Sunday, 8 June 2014

Review: The Girl Who Never Was by Skylar Dorset

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The Girl Who Never Was (Otherworld #1) by Skylar Dorset
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Released: June 1st 2014
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up in Boston. Sure, her father is in an insane asylum, her mother left her on his doorstep—literally—when she was a baby, and she’s being raised by two ancient aunts who spend their time hunting gnomes in their Beacon Hill townhouse. But other than that her life is totally normal! She’s got an adventurous best friend who’s always got her back and an unrequited crush on an older boy named Ben. Just like any other teenager, right?

When Selkie goes in search of the mother she’s never known, she gets more than she bargained for. It turns out that her mother is faerie royalty, which would make Selkie a faerie princess—except for the part where her father is an ogre, which makes her only half of anything. Even more confusing, there’s a prophecy that Selkie is going to destroy the tyrannical Seelie Court, which is why her mother actually wants to kill her. Selkie has been kept hidden all her life by her adoring aunts, with the help of a Salem wizard named Will. And Ben. Because the boy she thinks she’s in love with turns out to be a faerie whose enchantment has kept her alive, but also kept her in the dark about her own life.

Now, with enchantments dissolved and prophecies swinging into action, Selkie finds herself on a series of mad quests to save the people she’s always loved and a life she’s learning to love. But in a supernatural world of increasingly complex alliances and distressingly complicated deceptions, it’s so hard to know who to trust. Does her mother really wish to kill her? Would Will sacrifice her for the sake of the prophecy? And does Ben really love her or is it all an elaborate ruse? In order to survive, Selkie realizes that the key is learning—and accepting—who she really is.
(from Goodreads)

There was a lot I liked about The Girl Who Never Was, but I did have a few issues with it as well which are difficult to put into words. But overall, I enjoyed it and will probably read the next book.

The main character Selkie was fine, but I feel she lacked personality. We didn't find out much about her and her existence was very much defined by other people; her mother who wanted to kill her, her aunts who were trying to hide her, the boy who enchanted her...I can't really describe Selkie herself because the book didn't actually tell me much about her personality. All I really knew about her was that she was ridiculously loyal to Ben, who she actually didn't know that well. That being said, Selkie's story was very interesting. She was half faerie, half ogre, and a child of a prophecy with potential to bring down the Seelie court - where her mother was Queen. Her own mother was hunting her down, and it was for this reason that her whole life has been enchanted to protect her from anyone trying to harm her. This part was a little confusing; apparently Selkie telling Ben her birthdate was the first step to breaking the protective enchantment, but I did question how she'd managed to get by her whole life without mentioning it to anyone. Why did she feel seventeen was such a big, important age? However, once the enchantment was broken, things got a lot more interesting. We found out that Selkie was a powerful namer; in the faerie world, names had power and Selkie could exercise more than the average faeries. I really liked the way naming was used in this book and the way Selkie could manipulate what she was saying to change its effect, and I am definitely interested in seeing how she will use this power in the future.

Ben was a powerful faerie, the one who created the protective enchantment, and was the last faerie of his bloodline. Before Selkie broke the enchantment, he was just a boy she met at the park that she had a crush on, but after, things got a little more complex. First of all, Selkie's crush on Ben developed into "love" in no time at all for no reason, so this book was a little insta-lovey, though it wasn't that bad because there wasn't actually too much romance and there were other things the characters had to worry about. I did think Selkie going to the Seelie court to save Ben was a bit much when she barely knew anything about him, had absolutely no plan AND knew that he only got captured because he was trying to protect her, so that was a bit odd. But I did enjoy reading about the Seelie court and everything that happened there, plus after that ending, I am intrigued about what will happen next.

Kelsey was Selkie's best friend from the human world, and while I liked her, it was kind of odd the lengths she was willing to go to help Selkie, because I never got the feeling that they were that close friends. I think this may have been a writing issue, because the writing at the beginning was a little disjointed and I felt disconnected from the characters and everything that was happening (though it did get better as the book went on). We were told that Kelsey and Selkie were meant to be close but I just didn't get that feeling at all so when Kelsey was willing to do all this dangerous stuff, it was a bit weird. But then again, this could just be me! One thing I did love was the fact that all the immortal (well, I assume immortal because they were hundreds of years old) characters kept bringing up all these things that had happened in their love lives ages ago and were holding grudges and it was just kind of hilarious to see people like the wizard Will, the Threader and one of Selkie's aunts all get into an argument about who ruined whose relationship hundreds of years ago.

Overall, I did like The Girl Who Never Was despite the problems I had with it, and would recommend it, especially if you enjoy books about faeries.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I'm looking forward to this one, tho I hope the insta-love won't taint it too much for me! It sounds like a fun fantasy!

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