I’m going to come right out and say it: I was really disappointed by this book. This is the first book by Richelle Mead that I have read and considering the hype around her other series, I expected much more from it. It sounded very interesting and I was excited to read it. I was excited that it had a Chinese setting especially that I knew it was going to have some aspects of mythology and I love Eastern mythology, but it was really disappointing.
The world-building was unsatisfactory, the setting, the culture felt American with Chinese names thrown in and the story moved along very slowly and wasn’t very well developed. The dystopian aspect of it made very little sense, I mean why would miners – who by the way are the ones keeping everyone from starving – be considered inferior to painters and therefore fed less? Rationally, they would need more food in order to remain strong and continue mining. But whatever, right? As long as it’s dystopian, cause that’s just cool nowadays.
Also, the key point of why people in this village had gone deaf and are now going blind, which is what determined me to purchase this book, is explained in half a page at the end. The elements of mythology are also hastily thrown in at the end, with very little foreshadowing. For the most part, the book feels like a dystopia (albeit, a badly written one) and the elements of fantasy and mythology at the end just feel out of place.
I’m not even going to start about romance. Suffice it to say, it left me completely unmoved.
I have given it 2/5 stars on Goodreads. I think this book could have been much better. It had a lot of potential, but it needed a lot more work.