Ｔｉｔｌｅ：Cayleth Warding and the Scarlet One
Ｒａｔｉｎｇ：★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
＊Ｎｏｔｅ：I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Fifty-three families looking for a new beginning board a ship and sail to an uninhabited island. Happily they live for nearly two decades. Homes are built and the past is forgotten. Paradise, however, is no more after the adults suddenly vanish one night. For three years, the teens and children rule the island of Oridd. For three years, they survive. When an old woman unexpectedly appears on Oridd, all is cast into disarray as the strange and awful threaten to become commonplace. The old woman wants something, and she won’t leave until she gets it.
✩ Cayleth was really disciplined. She was always on task and protective of others. She was really serious and brave.
✩ Poins was also pretty serious but he was caring in the sense that he looked out for Cayleth. He was also protective of others and outspoken.
❝ In the beginning, the Creator performed all of His grand labors precisely as He did the first time around. Well, almost precisely…❞
Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of this book!
I think this book was a little complicated in terms of me liking it or not. I felt like the book had potential and it pulled me in for one reason, kept me going, had me asking questions, had me dying to know what was going on–and then it just switched to something else. Without spoiling anything it’s hard to explain why I felt this way, but the best way to compare it is when a book starts with this crazy stuff going in the first chapter and then halfway it turns out the main character was asleep having a dream. And then what you thought you were getting (i.e. the dream) is no longer the case and now you have this other type of book. Which maybe both the dream and reality are totally great–but when you were psyched up for one and get another it leaves you feeling kind of… disappointed?
Okay well, with that in mind let me jump into the main part of the book which I mostly enjoyed. We start off on the island on Ministry Day when children who are old enough choose their vocations (or Ministries) that they will dedicate themselves to for the rest of their lives. Here is when we get the background on the island, how it works, who is who, the history, and how the adults all disappeared one night leaving the children to take care of themselves. I think the introduction of all this information was placed correctly, but it was still a lot to take in right away. Not terrible, but just something to be prepared for.
Speaking of the history, I really enjoyed the myths/legends about these different races. This sacred island and the world of monsters. It gave the story a creepy feeling that was perfect for the arrival of the Scarlet One later on.
❝ “You stand poised to cross a line that I doubt you truly want to cross, girl, for once you find yourself on the other side, you shall be forced to walk on that side and only on that side. There will be no turning back. You’ve been duly warned.”❞
And while the information dump didn’t bother me, the number of characters did make it confusing. I tried to get names, families, and relationships straight but with the number of people mentioned it just got overwhelming for me. I honestly gave up and just focused on Cayleth and Poins since most of the story revolved around them anyways.
I enjoyed the writing in the story, especially the historical tone of it. The arrival of the Scarlet One to the island was the point the really pulled me into the story. I was ready to see how a new character would shake things up on the island that had been isolated for so long. Again, I can’t spoil too much, but when bad things (and strange) start happening on the island I was glued to every page. I wanted to know more about what was going on, how the Scarlet One connected to it all, and what she wanted. She was really creepy and strange, which I loved!
And now we’re going to talk a bit about the ending. Again, I loved everything up until the last few chapters when things were supposed to come together. I didn’t agree with the initial reasoning for why the Scarlet One had done what she’d done. It seemed really thin to me and kind of made her character seem too simplistic. When we got to the actual ending and we learned the truth of things I was really disappointed with it all. I wanted the ending to follow the fantasy/magical/paranormal theme that the rest of the book had, but instead, it took a different turn. I felt like I was so invested in getting my answers and then suddenly told I wasn’t getting them because they were the wrong questions. Then I had a completely different set of questions but it was the end of the book so I felt like I’d been robbed of the resolution.
Overall, I think this was still a fun and creepy read, but just know that there’s a twist ending that may not be in line with the rest of the book.