Ahoy there me mateys! I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
torn (Rowenna Miller)
Author: Rowenna Miller
Publisher: Orbit Books
Publication Date: TODAY!! (Paperback/E-Book)
Upon reading the synopsis, I thought this novel would float me boat. But I just could not finish it and had to abandon ship at 80%. Why ye ask? Well for a myriad of reasons:
- Sophie – She is the main character and at first I really liked her. She was hard-working, dedicated, driven, intelligent, and fun. But basically she is a character who waffles forever, makes the wrong choices every time, is extremely selfish, and doesn’t use her brain. People DIE because of her stupidity and yet even that doesn’t help her decide. By doing nothing (but lying) she creates a situation that could have been solved in the very beginning just by turning the bad man into the police. I kept waiting for her to fix her own mistakes and instead (at 80%) she FINALLY makes a decision and then runs to a man to whine and ask for help. That was the point where I had to stop reading. Ugh.
- The Magic – Sophie is a seamstress who sews magic into clothing with her stiches. This aspect of the novel was awesome. It just really didn’t get used to its potential. I wanted to see more of the magic in action, not just hear about some of the small things it could do as an aside.
- The Love Story – Sigh. Insta-lust turned into love in a couple of weeks. She is a commoner. He is a noble. Star-crossed lovers that ye be supposed to cheer for. But I didn’t really.
- The Love Interest – Okay so despite disliking the insta-lust, I did like a couple of things about Sophie’s man. He is a botanist and a violinist. He has an eye for artistry. He is strong and intelligent. But oh so naïve. The “commoners live like this?” and “well yes we are so rich but we have responsibilities that are given to us by birth and oh it’s so hard” kinda crap. Sophie of course opens his eyes to the common folk problems while he wines, dines, and seduces her with his charm and riches.
- The Brother – Sophie’s brother is frankly an ass. Everything she does is because her brother always gets his way and she loves him. Is civil war worth saving yer selfish idealistic stupid brother. Ummm apparently yes. And then the plot twist happens and Sophie sees the truth! Well it was apparent to this pirate Captain from the beginning.
- The Bad Guy – He seemingly wants to bring down society in flames because of revenge. But his sister was spurned! Her reputation was ruined! So isn’t it justice? No it’s because he doesn’t feel important enough and no one realizes his superiority and intelligent. Bah!
- The Hired Help – I actually loved the girls working in the shop with Sophie. But in her selfishness she really treats them like crap and they deserved better. I wanted to see more of the good aspects of the friendships that were hinted at the beginning of the novel.
- The Pacing – It took forever to get into the story and was rather repetitive. We had to hear about brother’s beautiful writing, the anger of the populace, how nobles are evil, and the taverns meetings a bit too much. Poor = grumpy. Nobles = evil. Sophie needs nobles and money to survive. Seriously for something that simplistic, the author pointed it out an awful lot. There was no real build up or action. Most of that happened off the page. Instead we get Sophie waffling and visiting the rich people artists’ salon.
I kept reading because I wanted to see how Sophie used her magic to solve the problem. When she ran to lover-boy for help I got grumpy. When he agreed to help her without any commentary about her mistakes or stupidity because he loved her so, I had to stop. With so many books on the horizon, I just gave up. I want me reading to make time seem to disappear, not to accentuate every second passing. I am sad, but I couldn’t fight the tide.
I wish this one would have focused on the magic and had Sophie be a strong woman and not an idiot. I loved the sewing magic!
So lastly . . .
Thank you Orbit!
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
TORN is the first book in an enchanting debut fantasy series featuring a seamstress who stitches magic into clothing, and the mounting political uprising that forces her to choose between her family and her ambitions, for fans of The Queen of the Tearling.
Sophie is a dressmaker who has managed to open her own shop and lift herself and her brother, Kristos, out of poverty. Her reputation for beautiful ball gowns and discreetly-embroidered charms for luck, love, and protection secures her a commission from the royal family itself — and the commission earns her the attentions of a dashing but entirely unattainable duke.
Meanwhile, Kristos rises to prominence in the growing anti-monarchist movement. Their worlds collide when the revolution’s shadow leader takes him hostage and demands that Sophie place a curse on the queen’s Midwinter costume — or Kristos will die at their hand.
As the proletariat uprising comes to a violent climax, Sophie is torn: between her brother and the community of her birth, and her lover and the life she’s striven to build.
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