Ok, y’all, this review is going to be formatted a little different than usual for one very good reason:
This is a DNF. At 17%.
I got this book from Edelweiss as an ARC (it’s set to come out in October). It looked interesting. Time traveling assassins Charlie and Alex go back in time to King Henry VIII’s Tudor court to prevent Henry from marrying Jane Seymour. It gets more complicated when their friend and fellow assassin Alice shows up unexpectedly. Told in alternating perspectives between Charlie, Alex, and Queen Anne’s ladies’ maid Lady Margaret, we get to see both sides of history: the one who lived it and the two who want to change it.
Sounds exciting, right?
And at the beginning, it was fine. We start in Tudor England following Lady Margaret, Queen Anne Boleyn’s lady in waiting. And that was interesting, because Anne was about to start her fall from grace. It’s a very dramatic moment in history and it was lending itself well to that. Everyone more or less knew Anne’s number would soon be up.
Then the time travel/The 48 stuff really started coming in and I lost it. I lost the momentum of the story, I lost why I should care about these characters, and I love the motivation to keep going. It’s this whole secret society thing and I couldn’t quite get behind a group that appears to want to change history willy-nilly for personal gain of some kind (I didn’t quite get far enough to piece all of that together).
It just…ok, I’m used to time travel stories where the time travel is more of an accident, like Outlander. I don’t read a whole lot of time travel stories to begin with, but the whole systematic secret society aspect of it made it feel clinical and brutal. I seriously felt like they had no real motivation to be doing what they were doing. I didn’t understand why these characters would risk their lives to change history when it seemed like all they were trying to do was keep Catholicism from rising again in England. (And that was just in Charlie and Alex’s case! Who knows what the others were doing.) I got weirded out.
I simply wasn’t enjoying it. It felt like a chore to pick it up and then my mind started wandering when I did. It wasn’t worth it to continue.