*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
This book is about three characters who live in a world where everyone knows their deathday, except oops!—these three outlive their respective deathdays and end up empathically linked to each other.
The main characters’ empathic connection was my favorite thing about the book. Not only did they feel each others’ emotions, they also shared taste, smell, and touch, which made things especially interesting. I love reading about empaths, and this was like reading about empaths x10. It was written really well and brought a lot to the story.
The characters themselves were all unique with their own strengths and weaknesses. I’ll admit Franny wasn’t my favorite, and she seemed oddly naive considering her background, but she was determined and compassionate. Court had a lot of walls built-up to push people away and was bad at showing that he cared, but he was intelligent, and he did care. Mykal was not book-smart or great in social situations, but he was passionate and loyal and optimistic and hardworking. Mykal was precious. He was one of those characters you just want to squish and hold like a big teddy bear. He was big and tough, but he was such a sweetheart and always had an easy smile for Court and Franny. And I felt bad for him when he kept feeling like he was useless and a failure. There were also side characters I ended up caring about, like Zimmer and Kinden.
The relationships were interesting as well. Between Court and Mykal, there was longing and feeling that went beyond their connection because they were there for each other when they had no one else. I wouldn’t have minded more angst, but I enjoyed their simmering feelings and the “will they, won’t they” tension. Between Mykal and Franny, there was friendship and inside jokes and loyalty. Between Franny and Court, there was frustration and a figurative wall because of how he kept pushing her away. And I can’t even tell you about my favorite relationship in the book, the one that gave me the most feels, since it would be a spoiler. (Ok, fine, I can’t help myself! But I highly recommend not reading this spoiler if you haven’t read the book yet. *SPOILER* Brothers! I’m so glad Kinden was so stubborn and perceptive and didn’t give up on his suspicion even when all odds and reasoning were against him. The scene when he finally found out was the most emotional for me. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of that relationship. *END SPOILER*)
I had to suspend a lot of disbelief for this book though, and that’s my main complaint. Things like… Certain children having the jobs of adults. Mykal being isolated for so many years but being largely unaffected mentally/emotionally. Court getting such an extreme punishment for his crime (which was kept from the reader for a frustratingly long amount of time). The slightly overdramatized feel to a lot of things. A hotel owner automatically believing Court and co. were paying guests, despite his trusted bellhop telling him otherwise, without even checking the hotel log. Franny knowing how to fight perfectly just because Court once told her the weak places on the body to hit.
The parts of the plot that were believable, however, were slow-paced but good. And there were some twists, especially near the end.
So overall, while I did have a few issues, they were outweighed by the positives. I liked the characters, the relationships, and the connection between the three MCs, and I do want to continue the series!
Anyone who likes YA, empath abilities, and lovable characters.
In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds.
Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday.
Until the day she does.
Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him.
Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny.
With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.