I had gotten this on Netgalley through Orbit and I’m late in reviewing this. Unfortunately, my untimeliness is largely due to the fact that I kept trying to finish it but I just couldn’t and it’s ended up as a DNF at 60%.
So, I won’t make this too long but I’ll go into what worked and what didn’t.
I loved the idea of being able to harness death energy and use it as a type of magic. I loved the idea of poisons being an integral part of society and magic. That’s the whole reason why I picked this up. I recently have gotten very into gardening, and plants, and Victorian flower language and so I thought I’d really gel with this. I also really loved where this led to Necromancy and the main character having an ability to raise the dead but has no finesse or grace with it since it’s an outlawed magic. However, it’s this exact outlawed magic that the king needs to find out about and has tasked her with raising the dead from various villages to see who killed them, how, and why. I liked this plotline a lot and wish there had been more time spent on it.
What didn’t work:
The main character was just not one I enjoyed. She was pretty immature for her age, she’s about to turn 24 but honestly she reads more like she’s 15 or 16 to me. There’s a lot of enamored glances and gaze in weird moments where you really shouldn’t be thinking about that kind of thing. Not only that, but she seemed to think it’s really funny to make a celibate monk uncomfortable with nudity, or mention of sex, and I just don’t find that funny, especially not for the 100th time. Male or female gaze both annoy me, hot and bothered stuff annoys me, thinking sexy thoughts while you’re in mortal peril or the person is being an asshole annoys me, unexplained deep feelings annoy me… and so honestly this book just really didn’t work for me and I had to set it down.
Grains of salt:
I am notoriously picky about romance, so it shouldn’t be shocking that I bounce off romances from time to time. This may be your exact book you’ve been looking for!