I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.
Short review: this was good and very gay and it had kittens, dragons and unicorns. You can stop here if that sounds like something you need in your life (and honestly, you can never have enough of all those things).
Actual review: I liked a lot of the stuff in this, and that’s also the biggest problem of this book.
Let me explain, but first let’s talk about what I liked, because as you can see from my rating I did like it.
I liked the main characters Adale and Esofi. I liked them in their differences and on their own. Their romance was sweet, slow paced and even if there was miscommunication it was almost always resolved pretty soon and easily.
The world felt well researched and thought out, and I felt like if given more page time this could become something big and epic. Unfortunately, I think this is where the book fell short: there were a lot of elements that were interesting and I would have loved to see more of, but there just wasn’t enough time to explore everything. I would have liked fewer elements but explored more deeply. One example of this is the science vs religion thing that was only briefly mentioned. The thing is, I can live with something being mentioned in passing, but the way this was shown felt like it was going to have a lot of weigh in the story, when in fact it didn’t. The same could be said about other worldbuilding elements as well as the relationships between the main characters and secondary ones.
One thing I did love about the world was how absolutely not heteronormative this was. Everyone is pan and that’s really cool, I 100% approve.
Overall, I liked it but I felt like too many things were shoved into it, with a world that was too big for 175 pages where we also had to get to know the characters and see a relationship develop.
Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable read and it’s definitely clear that the author has very good worldbuilding skills. I think with a bigger focus on fewer elements and more page time this could easily have been a five stars read.