When I first read the blurb around three years ago, I thought “Yes! This sounds like a cracking take on animal magic fantasy, I must read it!” Having taken a considerable break from the genre and being in need of some light, quick reading, it seemed the perfect time to race through a good ol’ Scholastic Point book.* So I got stuck right in, only to reach what I’m now calling The Point of Meh after four chapters. I wanted to like it, I really did, but it did nothing for me. I mean, it’s okay. Perhaps if I was twelve, and this was my first venture into the genre, it would have had a better impression on me, but I’m doubtful. The protagonist, Daine, is bland. She has it too easy. Of course, she’s unusually gifted and super powerful, but with all the personality of a scoop of instant coffee. The supporting cast is mildly interesting and pleasingly diverse (at least, that’s how I imagined them), and the forces of antagonism are suitably apocalyptic. There’s just not enough conflict, tension, or mystery to satisfy my fairly easy-to-quench thirst. All in all, disappointing.
* A couple of years ago I bought a bunch of 90s’ Point Horror, Romance, Crime, and Fantasy. My aim was to refamiliarise myself with the format, style, and concision which had made such an impression on me as a teen. For the most part, it’s been great, both rereading old favourites and discovering previously unread titles. Even though most were written over twenty years ago, they have certain qualities which are somewhat remiss in popular contemporary teen fiction.