After I met Samantha Shannon back in September, I was stoked to read this book. I mean, she is so sweet. So sweet. And she's (just barely) younger than me, got a seven book deal, and is being called the new J.K. Rowling (which is completely unfair and incorrect, but I've covered that already). So then we decided to read this for book club, and man am I glad I did. The end result, for me?
I will go ahead and agree with most reviews that the first quarter is slow. The world building is quite elaborate -- and I absolutely love it; I mean, the world is amazing -- but that means there are quite dense, near-info-dumping passages at the beginning that can, for some readers, be tedious to get through. There's a lot of terminology, and just the many different types of clairvoyants can be confusing. Then there's the structure of the new society, Scion London, the criminal underground, and the new laws. It's a lot to take in. I didn't have any issues with it, because I truly felt the potential. Something really cool was going to happen in this intriguing world. It was the kind of elaborate world building that I really, really like.
What also helped was that I absolutely loved Paige from the start. She's not in-your-face kick ass and awesome, but she's really human. She's flawed and she knows it, but that makes her even more endearing. She's really spunky too, quite fearless, and admirable. She makes mistakes, but she learns from them. I loved observing her thought process. I just started liking her more and more as the book went along, and then she did start kicking ass and I was just cheering for her. She's awesome. One of my favorite main characters in a long time.
And then... then we meet Warden. I'll take one of him to go, please.
Warden is dark, mysterious, and, at first, a little frightening. But to be honest, I knew right away what was going to happen. Seriously, it's like the romance was written just for me. They start off hating each other.
*runs around dancing* And then very, very, almost painfully slowly start growing to like each other. The build up is absolutely perfect, and when *it* finally happens... oh my god. *fans self* I just can't even. That scene was loaded with so much chemistry, I practically had to wipe the drool off the floor. But aside from the romance, because that's not at all what this book is really about (it was just a very nice, extremely nice bonus), I loved his character. He has this air of mystery, and though you may not get a clear picture of all his motives in this book, you can't help but want to know more and more about him.
The plot itself is dark and intricate. It builds slowly but it really is addictive, because it's kind of like a puzzle. You keep discovering new pieces and then those pieces start falling into place - though, of course, at the end of the book, the puzzle is not yet completed. But the intricacy of the world building combined with the various mysteries really sucked me in. The story is original and it takes chances. While the flashbacks in Paige's dreams were a bit confusing at first, I loved what they revealed, and I loved the twist as to why precisely we were seeing them.
I also want to give a special shout out and love to the secondary characters in this lovely book. Julian, Liss, Jaxon, Michael, and the handling of a certain LGBT character -- they all made me extremely happy. Each had a clear personality, voice, and purpose. It was just such a beautiful and complete picture.
The ending was seriously intense and action packed, as the rebellion finally happens. I was absorbed and couldn't put it down. But those last pages... Samantha, y u so cruel??? ;_______; I mean, it kind of made sense and all, but... I'm not happy. Especially not when the release date of the sequel is so unknown. I need it in my life. I need it. It's like I just got attached to this world, as if it were a new puppy, and then a short time later you just ripped it out of my arms. I'm not okay.
This book was just a great read. The length may be a bit frightening, and admittedly the beginning is a bit slow. But power through - it's so worth it. I just love the story, I loved the characters, and the romance that blossomed was perfect for me. At the end, when I finally felt like I truly understood the world, I quickly felt attached to it and loathed that it had to end.