Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: August 15th 2017
All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love.
But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?
Despite its beautiful cover, I don’t think I would have picked this book up on my own if it had not come in August’s Fairyloot box. This kind of fantasy isn’t really on my radar but I did enjoy the book to begin with.
The writing is very flowery and purple, but the book calls for that. It’s very rich in detail and a whole sensory experience as Iris’s ability is to create beautiful images from flower and glasswork, Lina’s is music, and their mother’s is creating feelings through taste. With this in mind, the purple prose, in my opinion, can be looked over.
It does, however, make for slow reading. There are frequent long paragraphs describing how something looks/smells/tastes which doesn’t have a great deal of bearing on the plot so I found myself getting quite frustrated with how slowly I was getting through it. It messed up the pacing for me and as I was reading, I realised that for the first hundred or so pages, not that much had really happened.
Iris and Lina’s relationship was interesting. It somehow seemed to transcend the traditional sibling dynamic, even for twins. Their codependency and differences made for interesting reading but in points, it made me quite uncomfortable? I can’t fully explain it. I know I don’t have that sort of relationship with my sister, and perhaps I just can’t imagine us being like Iris and Lina. Of course, that’s completely subjective and didn’t affect my rating but I wanted to mention it.
There was also something I noticed which made me a little uncomfortable and that is that Niko is Romany and is first introduced as a vicious fighter, and that characterisation is carried on throughout the book. This is her first description:
She was petite and dark as their Bosnian Romany mother had been, and with her head tilted and jaw jutting, she looked like a fierce, tiny lapdog defending her mistress.
The ‘mistress’ in this instance is Lina, Iris’s twin. I’m not a fan of that simile and thought it was worth mentioning. However, she is involved in a female/female relationship, which is obviously awesome.
Awkward phrasing was something I struggled with in other places too. For example:
“Why do I feel so sparkly around you?”
He swirled one hand into a courtier’s bow. “Turning girls’ blood into glitter happens to be my speciality.”
Maybe this is my cynicism peeking through, but I thought that was just ridiculous and made me laugh when I shouldn’t. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know I have a very low tolerance for cheesy shit and this pushed me over the edge.
Individual cases aside, I just didn’t enjoy this book. You can tell how much effort went into it but an entire book with that writing style is just too much. If this was a novella, I think I would have loved it but as it stands, I ended up just pushing through to the end without any emotional investment. I just didn’t care about the characters or their goal anymore.
I won’t be picking up the sequel.
Have you read Wicked Like A Wildfire? If so, let me know and we can discuss!
Until the next time, lovelies,