Content Warnings: Suicidal Ideations, Gory Descriptions, Sexual Content
In this Celtic retelling of Beauty and the Beast, we follow Sorcha as she embarks on a mission to find a cure for the blood beetle plague that threatens her family, and humanity at that. When her quest leads her to Hy-Brasil to bring back a fae to the mortal lands, her mission takes a twist.
Sorcha falls for Eamonn against her better judgment. And she has conflicting emotions about loving him and her mission They ultimately come up with a good solution: She stays on the isle with him and he helps her with stopping the blood beetle plague.
But there is so much more at play here that can rip them apart. Will they survive the upcoming war? Will Sorcha complete her mission and save her family?
- A map!
- Cute minor characters
- Great romance
- Ends on a small cliffhanger
- Muddied plot line
- Telling more than showing
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Ugh, the story can’t just end with Sorcha returning home after having failed. Eamonn needs help, her family needs help, and she failed Macha’s quest! I need answers on what happens next. My heart is breaking.
But let’s back up.
Although the main plot is a bit muddied and confusing, the romance subplot is wonderful. The romance really kicks into high gear after the 50% mark, but I wish there was a bit more romance in the beginning.
Then we have the main characters only interacting a handful of times before they fall in love. There isn’t much of a build-up for this romance, but once it got going it was good. Either way, it is what it is, I still enjoyed it.
Outside of the romance, a lot that occurs just fell into Sorcha’s lap without her having to do anything. She initiates the plea for help at the beginning and once she accepts Macha’s aid, she just follows the breadcrumbs. Hell, half her time is spent just on the island and people summoning her through a portal. Which, why did she never tell Eamonn before leaving or after?
Anyways, the story is mainly told instead of shown. There is lots of info-dumping from characters about what is going on and not enough showing us what is happening or why. This drove me a bit crazy as it was too easy. There is no real challenge for Sorcha or the reader to figure out the real story.
But the part that got me the most is how often Sorcha forgot about her quest for Macha to save her family. She spends months on this island and makes zero progress, enjoying life, and having no real purpose. How can you forget that you need to save your family? It’s baffling.
Regardless, I still enjoyed the intriguing nature of the plot, I just hope it holds up in the second book.
- Why did the Seelie and Unseelie rulers just summon Sorcha and talk to her? Why didn’t they capture her, especially Fionn, if they wanted Eamonn?
- Everyone keeps referring to Sorcha as a “thing.” She’s a person with ambitions and goals! Not a pretty thing to decorate.
- What is up with her family? Are they all related, all adopted, or half and half? I seriously can’t tell.
- How was Eamonn cursed and how did he not know? I need more details on that.
- I wish there was more depth and world-building.
Sorcha is a strong, but flat character. She’s stubborn and ill-tempered, but kind. She’s dedicated to helping the ill and injured and has a sharp tongue. She doesn’t take bullshit, that’s for sure.
But what else?
We know she can’t dance, but what other hobbies does she like? What foods does she enjoy and not enjoy? There really isn’t any character growth throughout the book.
It’s also harped on a lot that Sorcha is different and the kindest human, and just otherworldly in her generosity and intelligence. This also makes Sorcha flat as she fits a character mold of a Mary Sue, someone “so special” compared to everyone else. It got boring after a while, to be honest.
Regardless if she didn’t have much growth and was quite stagnant throughout, I still enjoyed her fiery passion and quick wit, though. I’m hoping she’ll grow more in the second book.
Eamonn’s anger is a bit of a red flag. He is quick to anger and even tried to attack Oona. I understand being upset at his banishment and being betrayed, but good grief, he needs to get that anger under control.
And I think we catch a glimpse of that in the latter half of the book. Sorcha calms him down and he’s able to control his outbursts better around her, and I’m here for it.
It also pains me to know he has such a traumatic past, especially since he has to wear the scars on his skin. But it creates an interesting dynamic for his romance and for the plot. Definitely falls into the big burly guy with anger issues but is a truly sweet teddy bear.
Overall, I like Eamonn and I want to see more of him in the second book. So I hope he isn’t dead.
I both liked and disliked the writing of this book. While the Irish lore and history were spot on, the clumsy dialog and nonsensical passage of time were off. Since I read this on the Kindle, I’m not sure if the same spelling/grammatical mistakes can be found in a physical book, but there were quite a few of those as well.
Let me show you a few examples that irked me.
- “Then stay on the ship, and I’ll bring you home.” He whirled on her. His chest rose and fell in exaggerated rage while his hands opened and closed.
- This should have been reversed, with the dialog coming after his actions. It would have made for a more impactful moment.
- Passage of Time:
- Sorcha emerges from the forest after making a deal with Macha and vomits. Dame Agatha rolls up and says, “It is not safe to be on the road in the twilight hours.”
- Cut to the both of them traveling to visit the MacNara twins and the manor is described as, “White marble gleamed in the splashed pink of the setting sun.”
- Then a few pages later, Sorcha states the MacNaras live a “half a day’s ride from us.”
- So shouldn’t it be nighttime by the time they arrive?
These mistakes were consistent throughout the story, and while they did hinder some of my enjoyment, they didn’t pull the story all the way down for me.
Regardless of how absent the main plot is, I still devoured the book. It was a fun read and one I didn’t have to think too much about. I could get lost in the banter and characters. My brain has been so tired lately, so it was a perfect read.
If you’re looking for a quick read and like Beauty and the Beast, this Irish twist on the story will satisfy your craving. As it did mine.
Book #2: Veins of Magic – TBR
What did you think of the book? Did you like it or could you have done without it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Facebook Page | Goodreads TBR | Spicy Rating Scale | Emma Hamm’s Website