Set in a world recovering from ‘The Great White’ an apocalyptic event that brought the world to its knees.
The fallout has caused some to be born with mysterious mental abilities, these ‘misfits’ are a feared part of society and must do their best to remain hidden. Elspeth is once such misfit, working on one of the orphan farms, collecting the dangerous, but highly useful Whitestick.
An accident whilst out working brings unwanted attention to Elspeth, and she finds herself sent to the remote and mysterious Obernewtyn.
There she finds secrets that threaten the world once more, to uncover the truth she must risk everything and accept and use her powers or she and her new friends may not survive the winter.
I’d heard really great things about this series, so it was one of the books I was looking forward to reading the most, during YAD2, and unfortunately, it was my first real disappointment. It’s not bad book by any means, there are lots of things that I know others will love about it, but it never gelled for me and I just found it really difficult to properly get into.
It felt a little more of a fantasy world than a dystopian one (not that the two are mutually exclusive) and while that world is believable and well constructed, and thankfully without pages and pages of set up and ‘infodump’, I just never cared about it as much as I did Elspeth.
Whilst I did love Elspeth, who starts off likeable and develops nicely as the story develops, without becoming some sort of superwoman, using her ‘powers’ to save the day, the characteristics that make her who she is, are just as important if not more so. I also loved the animals that help her along the way, the ‘mindspeak’ conversations they have, are well judged and their haughtiness entertaining!
Some of the other characters though, just don’t feel as well developed, I never really felt any sense of dread, when the bad guys where on the page, for instance.
I will say, though as I got towards the end of the book and especially the last few chapters, I did enjoy the book a lot more. There’s plenty of potential for the rest of the series to covert me more strongly for its cause!
But I can’t help but think that if it wasn’t for writing reviews for YAD2, I could so easily have been distracted by other books and put this one aside. Which would have been a shame as I did like the later chapters and as I say will likely enjoy the rest of the series a whole lot more.
I think sending it to Sector 4, may be a little unfair, but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as the other two books I’ve read so far and sent to Sector 3 during YAD2… So, I just can’t give it the same, if I was rating this within a traditional 5* system it’d be a solid 3/5