Reign and Ruin, Book 1
Synopsis: Coming home to New York in summer holidays is nothing short of torturous. Maggie’s mother is officially the worst widow ever and her wayward uncle can’t see past the heroine or the twisted pictures he paints. Lonely is normal and normal is becoming unbearable.
Plagued by nightmares and left behind to pick up the pieces of a fallen king, an opportunity to escape leads Cirrus to take a dangerous gamble; a gamble that snatches Maggie out of her uncle’s apartment and into a dangerous world of shifting sand and treacherous beauty.
Now Maggie must fight for a nation she never knew existed. But who can she trust when everything around her is melting like paint? Even more, the man she’s fighting against is at once the captor and the savior, the villain and her friend. They could be each other salvation or destruction, the choice is up to them…
Review: This was… weird. I really don’t know how I should rate this book. I mean, it wasn’t bad, but somehow I feel I didn’t quite get it.
We are meeting Maggie, a twenty-something girl, kind of rebellious, whose entire world collapses in the middle of a night, while sleeping at her uncle’s, an alcoholic junkie. She wakes up to find him dead, and then her uncle’s friend announces her that he was the Painter, creator of a world called Palet, and as his niece, she is needed in this world. Against her will, she’s taken to a world she’d never heard anything about and forced to compete in a game called ‘The March’, which will determine who’s the next leader of Palet.
What makes the weirdness of this book definitely is the world of Palet. This world has been created by Maggie’s uncle who painted his dreams to make them come to life. So Palet is based on dreams and as everyone knows, dreams don’t always have any logic. That’s something you can really feel. In some way, it reminded me of Alice in Wonderland. Well, there is more logic in The Wilds than in Lewis Caroll’s story but it has the same kind of absurdness sometimes. I don’t really know if I liked it or not. On one hand, it is consistent with the whole ‘world made of dreams’ thing and this definitely is an original idea, yet on the other hand some parts are REALLY weird and I often had to re-read them because my first reaction only was “what the hell?!?”. Therefore, it took me really long to get into the story. I think that’s only around 75% of the book that I finally managed to get what The Walk was about. So yeah, I spent the first three quarters reading something I didn’t understand. That is long. Very long.
I also had big troubles with Cirrus’ character. I just never got him. Was he a villain? One moment I thought he was one, with seconds something happened that made me change my mind and think of him as an ally. Until the next twist which made me view him as the villain again. That was really confusing, and even the parts from his point of view didn’t help. Also, I never could make up my mind on whether he’s in love with Maggie or not.
Actually, no characters in this book made a great impression on me. Even Maggie, who’s the main character, didn’t leave me that many memories. I remember thinking that she didn’t sound much involved in her own story and in The March going on but it took me extremely long to get into The March too so I can understand.
One thing that particularly annoyed me isn’t about the content but rather about the form: this book really, and I mean REALLY lacks corrections. There are spelling mistakes, sometimes missing words, and the worst: almost all apostrophes are missing (e.g. it’s is written its, I’m is written Im, etc). I will blame it on the fact that I was reading an early copy and hope these mistakes will be fixed in the final version, but still I think it is unacceptable to find this in a book, even an ARC. I mean, when you are writing a book, even the first draft, you don’t write it the same way you’d write a text message! I already had troubles getting into the story and the bad spelling didn’t help.
In short, I really didn’t think the book was bad although my review may sound quite critical. The idea is good but it is really weird, so it’s either you love it or hate it. I was unfortunately closer to the “hate” edge, even though I did enjoy my reading a bit.
I recommend this book to you if: I definitely encourage you to give it a try if the blurb sounds appealing to you. It seems that I am the first to write a review about it (at least there isn’t any on Goodreads yet), so I can’t say if my feelings of weirdness about this story are shared or not. So, do try and make your own opinion. Especially if you like Alice in Wonderland, there’s a chance you enjoy The Wilds too.