Let’s all take a moment to observe the pretty cover. The colours, the font, the background… it’s beautiful. I don’t think I’ve seen such a nice one all year. Now I’m not saying it’s the complete and total reason I bought the book… except yeah, I kind of am. So sue me.
I said almost. My main issue was the inherent jumpiness of it. It’s bad enough that Sylvi and Ebon’s mind-speech isn’t distinguished from the normal text in any way, but the narrative meanders all over the place too. So you’ll have the Princess sat in her room talking to Ebon which is basically just normal text phrased in the Second Person, but then she’s suddenly in the past and five minutes later she’s back in her room but musing to herself. It just doesn’t indicate when it’s changed from story to mind-speech to memory. It’s horribly confusing.
I know, said Ebon. But after yesterday… if you said you wanted to be empress they’d say, Oh, okay, what do you want your crown to look like? And even if you’d hated everything you saw here and stopped talking to me too… we’d still haul you to the Caves and shove you in, because we promised.
There isn’t much of a discernible plot – I think it tries to cover too many different sub-plots instead of focusing on just one. I know there’s a second part to come, but not until 2014 apparently. It’s a shame because I really liked the cliff-hangerish ending and it surprised me a little – it didn’t fit with the rest of the book, but in a good way.
It never really decided how it wanted the pegasi to be either. Sometimes they’re treated like honoured guests, others like trusted friends and sometimes like unintelligent pets. This would have been fine if it was trying to make a point about the undecided social status of the pegasi, but I don’t think it was. I liked Ebon mostly, but I expected him to act a little more like an adult. He even calls Sylvi ‘babe’ at one point, to my present and ever-lasting horror.
But as I said earlier, I do like it. Now, anyway. I didn’t at the time – in fact I almost considered just stopping reading it. I’m glad I didn’t, but I do think it’s strange how your opinion of a book can change after you’ve taken a step (or an hour) away and looked at the bigger picture. I do want to read the sequel but I hope it’s a little less jumpy and, for God’s sake, use a different font for the mind-speaking.