Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: May 1, 2017
Received From: NetGalley
With a book in her bag and a switchblade in her pocket, Rebel’s been thieving her way through life while hoping for a cure to fix her ailing heart.
But when the bejeweled vase she just tried to hawk turns out to be a jinni’s vessel, Rebel gets lost to her world and dragged within another. Now every magical being in the city wants the vase for himself.
Thrust into a game of cat and mouse in a world she never knew existed, Rebel must use her uncanny skills to find a way to free Anjeline the Wishmaker.
But wishes have consequences. And contracts. Anjeline’s freedom could unravel a love like Rebel has never known, or it could come at the cost of Rebel’s heart…
GENDER: presumed cisgender
SEXUALITY: one MC is stated to like girls with no mention of other genders, so I assume lesbian; other MC’s sexuality is not stated within the section I read
TROPES: surprise magical world, found family
TAGS: fantasy, paranormal, young adult, contemporary, queer romance
WARNINGS: violence, child abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, psychological abuse
Unfortunately, I had to stop reading this book around 40% of the way in.
The worldbuilding was…not great. It’s stated at the beginning of the novel that this is supposed to be taking place in modern London, but half the time, it didn’t even read like a contemporary. I kept feeling like I was in the midst of reading a historical novel instead; this plot could have just as easily been transplanted into 19th century London and would probably have been more entertaining.
Not to mention, the text was way too heavy on exposition and information dumps. I read 40% and I didn’t feel like much even really happened. There were a few fight scenes–one that was far longer than it needed to be–but I don’t feel like they added much other than to shock the main character into realizing the paranormal really is all around her. By the time the third fight scene came around, they felt gratuitous. I can only imagine how many more are to be found within the other 60% of the novel.
Also, there were several instances in which the author used words that didn’t fit within the context of the situation. They were correct, in that they could paint the necessary picture, but they were all overly large, fancy words that made it seem like the author was overcompensating.
And then there were the main characters. To be quite honest, I don’t feel like I actually know much of anything about them. Rebel like girls, books, steals things, and is an orphan; Anjeline is a jinni, captive within her vase, and was the companion of King Solomon back in the day. There was a mild undercurrent of sexual tension between the two. That’s pretty much it. The characters weren’t completely flat, but they were not dynamic enough to hold my attention in spite of the lackluster worldbuilding.
J.C. Welker is a YA author who’s been, among other things, a fashion designer, a filmmaker and a kickboxer (seriously).
Her short documentaries which focused on homeless vets and LGBTQ issues in the military have been featured on CURRENT TV, and her novel won first place in the paranormal category of the 2016 YARWA Rosemary Awards. She continues to work towards giving a voice to LGBTQ stories, while facing magic and monsters along the way.