Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Hannah Duology
Source: eGalley from NetGalley
Rating: 3/5 stars
I got this book to review through NetGalley. It is the 1st book in the Hannah Duology. It is set in the same world as The Assassin’s Curse, but occurs a generation later. I didn’t like this book as much as The Assassin’s Curse series. It was a decent fantasy but slow at parts and the characters were not all that engaging.
Hannah wants nothing more than to study to be a witch, instead she is apprenticed to the fisherman Kojur. Kojur is grumpy and apparently has secrets of his own. Instead of their normal 3 day fishing trip Hannah finds out that Kojur has altered his plans. He has taken them on a multi-week adventure that will pit them against a creature from the Mists. The only one who is there to assist Hannah is a strange non-human boy named Isolfr who speaks to Hannah from the ocean waters at night.
I loved loved loved The Assassin’s Curse duology and also loved The Mad Scientist’s Daughter. I was very excited to read this book, but honestly it fell a bit flat for me. I think the main reason it fell flat were the characters and the plot.
The story just isn’t that exciting to read. A lot of time is spent on boats or in towns with Hannah just making a living. The spans between any excitement are fairly long.
My other problem was the characters. We never really get to know any of the side characters well enough to engage with them, what we do know doesn’t really make them all that likable. Kojur is obviously a kidnapper (if kind of unintentional) and his reasons behind this come across as a bit silly. Isolfr is very secretive and just doesn’t say a lot worth hearing until later in the book.
Hannah as also frustrating to read about. She spends the vast majority of the time on the boat with Kojur sulking and whining (not at all interesting to read about). I did admire the fact that once she is in a Northern port town she does take control of her life and find a way to make a living without Kojur…but still she was kind of a boring character that wasn’t easy to engage with. There are constant hints that she could wield some powerful magic in the future, but we don’t see much of that in this book.
I do still really enjoy the world and the idea of the Mists. I wish we had been able to delve a bit deeper into the Mists and learn more about them. There may be more of the in the second book, but this book really only scratches the surface. There is some interesting magic here and I enjoy the way that is handled in this world as well.
The book ends just as things are getting interesting. I love Clarke’s writing style, but honestly by the end of this book I was just like…oh my goodness that was sooo boring and sooooo lackluster.
Overall an okay, but not great, fantasy read. I was so excited to read something new by Clarke since I have adored her other books, to be honest this book was a bit of a let down. I still love the world, the Mists, and the magic…however I found the plot to be slow and boring and the characters hard to engage with. There just wasn’t a lot interesting that actually happened here and I really found my attention wandering while I read this book. If you are a fan of fantasy definitely read The Assassin’s Curse duology, for now I would recommend skipping this book. Right now I am unsure whether or not I will read the second book in this duology.