostly she acts without thinking and does really stupid things.
However, there is actually a reason for all of the above. The only trouble is that by the time it was fully revealed, I simply didn’t care and there was nothing the book could do to make me. Same with Sovereign. He’s rude, entitled, arrogant and plain awful from the start. Yes, he shows other sides, and towards the end I maybe felt a little sorry for him, but really, to be honest, I mostly didn’t care. He’s a jerk. He’s one at the beginning where he grabs hold of Alina and steals her essence, and he remains one at the end where he throws his concert regardless of lives at risk. I’m glad the romance had a doom-ladened quality to it because, hahaha, they deserve it.
So, safe to say the first half and the romance didn’t much work for me. The second half, however, is much more Urban Fantasy in tone and much more interesting to read. Things very much aren’t as the first appeared, the fae reveal themselves to be a thoroughly nasty bunch and there’s a whole lot of danger arising with plenty of bloodshed and evil behaviour. Though I think it was far better than the first half, it still wasn’t great. Mostly because I didn’t care for any of the characters and I found the lack of reference to centuries’ worth of fairy tales and writings of faerie and the like to be a little unbelievable. If fae crept out of the ground tomorrow and announced they’d been here all along, I know I’d spend quite a bit of time looking at old books and seeing what matched and what didn’t. The idea that fae have been out for thirty years and no one thinks Faerie really exists…? Hm.
I also took issue with the idea that everything had to happen on that particular Saturday because of Reign’s concert. As if the O2 doesn’t regularly hold events of a similar magnitude, or that Wembley Stadium doesn’t hold 90,000 people, or you know any one of London’s six current Premier League clubs that play every weekend, with stadiums ranging from 18,000 capacity to 60,000. I mean, visually, I understand why the O2 was chosen, but the idea of it being super special on that one day I found hard to believe.
Which pretty much sums up my experience of this novel. I found the characters hard to care about and their decisions and choices frequently flawed. It’s a readable enough book, but the romance is flimsy on all sides. I could believe something between Reign and Pretty Fragile Fae girl, but anything between anyone else just lacked any substance. Overall it’s okay, but it didn’t leave me wanting to read any further if this does become a series.
City of Fae is Out Now!
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