I never know to say in these things. I guess that says something about me. I read a lot, write stories, and like books. I like a good debate. Nothing else is to say. :-)
I saw this book in the bookstore and the cover drew my eyes, then the blurb convinced me to give it a shot. My track record for these types of purchases if pretty good so far. I thought this was a solid read.
I saw a review for this where someone said it was "barely fantasy" And I wondered...what exactly was this persons definition of "Fantasy" because if it wasn't fantasy, what was fantasy? Perhaps it needed more elves? And a medieval setting? Who knows? I actually liked that it was a bit different from the usual pattern.
This was set in an Alternate fantasy based Portugal at the turn of the century in 1902, where there was magic and magical creatures....that is if you consider selkies, vampires and mermaid magical creatures. If not then..well...enjoy that reality...and it had a mystery, and a nice little romance. The main mystery of the book was the search to figure out the mystery of the City Below the Sea, the disappearance of servants of the city's wealthiest home that coincided with the creation of new home of this underground city..... and why this city was being created at all. And it did a good job keep you interested in that to the end.
But this book if anything I would say suffered from trying to do too much, rather than having to little of something. It was a fantasy with plenty of magic and creatures to keep you interested, and a romance, and a mystery, detective novel all rolled into one. The world created was very rich, with plenty of elements to explore for many books, and I thought the author tried to pack a bit too much into the first book at once...some of the information could have been teased a bit more. The main story line of the mystery of the City Under The Sea was more than enough to hold me, along with the underlying romantic tension between the characters. Some of the extra side stories were too much...like getting an overflowing plate. Food is great...but maybe save some of leftovers and a doggy bag.
Other than that, I thought the main story line was nicely teased and resolved. From the first chapter it was plain to see that this was going somewhere, and that there was a plan. The loose ends were all tied in the end. The dynamic between Oriana and Duilio was just the right pace for me. I like when I see characters develop gradually through the story and see their relationship change....it makes the eventual payoff at the end more believable and make you more invested in the outcome. The last chapter and Oriana's decision to leave...after all the buildup...was just the right amount of bittersweet and regretful.
I might actually pick up the next in the series since it was interesting enough to make me curious how it goes on....but...I do have like 60 books on my to be read list...so someday....maybe......sigh...
All in all...pretty good, and I'm happy with my $5 purchase.