*I received a free ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
I’m not really sure how to write this review because while the writing itself was ok, the overall story just didn’t work for me.
The whole thing felt too mild for me. If you know my taste, you know I like books that are more toward the extremes. But this one just didn’t have enough of anything. There was some darkness… but not enough for it to actually be called dark. And there was some quirkiness… but not enough for it to actually be called quirky. Etc., etc. Also, it was kind of light because of the magic, but it was also kind of dark because Maire was being held captive, and then there were a couple scenes that were suddenly violent and moderately graphic. It’s not that I mind graphic scenes, I read far worse on a regular basis, but the way they appeared out of nowhere amidst the calmness was jarring to me. Maybe that was the point, to show the sudden, unsettling nature of violence, but that combined with the other two opposing moods made everything kind of clash for me, and it’s impossible for me to classify the mood of this book.
I also felt the book was slow-moving because the whole thing was just about Maire trying to remember her past with the plot being kind of a backdrop to that. A slow pace is not inherently bad, but in order for me to enjoy it, I have to connect with the characters, and I just didn’t. I loved that Maire was a fighter when it came to her life and helping others, and I didn’t have anything against her, but I didn’t connect and didn’t feel like I knew her, or anyone, that deeply by the end.
Lastly, the thing that possibly bothered me the most was that the entire book seemed to hinge on Fyel being vague. And one of my biggest pet peeves in books is when characters are vague for no reason. I know that a reason was given, but it wasn’t a good enough reason for me as it seemed very arbitrary on the part of the author.
I did, however, think the book at least had an interesting ending. I still feel like it lacked an explanation for certain things (as though they were the way they were simply because the author said so), but I definitely did not see that twist coming. And the epilogue was perfect for the characters.
So overall, I found the book to be slow moving and couldn’t connect with the characters, but anyone who likes more mild, slow-paced, lightly magical books might enjoy it more.
But oh, one more thing, make sure you have some gingerbread cookies on hand before you start reading because this book is gonna make you want them ;-)
Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.
When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.
During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.
From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting and otherworldly tale of folly and consequence, forgiveness and redemption.