First Lines: “This is going to be a total disaster. You know that, right?” There are times when having a boyfriend who can tell the future is great. And then there are times like this.
I cannot turn down a Rachel Hawkins novel to save my life. I can always count of them to be funny and have a lot of heart. And the first book in this was particularly up my alley. I hoped this would live up to my expectations.
*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*
Life is about as normal as it’s every going to get anymore for Harper Price. The dust has settled from the attack on Cotillion and the Ephors have been conspicuously silent. And Harper’s bestie Bee has been returned after her long disappearance. Now Harper can focus on being normal again: going to school, canoodling with her boyfie David, and spending time with her friends. If only that would last. The Ephors have decided that they’d rather train David than kill him (which, you know, Harper’s on board with). The catch is that Harper must take part in the training…and she can’t remain as David’s Paladin if she doesn’t pass a trial of her own, a trial that will either kill her or link her to David forever.
First of all, I love how Hawkins builds Harper’s character. Love it. Harper is a character who was made to break stereotypes. She’s a total Southern belle and perfectionist as she is class president, Cotillion participant, and pageant material. She’s all manners and charm, especially to those she doesn’t like. But on the flip side, she’s this solid strength, courage, and fighting skills. She’s the furthest thing from fragile she could possibly be. And it’s such an amazing juxtaposition. It creates so much of the tension and humor in the story.
The other characters were great as well, though the upped tension means that everyone is a bit more subdued than they were in the last book. But still. What’s not to love about David, the powerful nerd who can charm Harper into a good mood with a smile? He’s cute.
But…the ending wasn’t quite what I was hoping. I don’t want to say it was anti-climatic because that’s not it, but it was…unexpected. Like I totally felt the book was building up to one ending and suddenly it completely shifts gears. So all that anticipation I’d built up was just…useless. It was more like, “Oh. Uh, sure, I guess this will work.”
I think part of this feeling also comes from the fact that this book is shorter than Rebel Belle and there are fewer main characters. So the story was more intense in places and then when that intensity just dissipated instead of crescendoing, I was a hint disappointed.
OH. And there had better be another book in this series. Because if that was the ending, I am going to pull a Harper on this and turn on some passive-aggressive Southern charm. That ending is ok if there’s another book coming, not ok if it’s an actual end.
Still funny and exciting, but it didn’t quite go the way I was hoping or expecting.