Ｓｅｒｉｅｓ： Book 1
Ｒａｔｉｎｇ： ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩
＊Ｎｏｔｅ：I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
What if everything you’ve been told is a lie?
Fifteen years ago the war demolished Arrow’s family. Lied to and betrayed, she’s driven to shatter the conspiracy concealing how her parents and thousands of others died. But to go up against the powerful government she’ll need to align herself with the strangest and most dangerous criminals in Victory City: the Specials.
They are not what they seem…
They are magic misfits and criminals, recruited and blackmailed to fill ordinary positions within the Sinistera Hotel. But for those who are greedy enough–or desperate like Arrow–there are opportunities to earn big money doing illegal magic jobs. The danger and the risks are high. Magic assassination, kidnapping, assault–there’s a good chance Arrow and the others could be killed or wish they had been. But though the Specials each have agendas of their own, they are determined to rewrite history…if they can survive that long.
✩ Arrow was a great character, although I did find her name to be a bit silly at first. She really grew on me throughout the book because of her fierce love for her grandmother, and the protectiveness over her friends.
✩ Calia was one of the crazies from the Sinistera but for some reason, I just really freaking loved her. She was prone to these violent outbursts and kinda childish but also cute.
✩ Wolfgang was probably one of my favorites because he supported Arrow throughout the book. Even if they didn’t quite agree on everything they still respected one another’s opinions. Plus his conspiracy-nut rants were always great to read (and made me laugh a few times),
❝ The enemy of her enemy was her friend, and in the Sinistera, friends were as rare as gratuities.❞
Welcome to the
Sinister Sinistera Hotel. Where you’re never quite sure what may happen. You may check in, but you may never walk out.
In all honesty, I loved this book. It had a great writing style, and even though I found some things to be a little weird they were still funny enough to keep me reading. Owens really liked putting out metaphors and similes in her work–which was great–but once in a while, I’d run into one that was just weird enough for me to stop, picture it, and then just laugh because it was ridiculous. Intentional or not, it made me laugh.
I initially picked up the book because the premise seemed interesting, but after about a third of the book, I feel like I was reading more for the characters. I fell in love with a couple of them because they were all quirky in their own way.
Owens also did a fantastic job (thank you so much) of building up the world and its history bit by bit rather than just dumping piles of information on you as other authors tend to do. Seriously, that’s one of the things that annoys me the most in books, so I was super happy that didn’t happen here. It did, however, take me a little to get used to all the acronyms for the different magic users. One of the things about the world building that I liked the most was the detail that was put into considering the different specialties and jobs each magic user would likely go into. I liked being able to think about how these powers could be applied practically.
The story is told mainly from Arrow’s point of view (with a few others here and there), and when it starts off she’s in a pretty difficult situation. She’s running out of time (and money) to take care of her grandmother, a woman who fought in the Drowning War against demons and whose mind is deteriorating.
❝ I was nothing but a girl powered by conspiracies and mistrust, locked in a small, paranoid world.❞
Arrow only trusts a handful of people, and the government is not one of them. She feels like they’re lying and hiding things about the war. She especially doesn’t trust them because of the program they put her grandmother in after the war, a program which has fractured her grandmother’s mind. I liked her because of her resourceful and creative she could be when it came to using her powers.
I really started loving the story when Arrow began working at the Sinistera because of all the strange, creepy, and dangerous people that she ran into (both guests and employees). In a way, it gave me an American Horror Story vibe just because we had some eccentric (often violent) characters looming about.
It was also a really quick read. I read this in pretty much a day. Everything went by kinda quick because I was so pulled into the story. While some things were admittedly predictable, I still enjoyed the journey. I actually bought the second book and will definitely be reviewing it in the near future because I can’t wait to get back to this well-crafted world.
*A/N: I changed up my review format just a bit so I hope you all enjoy it!