Beautiful Writing Style, but Lacking in Character Development
I found myself quickly hooked on this book and, while it does have some rather large flaws in character development and relationships between the characters, it was written very well and I loved Black's structuring of syntax. She's a very beautiful writer, and I could tell that right from the very start of the book.
The character Jude, in particular, I personally found hard to emphasise with; she was extremely power-hungry and rather blood thirsty at times, and while she was the one to narrate the story, I found we didn't get a full feel of her emotions, other than hearing about the way she was treated as a human rather than one of the Fey. I found the same for her sisters, Vivie and Taryn - Vivie seemed to care more for her freedom and about her girlfriend than she did her two sisters, and Taryn was extremely selfish, and once again picked her boyfriend over her sisters when it mattered most. Considering all the girls watched their 'parents' die in front of them when they were young, you would have thought that they'd be closer than they actually were in the book.
Jude's relationship with Prince Cardan is an odd one and hard to understand, especially because the romance that occurs between them only happens in the second part of the book and came rather out of the blue! He is her bully and he treats her terribly -- she understandably detests him for this, although there do seem to be some feelings for him deep down (which, as she's never seen a nice side to his personality, I found hard to understand *why* they were there; I could only assume that those feelings are one of lust, because she does mention him being beautiful a lot in the narration), but then suddenly they're kissing, in spite of the horrible way he has treated her. I'm always one for a good romance, but in this book I felt that the attempts at this fell flat, and in my own opinion, there's nothing romantic about falling for someone who bullies you and doesn't treat you well throughout the novel.
I did, however, enjoy the action-packed and magic-themed plot -- I thought the story progressed well, and I am in hope that there will be another book after this one, as it seems to have left it on a bit of a cliffhanger! Overall, it was a rather good read, but due to the lack of character development and other factors that I mentioned, I couldn't give it more than three stars.
My vote: 3 out of 5 stars.