Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Book Review: River by Ryen Lesli

River is your typical seventeen-year-old girl, hanging with her best friend Skye and living in hot
dusty Georgia. She's not fond of Skye's new boyfriend, but it's when she finally meets him that her life turns upside-down. Her mother whisks her away to a new world and removes the suppression of her memories: River finds out she's a Fair and has power, she's a princess (not that she cares much), and oh, she's also bonded to Luca, a boy from her childhood. Luca is now a warrior named Wolf, and he didn't take her leaving him well. Frustrated, River turns to Cat, her Royal (a type of bodyguard) for friendship and comfort.
The author has been very clever in how she integrates the world of the Fair with the Outer World, placing it in Muir Wood in California. The world building is excellent and definitely adds to the story. As River relearns her past, the reader is also introduced to her fascinating environs. And not just the other species, but their customs and way of life.
The three main characters, River, Wolf, and Cat, are a good mix. River is the linchpin, confused by her new surroundings and frustrated with her mother while Wolf covers his hurt with a belligerent shell and Cat does his best between the two of them. While triangles are often a YA trope (not that there's anything wrong with that), I liked that this one doesn't go on that long.
The supporting characters are fun. Scarlett and the other Fair learning swearwords and other slang from River add a comic element that's a nice touch. Finn and Scarlett's romance is also great; it reminded me of Tormund and Brienne from GOT in some ways. The other Warriors are a good mix of guys as are the girls who befriend River.
Angel, the evil villainess of the book, is suitably malevolent and just icky. The tour of her rooms is nausea-inducing, just horrific- and a fine piece of writing. For the most part, the writing is good though I got tired pretty quickly of everyone tugging on braids. The story is fascinating and propels the reader to discover more about this world and these characters until one reaches the cliff-hanger ending. I definitely will read the next book and can't wait for it.

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