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ARC was given by NetGalley & Delacorte Press in exchange for an honest review.
This review is being published before the release date (June 27, 2023)
Content/Trigger Warnings: Loss of a loved one, grief, depictions of anxiety, brief mentions of dead animals, depictions of claustrophobia, abduction, death, murder, depictions of blood, scene of suicidal ideation, scene of forced drugging/sedation, manipulation, scenes of emesis, mentions of starvation (in the past), talk of cannibalism (in the past), graphic deaths recounted, scene of drowning
“The wind whispers, sending chills down my spine. It almost seems to call my name. Silkily, a caress against the back of my neck. Starling.”
This was such a captivating read! Wow, friends. Truly, my curiosity was running wild with this book. I won’t lie, there were a few moments where I thought this might not live up to my expectations or I should, my high hopes for loving this book. After finishing this book, I can happily say that this was such a great read, perfect for the wintery season to give you some light goosebumps or tingles. And you can rest assured, I’m looking forward to what this author will have instore for us next!
Kit Starling is grieving the loss of her father, a huge inspiration to her and why she wants to become an author. When Kit finds out that she has a grandmother, after all this time, she and her mother set out to Rosemont. Filled with many questions of why her father lied and now even more secrets seem to be spilling out before her, on top of her mother missing Kit has more questions than ever. Something isn’t right in Rosemont, something much darker and it’s all linked back to her family, the Starlings.
“What they had was imprinted on us forever. It will never die,” Agatha said. It will die, I silently vow. I’m going to be the one to kill it.”
I was a bit nervous, I won’t lie. Books surrounding mother-daughter relationships just haven’t been my cup of tea as of late. I have struggled with the dynamic for a while now and officially decided to bench it. So when I learned this have a very close-knit mother-daughter bond, I was a bit hesitant. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this dynamic. Despite my worries, I really enjoyed the bond Kit and her mother have. In their grief, it seemed to solidify their relationship and the way Kit’s mother is written, it’s very obvious how much she loves Kit and how devoted she is to her. I just really loved it and even Kit being fully determined to find her mother was really nice to see. I just really loved the both of them and their bond they share with one another.
Speaking of Kit, I was a little worried with Kit’s character, as well. There were moments where Kit almost came off as extremely oblivious and almost like she couldn’t put the bigger picture together, but despite that, I loved that her love for her mother was the fire that caused her to keep pushing forward, to seek out the answers she needed, and to ultimately put the bigger picture together. I was very pleasantly surprised by that. I appreciate the author made sure to not box Kit’s character into a particular hero role. Throughout this whole book, Kit truly just craves family and we see moments where she’s crumbling to pieces, but also finding family in places where she didn’t think she could have it. I really adored that. And I have to mention Kit is either bisexual or pansexual. There are two characters in this book that Kit is attracted to and let me just say, I love a good F/F romance where one of them is a monster girl. That’s all I’ll say.
“She tastes like salt and sugar and darkness, and the promise of light just barely beneath it. I shouldn’t want to kiss her this much. But I do it anyway.”
Okay, that’s not all I’ll say. Let’s talk about about ‘Sabelle because I truly, with my whole chest, need fan art of this character. I fell madly in love with ‘Sabelle’s character. Now, I might be a little bias because I love anything with monsters, but her character really hit my intrigue when we get her first appearance. Truly, one of the best entrances for a character I’ve ever seen. ‘Sabelle’s whole personality reminds me of the wind, how it’s very light, but ever changing depending on seasons and weather. Honestly, I’m a little salty that it took a hot minute for her to come back into the storyline and I wish she would have been brough back sooner, but I still love her character and the scenes we do get were chef’s kiss.
Though there were many things I loved about this book and so, so many quotes, there were a few things that really held me back from fully loving it the way I hoped I would. While this is a subtle thing, it still irked me and there were a few scenes where Kit’s weight was brought up. Now, if it was to show the passage of time then I probably wouldn’t have an issue with it, but that wasn’t the case. There was a huge emphasis of how thin Kit was and it didn’t really serve any purpose. It was just a little annoying and felt like it took away from the story at times. I think my biggest issue with this book was that it became very predictable of the direction the book was going to go. Two of the big plot twists, I predicted right around the 40% mark and that kind of hindered my enjoyment once they were both confirmed. Though I will say, despite predicting those plot twists, the ending still surprised me and saved the book for me.
“So I’ll say, when you get a chance run. And never look back. Or maybe just fight, like I’m not brave enough to do.”
Overall, I’m trying so hard not to say too much. I genuinely believe the best way to go into this book is to go in not knowing a lot about it. I think if I would have know more about this book than I did, I don’t think I would love it the way I do. This was a really fun read though. I went into this book expecting mystery, maybe a little romance, and that’s exactly what I got, with some added bonuses. I loved the cover, I have so many quotes highlighted, and the important side characters like Beth and Miles just have my whole heart. If the cover of this book doesn’t entice you, let me just recommend that you give it a chance because it truly deserves it.
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.