Book #1 in the Metamorphosis series
Published by Dundurn (6th October 2020)
My rating: ⭐ ⭐
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Dundurn, and the author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Actual rating of 2.5
Eli is a made thing. A witch’s tool. An assassin. She is sent into the human world by the coven that resides in the City of Eyes to hunt ghosts, so when the mark she was sent after turns out to be a human, she realises there’s something not quite right. She ends up embroiled in a plot with the help of two humans who need to reach the coven, with the promise of answers as her driving force. In a bid for the truth, Eli takes on the task of escorting two humans into the City of Eyes in order to steal the heart of the coven, but what she discovers along the way will force her to question everything that she’s ever known, about herself, the coven and the human world.
I was SO excited to read this book. That cover. That title. THAT SYNOPSIS! It just screamed a magical adventure that I wanted to fall into and be wrapped up in a little bubble while I devoured it. Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly what I got, and I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed.
I would pin this story as a young adult, coming of age fantasy. Eli is an assassin, she’s not a real being as she is made up of various things such as hawthorne and glass and granite and given life by the witch who is also known as her mother. Her job is to be the perfect killing machine in order to catch wayward ghosts that are lingering on Earth and disrupting things. The place where the coven and witches live is called the City of Eyes, because they literally see everything that is going on. There wasn’t a lot of description about the human world because, lets face it, it’s the human world and I feel like we’re all pretty well versed on what goes on here. On the flip side, I feel like there was too much obscure description about the City of Eyes. I’m gonna put it out there now, this story is filled with so much flowery metaphorical prose that at times I found I became lost and confused because I actually had no idea what was being spoken about anymore. This happened throughout the entire book. And when I felt like I was just getting the hang of it? Nope, it slipped out of my grasp. The City of Eyes sounded so intriguing because it was described as being so fantastical and fantasy and just all around crazy weird, but we don’t really get any explanation as to how the world works or what is going on in said world, so this really detracted from the story for me because I JUST WANTED TO LEARN ABOUT THIS MAGICAL INSANE WORLD!
The author’s voice, I could understand what they were going for, and I honestly appreciate what they were attempting to do, but it just fell so flat for me. Think Laini Taylor, the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, or the Strange the Dreamer duology, this is what I believe the author was going for. Whimsical prose that danced across the page, while painting a stunning picture of colour, sound and emotion that just made you fly through the story on a fluffy cloud of imagination. Instead, it ended up being a convoluted, confusing splash of every single colour of paint on a thousand different canvases that made the story incredibly difficult to follow and become engaged with. I feel so sad because I can SEE what Jerreat-Poole was trying to do with this story, but for some reason, which I can’t quite work out, it just did not translate to me – the reader – at all. I’m not sure if it was an editing problem?
The characters, Eli is an okay protagonist, but I felt like she was really easily accepting of things even though she’s meant to be a made thing that works for the coven and only the coven. She was so accepting of Cam taking her to meet some strange witch that resided in the human world, and I felt like she was sort of funneled into joining their rebellion or whatever you want to call it. It was almost like “Yes, I am a killing machine, I work for the coven I assassinate ghosts….oh okay, now I’m working for this witch who wants to steal from the people I work for, okay, we’re doing this now.” There didn’t seem to be any suspicion or questioning of what was happening and this really bugged me because Eli was meant to be this top notch, created being who was flawless, at least, that’s what I got anyway. Tav was probably the best character, they are a representation of gender fluid and I love that they were included, I do however believe that this character wasn’t explored to the greatest ability of the story or the plot and it made me question the point of having this amazing gender fluid character in the story. I feel like Tav’s story should have had a major impact on everything and I just didn’t get that at all it almost felt like the author just threw this character in to be ‘trendy’ and with the times? I’m wrong, and I know that I am, I’m just hoping that this character’s story gets expanded upon in future installments because otherwise, as said before, I feel like it was just an excuse to be able to class this book as LGBTQ+ for marketing purposes. Cam was okay, he was fairly meh for me, I don’t quite understand his point in the story to be honest. Clytemnestra was incredibly interesting, and I’d like to learn more about her. I guess I just feel like this was a lost opportunity to really delve into what life as a gender fluid person is like, this was a chance to help people understand, and it just wasn’t taken.
I just felt like I didn’t connect with any of the characters at all. We got rough backstories and stuff that was loosely connected to the reasoning behind why they were following the Hedge-Witch in the human world on her rebellion, but I just didn’t care. I felt like all of the dialogue, interactions and narrative of these characters was so cold, detached and emotionless. It was almost like “Oh no, they are drowning in the sand. Oh phew, they are now safe again. I was so worried” if you can picture that in a robotic voice devoid of any emotion at all. I don’t understand how the dialogue and actions and pretty much everything elicited absolutely no emotion from me whatsoever. It was as though these characters were going through the motions and it was just so robotic and clunky and unfeeling that it left me feeling annoyed. It’s almost as though the sentences that would have helped connect the characters to the reader were all edited out and all that was left over where the ‘doing’ sentences. Instead of “I felt my heart shatter as her fingers slid out of my grip” it was more like “My heart broke as she fell away” It just feels like there was something huge missing from it all and it made me really sad.
I wanted to badly to love this book, maybe that was my problem? It sounded right up my alley and I was pretty keen to get into it, but it just didn’t deliver for me. I feel like a different editor may make a huge difference to the story, but I could be wrong. I’m not sure whether I will continue at this point, unless the writing style and the authors voice can evolve and develop rather quickly between this book and the next, I probably won’t because I feel like I’ll just be disappointed again and be left feeling frustrated because I can understand what the author was going for, but they just did not make it.
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