51 points/100 (2.75 stars/5)
Complete trilogy with 3 books.
Genres: urban fantasy, young adult

Cassel Sharpe killed his best friend when he was 14. Now he is being plagued by dreams that suggest he didn’t, and that he is the only one that can undo what has been done. But, that is impossible, right? See, workers can do all sorts of things: mess with memories, change your emotions… even transform one thing to another. And Cassel isn’t one of them. Plus, the rest of the population is (rightly) terrified of the workers, and have in the past even gone so far as imprisoning all of them. 

I wanted more and I didn’t really get it. The world is pretty interesting on the surface. The character is okay. The plots..kind of boring, silly and predictable.

The narration of the first book is just off. I have no idea what it is that is so wrong, but it is wrong. I don’t have the problem in the second and third books that I have with the first. It reads very slowly and kind of clunky. I took longer to read this than I expected to simply because it didn’t want to be read with any sort of flow, no matter how much I tried.

The main character is kind of boring. I wanted something more out of a guy that grew up in basically a crime family who is mostly on his own. Instead, he is basically used as a chess piece by everyone important. Actually, the only person who doesn’t use him that way (yet, at least) is the mob boss! And he always just goes along with it. He spends so much time in his own head he ends up making bad decisions or non decisions because of it.

Things are always kept from Cassel. All the time. Even the most important things. And, he is left to either figure them out before they blow up in his face or to just go along with it. He is too contrary a person to ever go along with anything, you’d think everyone would have figured that out by no, especially his family. This is such a big pet peeve of mine, when characters are kept in the dark. It isn’t even because of his own good, it is because of pure selfishness and greed.

The romance is kind of icky. I kind of hate that this kind of romance is being used in young adult as something to be admired. It is one where they hurt each other, try and bully each other, and where they have done actual harm to one another. It is one that skims very close to the line of rape because of the mother’s actions. It is just not something I wish teenager would look towards and go “oh my gosh that is soo romantic!”. I wish the outcome would have been better.

The family is kind of interesting but ends up being a bit of a dud. I actually like the narcissistic mom. Even the asshole brother. They’re pretty realistic, especially once you get the backstories on how they grew up. The puppydog brother was always kind of not interesting to me. They just were never really used well in the series. I wanted more out of the mom than that act we got in book three. The puppydog continuing with his plans at the end was equally poorly done. I wanted to like the family, I just didn’t by the end.

The plot..the plot is what turns me away from this series the most. The first book was incredibly predictable. The second book made me roll my eyes a lot. The third was actually better, but by then it was a bit too late. The fed plotline is absolutely ridiculous. That could never, ever happen, even in this made up world. I refuse to believe anything like that could possibly happen the way it does here. The most interesting part is the politics at play, but only on the surface.

The worldbuilding… I have so many questions, none of which are answered. None of which I thought were going to be answered because there were too many holes left in the plot. This is actually an incredibly political series, for a young adult story. Pretty much all the worldbuilding is centered on the politics of the world, most of which happened in the not-so-distant past. It is interesting to read a story about how everyone who has magic is absolutely reviled and treated as a criminal. It was just kind of..paper thin.

I got through the series with a bit a difficulty. This wasn’t the story for me. I’m sure for others, the things that turned me off the most they’ll be cool with. I’m sure for others, the romance actually isn’t creepy. I just.. didn’t care for this.

Check this out if:

* you want a world where magic workers are treated as criminals and with revulsion

* you want a family of criminals

* you like it when a main character never has a way to escape their hardships

Don’t bother if:

* creepy romances creep you out

* you have difficulty liking young adult on the best of days

* you hate when main characters are left in the dark

* you’re already so fed up with real life politics that you just can’t with fake life politics