Hello Humans! I know, it’s been a while since my last readalong. But it’s not because I haven’t been reading, it would have just been too much to lug this rather hefty hardback up to Scotland and back – so now I’m firmly on the ground back in Oxford I am delighted to be able to read this book, which has been on my TBR for a long while. I haven’t read a huge amount of translated fiction so this is also contributing to my goal of reading different things!
Join me as I read through this 490-page beauty – can’t wait to see what happens!
Long ago, following a cataclysm called “The Rupture,” the world was shattered into many floating celestial islands. Known now as Arks, each has developed in distinct ways; each seems to possess its own unique relationship to time, such that nowadays vastly different worlds exist, together but apart. And over all of the Arks the spirit of an omnipotent ancestor abides.
Ophelia lives on Anima, an ark where objects have souls. Beneath her worn scarf and thick glasses, the young girl hides the ability to read and communicate with the souls of objects, and the power to travel through mirrors. Her peaceful existence on the Ark of Anima is disrupted when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, from the powerful Dragon clan. Ophelia must leave her family and follow her fiancée to the floating capital on the distant Ark of the Pole. Why has she been chosen? Why must she hide her true identity? Though she doesn’t know it yet, she has become a pawn in a deadly plot.
There are no chapter numbers in this book, instead, all the chapters are named things like ‘The Medal’. Since that would make little sense to a reader, I’m going to do this with page numbers, but I just wanted to note that I love having names for chapters, it brings me joy.
Page 1 – 91
Ok, one bus ride down and nearly 100 pages in – so I guess you could say this is a page-turner. So far I think this could go either way, for a summary that promised such a complex world (those floating arks remind me a little of the traction cities in Mortal Instruments) there hasn’t been a lot of exposition about how this actually works – at least not yet. The focus has been on Ophelia and how her world, and her connection to objects, works. That reminds me a little of The Dark Vault, a recent read that I really liked, so there is a lot of potential here.
Ophelia has listed dangerously close to the ‘I’m not like other girls’ territory a couple of times in this narrative, but in fairness, we have met very few other girls with whom she can be compared so what do I know really, perhaps she is genuinely different?
So far we have an arranged marriage set in motion, and it has the air of Austen about it, that idea of aligning families, marriage for politics set within strict rules of social conduct – I like it.
So yes, plenty of ways this book could go, and so far, I think it’s going to be good!
Page 92 – 156
I’m cementing the Austen connection (am I being ignorant because Austen is really the only regency-esque author I know well enough to comp? – maybe). Now we have a young girl in a strange house with a strange grandmother and strange customs – I FEEL IT.
We’ve also had a little bit more world-building and I have to say the idea of these floating bits of what had once been earth is fascinating. I kind of wish there was something akin to a map so I could get my head around it a little better – but it’s certainly a novel idea.
There’s a good deal of book to go and things are already getting very political – I’m looking forward to it.
Page 157 – 266
Confession. It has been almost a week since I last picked up this book. In my defence, I did leave it at my parent’s house over the weekend and by the time I got it back I was already reading Sorcerer to the Crown so what are you gonna do? But I’m back, and I’m pretty sure I can finish this book today if I set my mind to it.
Is that because I’m not sure about it? Honestly, it’s been 266 pages and I’m not sure that anything has happened really other than Ophelia getting to this place and everything is a bit weird (or just straight up terrible). I don’t feel like I really know what’s going on, because Ophelia doesn’t know either, and all you’re left with is a sense that this world and this political landscape is very intricate and interesting but you don’t know how.
I would imagine that this is resolved in the coming chapters, and I shall be rather annoyed if it isn’t!
Page 267 – End
I had to do it friends, this one I had to finish in the bath. Why? Because it took until the last 100 pages or so to get actually interesting. I will say that by the end I was totally on board and I’m probably going to purchase and read the sequel which comes out fairly soon – April in fact – because by the end of this story I was definitely intrigued, I also had a much better handle on the political scope of the world – just like I said would happen.
Was it worth the preceding 400 pages? Maybe not. It had the feel of something that needed to be done to get to the meat of more of a story in the second book which I believe could be truly astonishing, I’d love to read more of this amazing world and have more of the poisonings and politics and less of the ‘why are we here doesn’t his aunt seem rude’ which takes up a lot of the book. But in general, I was left with a positive impression, which I’m not sure this readalong conveys so I’ll try to wrap up on a positive note.
This is what I would call a slow starter to what could be a great series. I’ve read a few of them of late most recently Circle of Shadows. I think if you went in knowing that it would take some time for things to pick up you would probably have a much more enjoyable experience from the off than I did. But I will say I think this is a really imaginitive world and the characters, in particular Ophelia, definitely grew on me as the book went on. I’d say it’s worth a read if you can get your hands on a copy, just be sure to stick it through to the end, maybe pick a long journey where you can read a lot of the beginning in one go?
My rating: 3/5 stars
I bought this book myself, all opinions are my own.
What will the TBR tea-cup pick next?
Ok, fine, it actually picked King of Scars but I really felt like I ought to read the last book in the Grisha trilogy first, so Ruin and Rising it is – and when I pick out R&R I’ll read King of Scars! I picked this book up when on a spending spree in my local indie bookshop near the end of last year – but then ended up sitting on the series until…well…until now! Stay tuned for my next readalong which will hopefully be coming pretty soon!
Until then! Tell me what you think in the comments below!