"Lugh got born first. On Midwinter Day when the sun hangs low in the sky. Then me. Two hours later. That pretty much says it all. Lugh goes first, always first, an I follow on behind. An that's fine. That's right. That's how it's meant to be."
I was really excited when I first started reading this book. It had all of the elements that appeal to me: interesting prose and narration, kick-ass heroine, and a journey through a post-apocalyptic world filled with danger and adventure. Unfortunately, while the book does contain those elements in theory, in my opinion, it also contained a host of flaws that I just could not overlook and which ruined my enjoyment of the novel. What started out with great potential quickly failed in its execution. Here are the things that did not work for me and why I, unfortunately, had to give it a one star rating:
*Worldbuilding: The world is vague at best. The who, what, where, how, and why are missing from the story. There is mention of The Wreckers, who I assumed was us and alluded to us having “wrecked” civilization, but what happened to us or why the current world is in the state it’s in is never made clear. The post-apocalyptic world fares no better – the city we encounter, the bare bones hierarchy that seems to only contain a king but no other court members, etc. Honestly, the whole thing was kind of silly and a little ridiculous. For example, (view spoiler)(SPOILER ALERT: almost no one knows the location of the King's residence. How is that possible?)
*No Real Conflict/Too Convenient: Things were far too easy for the characters, especially the main character Saba. She never has to actually work for anything because everything falls easily into her lap. (SPOILER ALERT: Kidnapped and forced to fight in a cage? You are suddenly the best fighter ever – better even than the fighters who have been there longer than you and have some experience in fighting and winning. Need a cloak and boots? You’ll find it hanging on a peg somewhere or someone else will steal it for you. Need some shelter? The sand dunes will miraculously disappear and an airplane graveyard will magically appear.) The same goes for information. Saba never had to work to discover information for herself. (SPOILER ALERT: I found the appearance of Helen especially absurd. Her only purpose was to give Saba all the information she needed then disappear within a few pages when she was no longer useful. And don’t get me started on the fact that she was related to the one man who just happened to come upon Lugh years earlier.) Since everything came about so easily, I never felt that the characters were in any true danger. Everything was predictable and I stopped caring or rooting for them.
*Plot was paper thin: The foundation of the plot was silly, a little ridiculous, and anticlimactic.
*Far-fetched to the point of being unbelievable: There were so many scenes and plot points that were unbelievable to the point of being ridiculous and contrived. Just a few examples: (SPOILER ALERT: Saba being an undefeated fighter, the King going after Saba & co with only his parents as back-up instead of his army of guards, and the woman who captures Saba being the King’s mother).
*There was no depth of emotion to the story. It was a marvel of “telling” instead of “showing”.
*Characterization was weak at best. The secondary characters were two dimensional and I found Saba to be extremely unlikeable. Though Saba does grow slightly as the story progresses, I didn’t feel it was enough. Again, she didn’t have to work at anything so I shouldn’t be surprised that there wasn’t much growth. Like anything else in the novel, she didn’t actually have to work at making friends, people just inexplicably cared for her and became loyal to her.
Final Rating: 1 star