The first book for the reading club I manage on writing.com and the first reading club I've even been in, online or in person. I really enjoyed reading a book at the same time as others, that wasn't an actually class for a grade, and being able to discuss each chapter with the other readers.
Also, a quick reminder: This is just my opinion. While this book isn't going to be in my group of favorites any time soon, there are others who really like it.
Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, again, Dana decides she’s had enough and runs away to find her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the captivating, magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn't just an ordinary teenage girl—she's a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and the only person who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.
Soon, Dana finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone's trying to kill her, and everyone seems to want something from her, from her newfound friends and family to Ethan, the hot Fae guy Dana figures she’ll never have a chance with… until she does. Caught between two worlds, Dana isn’t sure where she’ll ever fit in and who can be trusted, not to mention if her world will ever be normal again…
This book had such great potential. Between the creative concept of the Faeriwalker (who is half human and half fae), the splitting between worlds where one has magic and the other has technology, and the different version of Avalon (located inland instead of as a mist shroud island) there was so many things I was hoping to see in this novel. Unfortunately, for me the book fell short of the potential.
Main Character: While the MC, Dana, has an interesting background as a halfling (half human, half fae), she was very hard for me to relate to throughout the whole book. Even when I tried to hone in on my past teenage hood (since I'm 26 it wasn't that far behind), but that didn't work. It would have been better for me in third person, not only because I'm not really a fan of first in general but with a character that is hard to follow, being in first person the whole story doesn't help. Towards the end she does get better but for a good part of the book minus the end and the first chapter, Dana is more of a pawn being moved from place to place. And she was often meeting boys/men, which is fine except she always talked about the three different main guys she meets in a drooling fashion, talking in her head about how hot/dreamy/attractive they were and by the second guy I was frustrated. Especially when a cold, kind of stuck up female friend also sinks to the "he's yum" topic. And for at least one the focus on looks does end rather quickly, almost like it was forgotten but he was older and she later started swooning over his son. There is an implication that she'll learn something to help her in the epilogue but for much of this book she has to be saved often.
Location: I wanted more. It was actually a different approach, having Avalon be the gateway between the human world and the Fae one to begin with. Then she has it be in land, somewhere in England near mountains. Very different than the usual approach to Avalon. I haven't read many books that set in Avalon but even I know the general descriptions of the place from the movie. (Weird movie. Watched it with my girlfriend when we were together. oh Avalon.) But I was left wanting more than I was given. I liked the little details, the change to cobblestones and what not yet there could have been more. It's Avalon afterall, and different so why not show more of it. I do wonder what Fae will look like and if she will go to that world in the next book.
Other Characters: It was hard to see who to trust, which I'm sure was done on purpose to increase the angst or tension. It did a little at first but then it became a bit old rather fast. For some of the readers that caused the ending to not seem as tense as it should have been. There were some interesting characters though. I liked one of the fae near Dana's age, except for the "yum" comment, and then the troll near the beginning of the book. He's not in the story much but he seemed like an okay character, which is good to see for a troll one. The body guard wasn't too bad and the trainer when she finally learned a few moves to protect herself had potential. If the main character is stronger in the sequel, and the other characters are developed more with a better sequencing (it start to feel a bit jumpy and not as connected as it should be) of the scenes then the sequel might be a good book.
Overall: Just not for me. It had some good points and definitely could have been a really good book. I haven't decided if I'll read the sequel or not. Since I'm not reading any sequels right now just because I have so many authors to experience, if I do read Shadowspell then it will be a couple of years from now. I'm more curious about the author's other series. She has published an urban fantasy, adult, series that people seem to really like who often read urban fantasy. I might consider trying one of the other genres she writes in instead.