Strong and snarky female protagonists make me very happy, and when you throw some magic, monsters, and the mob into the mix, I’m all in. This was light and enjoyable, and I was surprised by the reveal. I think this is a solid four stars, and fans of Estep’s other books won’t be disappointed.
Seventeen year old Lila is a tough girl with a street smart mentality and enviable fighting abilities, and that is before you factor in her impressive magical talents. Losing her mom has taught her that the best way to keep from getting hurt is to keep from getting involved. When she reluctantly saves the heir to one of the magical mob families in her magical tourist trap of a town, she knows she’s made a mistake. Blackmailed into guarding the heir she saved, Lila just has to survive the year of her contract to gain her own freedom. Lila is a narrator with attitude, and readers will have no trouble adapting to her perspective and seeing this strange little corner of the world through her cynical eyes. She manages to be a complicated enough character that she is interesting, but she never crosses a line that will alienate her from readers. Several of the characters are just as engaging and dynamic, creating a world of living, breathing individuals who I honestly grew to care about. While there is a lot of character development, it is woven flawlessly into consistently paced action, leaving little time for readers to grow bored. The world the author creates is pretty engaging as well. The stuff of fairytales and folklore reside in Lila’s world, and it is just familiar enough and the magical system is simple enough that readers will be able to navigate this light fantasy with ease.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.