Jo has good friends, she has her tiny apartment and she has her awful job cold calling people. It’s not a great life but she manages – until a night out partying leads to a duel with a fae knight
Which she wins.
She is now responsible for Ysabel. The Bride. Fairy princess and the centre of so much intrigue – and it’s Jo’s job to keep her safe. And fed. And entertained.
This book has an excellent concept – Portland split between 4 very different fae factions, the political manoeuvring between them, the ritual and the scheming and the propriety all maintained. And under that the underlying game of it all, with none of them actually able to cause real damage to each other – until the rules of the game change.
Then there’s the princess, forced by circumstances to live with Jo in her tiny apartment and join her on her dead end job. A faerie princess forced into such low standards – forced to work in a call centre – how can that not be a recipe for hijinks and shenanigans (and interesting class commentary)?
The concept is great. The idea for the story is great. The characters have potential.
The execution is appalling.
Firstly, while I can see why the author wants to write this story, it simply doesn’t make sense. I don’t understand why the Chariot entered a duel with Jo, I don’t understand how that was remotely to do with honour (hey, let’s hit a civilian with a sword for HONOUR!), I don’t understand the whole ridiculous “losing” of it.
I don’t understand why Jo played along. I don’t understand why Jo seemed to take the whole existence of the fae as something so minor and easy to get used to. I don’t understand why, if she had chosen to play their games, she didn’t take the Out that was offered her since it would have cost her nothing.
I don’t understand why she allowed the princess to move in with her. I don’t understand why, as a woman of such limited means, she accepted the idea of monetarily supporting the princess.
I don’t understand why Jo has so few questions. She never asks about the fae, the courts, why they are there, how long, what they mean even what a Gallogas is (which is apparently her).
It doesn’t make sense.
The writing is really excessive. The description is really over the top, long winded, unnecessary, grossly elaborate and just bloated beyond all proportion. And it’s repetitive as hell, I knew what everyone was wearing at all times in ridiculous and unnecessary detail that would be repated when referring to that character over and over again. Every setting and scene had every inch described luridly (and unnecessarily) to a level that left me tempted to skim the book to try and sift some nuggets of story out of this endless dross
Then there’s the characters. Most of the characters have a title or label and a name. They can be referred to by ether and are also often referred to by a vague description. So, Orlando can be referred to as Orlando, or as The Mooncalfe, or as the man with the Japanese sword, or as the man in a skirt. Any of them. Interchangeably. At random. And that isn’t just Orlando – there’s Roland (The Chariot, the man in green). There’s Gaveston (the Stirrup, guy with art tube, his clothing which was described which I can’t even remember).