Hello Bookworms, I bet you have a few questions for me, the first being, did you sell your soul to get your hands on this book?
The answer starts on a rainy night when I went searching for a crossroads to bury my witches box at and summon a lesser demon to provide me with a copy of this book. Or, more likely, a copy arrived at my work and they let me read it early.
Life is great.
So, without spoiling things, what is this about?
Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.
This is about Alex, a twenty-year-old woman who has really been through hell in her past life, we follow her as she starts to look after the eight houses of the veil, and as murders begin. This is definitely a mystery Esque low fantasy with darker themes.
The first thing I want to mention as loudly as I can is THERE IS A NEED FOR A TRIGGER WARNING. There is a pretty descriptive scene of sexual abuse and even for me, it was a little too uncomfortable. I think if you’re uncomfortable with the topic, you might need to be careful. From my memory, it’s before the 200-page mark but it does get mentioned a few times in passing after that.
Besides that one negative point, this is a slow-going, well-written mystery that you have to really pay attention to. There are three different timelines and multiple things that Alex is trying to figure in each one which makes things sometimes hard to keep up with.
But in all honesty, those are the only negatives I have for this book. The characters were vibrant and interesting, all of them were different, unique and life-like. I had my favorite character, Dawes, and others that I despised. It was interesting to see them grow and see where they were at the end of the novel.
I feel like the magic system was only vaguely explained and I’d really like more info on it in the next book (because, yes for those of you who don’t know, there is DEFINITELY a sequel) but I loved what we were shown as it felt realistic, and it merged beautifully with the setting.
And god, don’t get me started on the setting, This reminds me of how people explain feeling after reading THE SECRET HISTORY, wanting to go to Harvard, wear tweed jackets and talk about the stars in the middle of the night. It’s like this untouchable era vibe and I ADORED it.
SO, If you like the writing style of Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom, you like a dark mystery and characters who aren’t the golden child, I think you’ll really love this.
Catch me laughing at all of you when you read this and hit the plot twist, I can’t wait to see everyone’s reactions.