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Honestly, for a first novel, this one is pretty darn good.
I stumbled across this in a lending library, was intrigued by the spooky cover, and figured it was worth a read. Oh my goodness, I was sucked in from the first page. Literally the first page. Even before I knew what was happening or what the book was about, I was hooked. Just that short intro to the swamp at the beginning was enough for me to hunker down and prepare myself for a good read.
Yes, I could have done without the whole eating disorder plotline, but despite that this was actually a very engaging, wonderful book. While some of the twists and turns were a bit predictable, I was still interesting it the unique writing style and world building even when I could see where the story was headed. I sped through this one pretty quickly because it was so easy to get lost in the narrative. I also really liked the focus on female characters and the complexities of various relationships. There was so much to unpack with this one.
Great writing. Interesting characters. And definitely a gripping story. This was overall a fantastic read. My only real critique was that I thought the eating disorder thing could have been done better and possibly just avoided altogether. It kind of made Sterling out to be a little kid throwing a temper tantrum and refusing to eat dinner rather than, you know, like an actual hardcore problem that affects so many people.
While reading this book, I honestly didn't even realize who the author was. Once I started looking to see if there was a sequel, I realized this was the person who wrote Seafire. I haven't read it yet, but have always been interested by the cover (I'm a bit behind on my YA). Looks like I've got some new books to add to my TBR list and another author to follow.