Author: Melissa Grey
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: e-galley from NetGalley
This book is going to be kind of a tough one to review. I really liked it in the beginning. The premise was so fun and really reminded me of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor. Dragons vs. birds? Unrequited love? Oh, yes. Every book I read starts with a five star rating. As I read, they either keep their stars or they lose them, depending on how I feel. So, with that said, here’s your synopsis from Amazon:
Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.
Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.
Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.
But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.
1. The world in this book is pretty awesome.
The battle in the book is between the Drakharins and the Avicens. The Drakharins are human, but have dragon traits. You can see scales on some of them, some can control fire, etc. But, they’re mostly human. The same goes for the Avicen. They’re human, with bird characteristics. They have angular faces and feathers on their bodies. Some only have the feathers on their heads, while others have feathers as body hair. I see them as really soft, downy feathers with the consistency of hair, but the coloring of feathers. These two races have hated each other for generations and they both have a legend: the firebird. The book opens with both of them looking for this seemingly imaginary item that could save them from war and destruction. The premise was SO awesome. I loved meeting different people from the different races.
2. I really enjoyed the 3rd person limited POV in this book. It worked really well.
This book is told from two points of view. One is Echo, who is a human who was adopted by the Avicens when she was a kid. The other is Caius, who is the Dragon Prince. He is royalty within the Drakharins. The chapters alternate between Echo and Caius, and I honestly can’t tell you whose narration I liked more. Both of their worlds are full of rules they refuse to follow and I really liked hearing from both of them.
3. The other characters in this book are so fun! We have Jasper and Dorian along with our MCs: Echo and Caius.
I wrote that I loved Jasper because he’s a dirty old man, even though I don’t know how old he is. Dorian is Caius’s captain of the guard and has unwavering loyalty to him. However, Dorian is in love with Caius, and I felt like that was just thrown in there. It wasn’t explored at all, and I felt like it was just something that Grey felt she needed to throw in. If it were explored a little more, I think it could have been done really well. Jasper and Dorian have a little flirtation, and I feel like that was just thrown in to foil the unrequited love between Caius and Dorian. It felt too rushed, and I feel like it could have been explained or explored more. That particular story arc was wanting, for sure. Jasper is definitely one of my favorite characters in the book. He provides comic relief when it was definitely needed.
4. Mostly, I found the world to be awesome, the story boring, and the characters really flat.
Other than Echo, I didn’t connect with these characters. Other than my love for Jasper’s sense of humor, I didn’t really care what happened to them. The villains – who I was expecting to be super evil and villainous – were more like annoying flies than actual villains. They struck no fear into my heart, and they didn’t really seem to scare the characters, either. I mean yes, they were running from the villains with choruses of “oh no! They’re coming!” but that’s really where that fear ended. The ending was pretty cool, but it just seemed too convenient. The ending felt really rushed, not to mention really convenient. I read this pretty fast, since it was pretty fast paced, but I didn’t really enjoy the story. I enjoyed the world more.
5. Let’s end this on a positive note: I LOVE ECHO SO MUCH.
Echo is obsessed with books and words and learning. Her mannerisms are totally mine. Throughout the book, she states words for different things that I definitely never knew before! She is smart, witty, and extremely loyal. She’s brave and daring, and everything I never knew I wanted in a heroine. I would definitely recommend this to my seventh graders, since they definitely need some strong female leads with some of the books they’re reading. I loved her! She was a saving grace in this book, for me!
OVERALL: 3 stars! This was really fun world building, and I really felt a connection to Echo. I feel like Grey followed me around in order to write her. However, the story was really flat, and the characters needed some work. But, don’t take my word for it! This book comes out on April 28, 2015 so click the link below to pre-order!