My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The idea behind this book is very intriguing: imagine a world made up entirely of human/butterfly hybrids, with a bit of The Selection madness thrown in. Pretty cool, right? As unique as the concept is, it could have used some more development before going to print. 5 stars for ingenuity, minus 3 for poor development.
The plot meandered hither and yon with no clear direction or message. There was far too much going on, with not enough details to make any of it believable. I’m not totally sure what the point was at times–was the book about Elissa trying to find a husband? Her attempt to grow up? Connect with her family? I’m not sure. I think the message really boiled down to “don’t let your hormones/lust drive your relationship decisions.” A good message for sure, but I don’t think this book was the best way to present that; I was drowning in insta-love, irrational decisions, and love triangles (more like octagons!) in this book, and it drove me crazy. One positive is that the author discouraged premarital sex, and showed some of the consequences it led to. This is very different from mainstream opinion, and I appreciated that the author was willing to go against the grain and present a different view. Another positive was that even though this is marked as a “new adult” book, the author kept the romance(s) fairly clean overall. Nothing explicit here.
It was neat to see how the author included a wide variety of personalities in this book. Again, too many characters led to underdevelopment of nearly all of them, though there were a few that really stood out. Psyche and Holis were fun to read about, though they were supposed to be the “bad” characters. If the author had chosen just one or two of the relationships in this book to flesh out and devote more time to, and dropped most of the others, that would have made a huge difference. One note: I feel like Elissa and Cari switched personalities about a quarter way through the book, and it took me a bit to get settled with the characters again.
The setting was supposed to be more dystopian than fantasy, but we didn’t get to learn a whole lot about the world the book was set in. All we know is a flood caused it to be populated by only human/butterfly hybrids, and some animals. There was a hint of religious persecution, though it wasn’t clear what religion was being persecuted, or if the persecution had recently ended. The characters prayed twice, maybe three times in the entire book, and it wasn’t clear how deeply felt their faith was, or who they were praying to. It felt thrown in to me, and not authentic for the characters. Overall, I’m not sure whether the world-building was good or bad; there was so little of it, I can’t really say either way.
One last comment: I was actually grossed out by some of the stuff in this book: wing birth, pheromone stuff, etc. I get that the author wanted to bring in some authenticity to the human/butterfly crossover, but all the details were kinda disturbing at times.
The gist of my review is this: great idea, ruined by poor development. This book had so much potential; it’s disappointing to see the author didn’t follow through with it. I’m hoping that following books will be better developed, but I can’t say for sure.
Rating: 2 stars
Language: 0/10 (none that I can recall)
Sexual content: 6/10 (lots of kissing, talk of mating, insta-love/lust, characters’ relationship seems at times more lust than love, almost rape, some nudity)
Violence: 3/10 (injuries, some mildly graphic, hormone-driven fights, etc)
*Many thanks to the author for providing a copy to review!*
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