Janna's Review

Well, to begin with, I love the opening. Both scenes are wonderful! The second one just about made me sick, but that's okay...it proves that the writing is vivid enough to put me in the moment. :) Some of the book was kind of - well, I knew what was going to happen. I knew who some of the people were before it was explained. Maybe I'm just a relatively astute reader, I don't know. Most of it was unpredictible enough that it outweighed the predictible parts, though, so that's good.

I started the book on October 31 (Halloween) [it arrived on Tuesday and I saved it all week, though I desperately wanted to start right away], and finished on November 8. I could have read it faster if I hadn't tried to read every word, and if I had more spare time, I probably would have finished in about five days or less (it took me five days to read -Gone With The Wind- both times I read it). The time between then and now has been spent trying to figure out what to say. So. On with the review!

Setting: Yay! Someone who understands cold countries! The winters they have are actually WORSE than the ones I'm used to - they actually sound like the ones my friend from Saskatchewan is used to, where it gets down to -70 (Celsius) because of the windchill factor. Here (southern Alberta) we get down to about -40 or so, but we also have plenty of Chinooks (really warm weather in the middle of winter, where it feels like spring and sometimes summer)! Everything that takes place outside reminds me of something from Farley Mowat. *smiles* That's a good thing, trust me...

Characters: Ash is great. She's so determined to be strong, even when the odds are against her and she really shouldn't bother trying to go on. She FEELS physically small to me, somehow (which may not make sense to anyone but myself, but that's okay), but inside she's huge. Raif is so typically male, it's funny sometimes. But he's also atypical. He's so introspective and caring and protective... much more mature than most sixteen year old boys I know. The others are all great. I hope Cassy is more important in the next book, because I really liked her. Also, I have to say - I missed Effie when she wasn't there! She's the oldest eight year old I've ever met. Oh, and the naming of the nameless man at the end completely bowled me over. I had to double check to make sure I knew who he was! (How do you like the way I neatly sidestepped giving away the ending?) Marafice Eye... truly frightening. Penthero Iss strikes me as being a little too wary - he's going to slip up and lose everything he values.

Before I go, I have to say that the only bad thing about reading a galley edition well before the book actually comes out is that you have to wait that much longer for the next book in the series! Write fast, JV! And consider me for the next galley contest you have!