3 out of 5 stars.
I received ARC of this work.
Spoiler alert for the first book.
Another very standard YA fantasy series. A girl finds out she has special powers. She must save her kingdom and her friends from a tyrannical overlord. She turns out to be the daughter of someone special. She loses her first love and has to decide whether to turn to another boy or pursue the first guy when he reappears. I am getting somewhat tired of reading the same story over and over again.
As is characteristic of YA, this has far too much romance for my liking. Too much romance that ends up squishing the action, adventure and world building into far too little space. This work also has the weird characteristic of being two entirely separate stories stitched together imperfectly. One story is about a post-apocalyptic society that needs to be overthrown, and the other is about a magical system in which the personification of abstract concepts meddle in human affairs. They do not blend perfectly, so through a lot of these two books I was a little on edge. Something just does not sit right.
The magic system seemed interesting, but not explained in-depth enough. The world was very standard, with the added touch of magic-powered machinery which made it an unusual crossover with science fiction. The protagonist and the love interests did not have much personality. They were generically “brave” and “good”, but their voices were not distinct or rounded. They felt more like placeholders that the author could then tack powers or abilities onto.
I actually liked the second one in this series a little better. It leaves behind the magic a bit more and concentrates more on the political/ dystopian side of the story. I felt it moved along at a better pace and was more coherent as a whole.
This was not a horrible read. It is well-written enough that you do not get yanked out of the story, and I did end up finishing it. It is just not anything extraordinary.