My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Mara Pryce never imagined that her life was anything but normal and then a strange gray-eyed young man appears at her graduation. When he vanishes without a trace, she’s convinced he’s a figment of her imagination. Then he appears again and shatters her whole world.
Mara is an enchanter, part of an ancient line of Wiccan power, and a war is raging—one of good and evil—between the Enchanted and the Iniquitous.
The Iniquitous want her dead and it’s Theodore’s job as her protector to keep her safe.
When Mara and Theodore arrive at a safe house, where Mara will remain hidden while learning about her powers, they find that the real threat might be a little closer to home than they want to believe.
Digital ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Look, I knew what I was getting into when I read the blurb of this book. It’s the sort of premise that dominates paranormal books (particularly those of the last couple years). You know, a ‘normal’ girl who meets a mysterious (dark, hot and usually insufferable) boy who tears apart everything she knows, and shows her that she’s actually -insert paranormal creature here-. Not just any -insert paranormal creature-, oh no. She’s a special one. He whisks her away to a new life, where she must learn to embrace who she is, because everyone now depends on her.
This book had that down to the literal Chosen One title.
I knew this from the opening chapter, honestly. I really knew that I had to be careful going in — either to accept it for what it was, or to close the book and leave it to those who aren’t so picky. Because I know I can be quite picky when it comes to these books.
I think it’s because this kind of book used to be a favourite of mine. I was a sucker for bad boys and girls secretly finding out they have powers that they then go off and learn how to use…
And maybe I still am a bit of a sucker because I kept reading even as I rolled my eyes….
The thing is, this book did have the bones to be a pretty decent story. I mean, this cliche was a cliche for a reason. This premise can work really well, and it’s kinda addictive to read by nature of the whole finding out about this world with the protagonist under the threat of the dark, ever looming evil forces. I liked the idea of a group of enchanters split, and the ‘good’ now sequestered into safe houses across the world, trying to protect and educated other enchanters before the ‘bad’ can get to them. I liked the idea of protectors… a lot…
And I am a very very big sucker for a good bad boy. Especially one in a role as cool as a protector. I mean the idea of people being paired for reasons outside of their control, and pushed together like Mara and Theodore were is something I enjoy. I really liked that Theodore was a protector, but also his own person? I mean that in the sense that Theodore was his own character who’d grown up without Mara and wasn’t defined by her, but also his entire role was in looking out for her.
But…. Theodore bugged the hell out of me, mostly because he was inconsistent. I mean this boy was supposed to live or die for her, but he’d spend his life antagonising her, and freaking out and picking dumb fights. One moment it’s “don’t leave my sight” the next he’s disappearing off to do his own thing. And to be honest, I was willing to look at that as a sort of conflict of his role vs. him being his own person but…
He was a bit of a dickhead. Like when he is angry at Winston and finds out that he’s reading Pride and Prejudice he says “I didn’t know you had a vagina” (which reaaaaally tested any soft spot I had for him tbh). And then later it comes up that he reads books and its supposed to be some awwe soft boy moment, but all I could remember is that comment?? Like how did she not call him out for that, Mara got as angry as I did when she heard him in the first place.
He’s also all over the place with what he wants from Mara, which creates a lot of conflict between them that shouldn’t be there, if he needs to keep her safe. I mean, she needs to be able to trust him no matter what, and she can’t if he’s acting all over the place.
And then there was the issue of romance. It’s hard to say a lot without spoilers, but the were some weird skips around that didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I mean I knew, again, that with the premise we’d have some sort of angst. The whole protectors can’t date thing was always going to be a blockade in an obvious romance, but even for the premise it was a little random. (spoiler)I mean they have their kissing and romance, and then it goes bad and then the book skips FOUR MONTHS and they’re basically in the same point except she’s been leading another guy on for four months. Why???(spoiler)
Mara didn’t bug me as much. I mean she wasn’t always the easiest for me to connect to, and I haaaated that we saw glimpses of girl on girl hate (esp @ Naomi), but she did keep me reading? Although, I must also say that I wish she’d been a little more… caught up? Normally I dislike how long these protagonists refuse to believe what they’re seeing, but Mara accepted everything very quickly. (spoiler)I mean she says goodbye to her best friend since kindergarten with a two second phone call and only thinks of her?? twice? at the end of the book(spoiler). It would have given a lot of depth to her character to see those kinds of emotions.
But she was very capable of holding her own, and her acceptance meant that we skipped the whole “you’ve got the wrong girl!” thing.(for the most part). Her training with Theodore was nice to see – I liked to see that it required work and lots of practise. Though I’m still not sure why they didn’t do that in her classes. I’m also still not sure why they started all these classes like it was a school year when there were only twenty people?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that this book could have been a pretty good?? take on a paranormal premise, but it fell into a lot of the same traps. And that would have been cool, I mean I’ll roll my eyes at cliches and continue reading if I like the characters. But Mara could have used a little more depth, and Theodore had me until some of his dickhead comments….. (Like honestly?? if not for that line I would have probably really enjoyed him).
But all this said, I did read the book in one sitting. And I am kinda interested by where the author will take it after that cliffhanger of an ending.