Read: 2nd June 2017
Spoilers in review: No
I really enjoyed reading this! I started reading it the moment that it arrived and, other than two quick breaks to do some coursework and to get some food, I read it all in one go. There were plenty of moments where I was laughing out loud and other points where I was yelling about what was happening. It was great to see more from this universe!
That being said, there were a few things that bothered me while reading that’s ultimately stopped me from rating this five stars.
I’ve tagged this book as lgbt but I’m not entirely sure that it qualifies. A majorish male character has a husband, which is great! Also the new protagonist’s friend, Never, is genderfluid. This was nice to see, but I have an issue with the way that they were referred to by other characters and the narration. There were points where their pronouns changed from she/her to he/him within a single paragraph or even a single sentence. Surely when a character isn’t sure of which pronouns to use, or when they’re being referred to in general by the narration, it’s easier to use ‘they’? Valkyrie manages it when she’s first told about them, so why was that the only point in the book where that happens? Additionally, their introduction early on in the book uses the phrase ‘Normally he was a she by this stage of the week’ which rubbed me up the wrong way for reasons which I am struggling to put into words, but I’m certain that other people who aren’t cis will understand. Plus neither Never nor Melior are actual protagonists, but I guess if I have Perks of Being a Wallflower tagged as being lgbt than this also fits the bill.
[Note added August 2020: Later books in the series have made it clearer that Never strictly uses he/him and she/her, not anything else, and prefers that people switch up which they use whenever they can’t be certain which one is right at a given moment. This could’ve been communicated a lot better in this book, and the sentence ‘Normally he was a she by this stage of the week’ is still yikes.]
A minor character was described as having ‘skin like dark chocolate’ which I am fairly certain is not a good way to describe people. Just as a general rule, people are not food. It’s okay to say that they’re dark-skinned. You don’t have to sugar-coat it!
It would have been nice to see some more of the other characters from the first nine books, but I think most people were mentioned at some point, so they haven’t been forgotten!
To sum up, this wasn’t perfect. There were a couple of things that bothered me, which prevented me from giving this five stars. But I still enjoyed reading it and this is still one of my favourite book series!
Review originally written in 2017