Intricate World and Interesting Characters but Failed Execution
I wanted to love this book. I wanted to devour it in one sitting and bask in the wonderfulness that is female assassins and with YA/adult crossover appeal and. . . and. . . and I could go on. But that’s not what happened and it comes down to one thing, really, that made the rest of the book not work for me.
But before I get to that, some positives. First, the world building. The world building, y’all. It’s gorgeous. Definitely fantasy but with an almost sci-fi feel from the Hubs that transport you across the land and the numbered codes used to operate them. Magic blades and both mental and physical forms of combat. It’s all just lovely and intricate. Mehrotra did a great job in creating this world and as a fantasy lover I can’t help but appreciate the work that went into it.
The story primarily centers around the young Markswoman Kyra but does veer off into other points of view every now and then depending on what’s happening in the story. Kyra is at the edge of adulthood. She messes up. She’s passionate about her beliefs and what she believes is the truth. For a second, I thought she’d fall to the Chosen One trope due to the pieces of her history revealed throughout the book, but I’m happy to report that Kyra stuck to her guns and every decision she made felt natural for her character.
The rest of the cast wasn’t badly written or anything but the bulk of this story centers around Kyra to the point that they didn’t play a larger role until later in the book (*cough* Rustan), and I felt like the other characters were more accessories in the story.
Where I had problems started at the beginning through to the end of the book. The writing never hooked me. For the entire book, I was less than enthusiastic about reading. I’m not really sure why I kept going to be honest because I was pretty bored. And it’s not even that the writing was terrible because it wasn’t. I’ve read way worse. It was passive. So much prose. Lots of details to bog the action down. I look for character driven stories and I want to characterize Markswoman that way but after finishing it, I felt like I’d read a historical account of this story rather than fell into the story itself. All these great elements were there, but the binding to bring them together fell apart for me.
So I push through to the end and nothing really changes on that front, and the book just. . . ends. Big cliffhanger ending too, or at least I think it was supposed to be but because of the writing style and my lack of investment in the story or characters, I didn’t really care about that end scene. It doesn’t make me want to pick up the next book for the sole purpose of finding out what happens next. The lack of connection prevented me from getting behind the romance introduced to the story too (though the weird love triangle thing was. . . well, weird and felt forced).
Everything was there and if the details had been broken up more perhaps I’d have enjoyed it more but this one just didn’t work for me.