Well, Livejournal decided to be nasty today and deleted my whole review that I had originally written for this. I have no why idea why it did this, but now I'm annoyed and going to keep this review very short because I don't feel like re-typing everything I just worked on (in vain.)
It's all right though, because I actually ended up really not liking this book very much. I know this is extremely lazy, but I will list in a bullet list why I didn't like this book (major spoilers ahead; read with caution):
- I wasn't fond of the narrative voice Lackey used. It read like it was trying to hard to have a "fairy tale" vibe, and I get that this is a fairy tale re-telling, but it came off as clunky and just felt weird. This was especially obvious when the reader was privy to Illya's inner thoughts.
- Also in regards to writing: Lackey used way too much exclamation points. That probably sounds like an odd complaint, but seriously, there were so many. Everytime Ilya had a thought, almost every sentence ended in an exclamation mark. It really grated on my nerves after awhile.
- Because of the unsatisfactory narrative voice, everything came off as flat. Ilya was the only character to get any decent amount of characterization, and even HE was flat, so you can just imagine the secondary characters (I didn't mind those two priest characters though, and their unlikely friendship).
- I don't know how faithful Lackey stayed to the original fairy tale this story is based off of, but the representation of the female characters in this story is kind of troublesome. All the female characters are either: a) in need of rescuing (e.g. the Firebird being caught in the tree and saved by Ilya; the maidens at the castle), b) end up being terrible people (Ilya's betrothed near the end of the novel) or c) fall in love with Ilya (Ilya's betrothed, the Firebird [despite being a mythical creature that can do whatever the hell she wants]).
There'll be no Final Verdict because I think I've made it quite clear how I felt about this reading experience, which is really too bad considering I was kind of excited to finally getting around to reading a Lackey novel. Too bad it just ended up being kind of Lacking.