*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
Well, this book certainly made me feel a bit better about my life! I spent so much of it thinking, “This poor woman. Oh my gosh, this poor woman! Oh no, this poor woman.” She was alone in the world, indebted to two different crime lords through no fault of her own, had an abusive ex harassing her, and she managed to get injured, attacked, mauled, and maimed in like seven different ways within a matter of days. But it really made it feel believable and make sense when she decided to graft the mutant moth wings to her body. It was an awful experience, it could’ve killed her, and mutated people were reviled by society (including by Solari herself), but it really did seem like her best option at that point.
That being said, though the story was dark and filled with violence, death, and other sorts of horrors and brutalities, both graphic and implied, it wasn’t entirely bleak, at least not for the main characters. There was a bit of romance, a bit of friendship, and a bit of hope.
I really felt for Solari, and I couldn’t help but like her. She had so much strength and so much fight in her. She kept trying so hard to survive, and she did what she had to when it came down to it, and I couldn’t blame her. She was hardened by the life she’d had to live, and she made some mistakes, but she wasn’t cold or heartless. Alcaeus was great too, in a different way. He had his own traumas and difficulties, but he was gentler, and that was just what Solari needed. She was so used to men being violent and brutal and domineering that Alcaeus was a balm and a balance.
The mutations were cool, even though they didn’t do much. Sort of ornamental. They sounded pretty and interesting though.
I would’ve liked the story to continue on a bit more. Where it ended made sense as an ending point, and things were implied, but it still felt a bit abrupt. *SPOILER* After seeing how awful this world was and how much Solari went through, it would’ve been nice to actually see things get better, rather than just the implication that life was about to improve for the main characters. *END SPOILER* And I just was enjoying the book and wouldn’t have minded it being longer.
I noticed some nice and pretty writing at times. Never overdone or flowery, just good writing with a sentence or metaphor here and there that caught my attention.
Overall, this was a dark but enjoyable story. I couldn’t help but like and root for these hardened, but not heartless, characters.
Anyone who likes dark but not entirely bleak stories, post-apoc society, characters who fight to survive despite horrible situations, action, a hint of romance, and cool mutations on humans (like scales and wings).