*I received a free ecopy of this book via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.*
This book was well-written enough I think, but the problem for me was that it wasn’t at all what I was expecting from the blurb. I was expecting a kidnapped mother, a girl whisked away to some other realm, lots of action and adventure and maybe some semi-dark and emotional scenes as she searched for her mother and pieced together clues, ran from and/or battled the villains, and got to know the mysterious guy she had no choice but to trust if she ever wanted to see her mother again… but it wasn’t like that. Yeah her mother was kidnapped and she went to another realm, but her mother was just taken to a cushy prison where Olivia stayed in the apartment with her, so there was no searching or action or adventure, and then the whole book ended up being about politics. A small fraction of the story involved Olivia’s telepathic powers and a villain, but it was mostly about the families who controlled Atlantis and manipulated and schemed to get what they wanted. I can enjoy politics depending on the book, even though it’s not generally my thing, but I’m sorry to say I didn’t find the manipulating and scheming in this one to be very exciting.
There were also a couple chapters in the middle that I found strange in which the author interrupted the story to talk about her inspiration and the like. Honestly I was never very into the story to begin with, but, if I had been, it would have completely thrown me out of it.
I did like, however, that there was a blind character. Some of the impact of his blindness was diminished by his telepathic ability that allowed him to kind of “see” a room and the things around him in a different sort of way, but the telepathy only worked for short periods of time, and it wasn’t perfect. He still tripped and ran into things sometimes, he still needed to take someone’s arm sometimes, he used a text-to-speech program for text messages on his phone, he read in braille, he couldn’t drive, etc. So there was at least some acknowledgement of his struggles. And it was also nice that he didn’t really see it as a disability. Rather, he saw as just a part of who he was, and that was why he didn’t want to get rid of it even when he had the chance.
So overall, this wasn’t a book that sucked me in, but I appreciated getting to experience the POV of a somewhat blind character, and it might be more a more enjoyable story to readers who do like reading about politics.
Anyone looking for a YA fantasy story with a focus on politics rather than action. Anyone who wants to read about a blind POV character.
Olivia is a (mostly) ordinary girl who loves thrift stores and baking, but she’s about to learn the secrets of her extraordinary past. Alfred is the blind, charismatic young heir to a magical crime family. When Olivia’s mother is kidnapped, Olivia has no choice but to accept Alfred’s help.
They travel to the Hidden Lands, a parallel world of old magic and modern pop culture—the world of Olivia’s ancestors—the world her mother fled after making a bad bargain with the magical Mafia. Alfred puts his position on the line to defend Olivia against his family’s conniving plans. Maybe he has morals…or maybe he’s just falling in love. But can Olivia trust him?
When Olivia escapes from an attack by a curiously familiar sorceress, she learns that Alfred’s family isn’t the only thing Mom was hiding from. The most dangerous enemy of all is much closer…