Beckit rarely fits in with other people – she certainly doesn’t fit any ideal with her dark skin, big hair and large frame – but she does the things she loves with the friend she values and makes her own way through school
But her life is massively disrupted when the only guardian she has ever known is disrupted and 2 strangers arrive from another world with a truly fantastic story – and perhaps the keys to her missing memories.
Soon she finds herself in a truly alien surrounding, with werewolves and vampires, witches banshees and creatures of nightmare – to say nothing of a beautiful knight who is sworn to protect her who is as compelling as any supernatural force.
This book has an incredibly broad world. The parallel world with every kind of supernatural creature imaginable is there – touching our world but not a part of it, with its own rules and strange crossovers. Yes, we’ve seen things like this before, but few that are truly this broad and it has a lot of very original twists that are completely unique out of everything I’ve read. There’s also that sense you get with good world building that the author has a very large book filled with notes. Vast amount of notes to give a fully rich and powerfully realised world with its own history and ensuring all of the elements come together properly.
We also have a pretty excellent protagonist – determined with fully fleshed out hobbies, real friendships that actually feel like friendships rather than just having a supporting cast. She has relatively complicated relationships with friend and family that are powerfully real
The story itself makes full use of that broad world – perhaps too much use – drawing all of them into Beckit’s story and putting her front and centre in a plot that feels like it’s growing into something epic.
The main problem I have, storywise, is that it happened too fast and with too little explanation. Beckit has this super special instinct assuring her that Aaron is on her side – and she just runs with that. When he’s following her around she feels safe – why? She just does. This is a man (a thousand year old man, we learn later) following around a 17 year old and she’s quite comfortable with this. It’s even lampshaded as stalkery. But this trust attitude continues. Beckit finds her home is ruined, her family in tatters and 2 strangers hanging around at the scene claiming they aren’t responsible – and she believes them. Because he’s Aaron and she trusts him for no damn good reason. And no, saying “she trusted him, she had no idea why” doesn’t JUSTIFY this random, pointless trust – it just lampshades it. There’s even this line between Beckit and Temeka:
“Please tell me you’re not actually considering going with them?”
“Why shouldn’t I?”
Why shouldn’t you? Do you want a list?! They’re complete strangers spouting complete fantasy standing over the body of someone you loved. Why would you even consider going with them without chloroform being involved in some way?! Equally, saying how different Beckit is doesn’t justify this either – trusting complete strangers who tell you they’re from another planet isn’t “different”, it’s not even delusional because at least if she were delusional she may have a healthy dose of paranoia.