I have mixed feelings about this book; on one hand it’s kinda predictable and unoriginal, and I’m not cool with the whole falling-in-love-with-the-bad-guy thing, but I really like the characters and there were some surprises so I found myself desperate to keep reading… I suppose in a way this book has become a guilty pleasure; I know I probably shouldn’t have enjoyed it but I really did.
Be prepared for some spoilers.
One plot hole: why didn’t Khalid just marry elderly women who were about to die anyway? The curse didn’t say it had to be young women…
The main thing that kept me interested in this book was the characters; Shazi isn’t your typical damsel in distress; she has attitude and strength, and she’s hilarious. I also really liked Despina; again she wasn’t a typical handmaiden, she wasn’t scared of Shazi and stood up to her. Despite there only being three women in the book (if you include Yasmine) they were all quite strong, independent women.Wow, I only realised as I wrote that there’s only three women?! Part of me wants to change my rating from three and a half to three stars now… Tariq was your typical self-entitled brat who thinks he deserves everything he wants and yawn. I didn’t mind Rahim though, or his relationship with Tariq. Khalid was interesting, but also kinda typical but the curse was something different and wasn’t what I was expecting – I was thinking maybe Khalid would die if he didn’t kill the women (because of the headaches)? My disliking of falling in love with the bad guy changed when I realised Khalid wasn’t actually a bad guy, but Shazi fell in love with him before she knew for sure that he wasn’t really a bad guy and that doesn’t really seem to fit in with her character well. Jahandar was weak and irritating. I did kinda adore Jalal though.
Hmmph, like I said; I have mixed feelings. A lot of the book was very stereotypical YA fantasy but it still managed to suck me in. I probably will read the sequel eventually, but it’s not on the top of my list.