First up, I’ve got a couple guest reviews over on the super-cool blog, My Life is a Notebook. You should go check them out and also look at the rest of the blog. Gretchen does some pretty great YA reviews.
Now, onto this week’s Tuesday Reads.
The merfolk pushed its head through the white tufts of foam forming on the surface. And then everything moved too quickly. Krishani blinked and heard a loud splash. When he looked, the girl who had been clothed in an ivory maiden’s gown was naked. He tore his gaze away, but the image was already imprinted on his mind…He heard another splash and when he dared a glance back at the banks of the pond she was gone.
Surrender is the first in Rhiannon Paille’s second series. It tells the story of Kaliel and Krishani, two elvens with destinies that should not be intertwined. They fall in love and the decisions they make for their love could spark a war.
The world-building in Surrender is pretty great. As a reader, you really get the sense that Paille has thought this place out and knows what she’s talking about. You can feel the history. Her descriptions of the land are quite lovely and if you’re into fantasy – especially fantasy with a fairy/elf type concentration – then you’ll enjoy her world.
It’s difficult for me to enjoy a romance that is just “because fate”. I want to see the couple (or triad, or whatever) actually connect on a mental and emotional level. I want there to be something. Krishani and Kaliel fall in love instantly and can’t stop thinking about each other for months. Their entire lives become about each other and I never understand why. I don’t feel anything for them because as far as I can tell, they’re in love because, well, fate. If you’re into fate and love at first sight, then you might dig this. It’s just not my thing.
Paille’s characters react strongly to everything. They’re always gaping and gasping and the ground spins under their feet. There’s an excess of stumbling, staggering, and Kaliel is always flailing her arms as she falls over with surprise. They react so strongly to the smallest things that their reactions to the stuff that really matters doesn’t hold any weight. They just come off as overly dramatic.
My biggest problem, though, is Kaliel and the villain. Kaliel doesn’t really take a lot of initiative. She’s prone to giving up very easily and not really making decisions. We don’t really learn much about our villain until about halfway through, it’s not until the end that we learn his name, and I never understand his motives. He’s trying to capture the Flames, but I never understood why or what he was like. I need my villains to have some humanity. Just like I don’t go in for “because fate”, I also don’t go in for “because evil”.
For me, I had trouble getting into it and following the plot. I did enjoy the world, but I couldn’t connect to the characters. It’s worth trying out, though, especially if this kind of fantasy is your kind of thing.