2.5 - 3 stars
I received this book from Netgalley in return for a fair, honest review.
This book starts out as a fairy tale... turns into a fairy tale gone wrong... then morphs into sci-fi and fantas... and then, somehow, seems to try to come back around to the fairy tale. It's a tough book to categorize, and even tougher (for me) to review.
There are definitely aspects of this story that I really liked. And times when I was sucked into what was happening. But, unfortunately, there were too many times when I was simply lost, confused, or not sure that I cared.
The bottom line for this story seems to hinge on revenge and freedom. But because of the way that the author tells the story by only divulging the details a little at a time, it's tough to understand WHY the characters act as they do, especially Ellie. The reader needs a lot of imagination to fill in the blanks. And that doesn't always work.
IMO, the author needs to work on his "world building". He needs to sharpen the focus on the Market and the characters - make us see and feel it. Don't just tell it. (Or often, he doesn't tell us anything at all and just leaves us wondering.) I realize that the magic of the Market needs to come in stages and not all in the First Market. But more hints and clues as to what the Market is, who is attending, and why would be helpful with each new market.
The latter parts of the book with the sci-fi/fantasy were better and more engaging than the beginning.