Cover Image: Fortuna Sworn

Fortuna Sworn

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Member Reviews

this was a quick and easy romantic fantasy story. 

So, what’s this book about?
This book follows Fortuna, a Nightmare, who is still searching for her long lost brother. When a strange fairy appears and tells her he knows where he is she will do anything to get to her brother even if it means marrying a stranger.

My thoughts
this was fun. The romance is a very central part of the story so if that’s not your thing i wouldn’t recommend it but if you are okay with that i definitely recommend it. One of  my favorite aspects of the story was definitely fortuna herself. She’s a badass. 

this was entertaining 
fortuna is cool 
i’m happy i read this while traveling 
it was easy to digest
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I really enjoyed this book, the world building was fantastic, I’ve never met a character like Fortuna, I how different she was and how she was always just unapologetically herself. 

The book ended on a cliffhanger and I will definitely be looking out for book 2!
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Fortuna is a nightmare, literally. She’s the last known of her kind. With a single touch, she knows your fears and can trap your mind in a living nightmare.  Getting close is no problem because a nightmare appears differently to each person, depending on what they find most desirable in another person. Her brother, also a Nightmare, disappeared two years ago and she’s been searching for him ever since.  All her leads have run dry until a mysterious and powerful Faerie appears named Collith. He’s willing to lead Fortuna to her brother for a price. He wants her as his bride. Desperate times call for desperate measures. She accompanies him back to his home at the Court of Shadows where she soon realizes freeing her brother is more complicated than she thought. Survival is the name of the game in a court where distinguishing the truth from the lies is a full-time job and danger lies around every corner. Freeing her brother may just cost Fortuna her heart and her life. 

I initially picked up this book because other reviews compared it to A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas.  I’m glad I did. I was pleasantly surprised by Fortuna Sworn.  I struggled initially in the first chapter or two to really connect to the story, but was soon swept up and couldn’t put it down. I love the idea of a Nightmare as a magical character. Fear is a powerful weapon that few are immune to. It’s a double-edged sword though as she has a hard time getting close to other people because when she touches them she sees their fears.  I find much more substance in stories where gifts also have an element of a curse to them. There is light and dark in all things in life and it adds a bit of needed “reality” in a fantasy. 

Another aspect of this story I really enjoyed was Liam, the man she visits in her dreams while she sleeps. Is he imaginary, or is he real somewhere out there in the world waiting for her to find him? Guess you’ll have to read to find out.  As she becomes more entwined with 
Collith in the fairy world, her bond with Liam becomes more tenuous. It’s a very unique love triangle because Liam is so removed from her life as he is literally the man of her dreams. I look forward to seeing how that much plays out in future books which the ending certainly implies are to come.
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October Daye meets A Court of Mist and Fury in this captivating urban fantasy novel! I've read a lot of fantasy novels, but never one about Fortuna's particular bloodline (breed?) of fae. The story starts out with a bang, showing us the full extent of Fortuna's power, and continues strong from the very first page. 

Sutton definitely knows how to draw on the full range of our emotions; I laughed, I definitely cried (that was so sad!!!), and I'm dying to find out what happens in the next book!

As with any book, there was lots of loved and a couple things I didn't care for/get quite so much.

Things I loved:

- The worldbuilding and setup
- The characters - even side characters were so real! 
- The romance and "situation" - I need more!
- Super sad awful scene(s) that made me cry
- A certain character that I had LOTS of suspicions about that was confirmed at the very end!!

Things that I didn't love so much:

- Oliver???
- Damon, sort of? 
- Sometimes Fortuna was really...not very smart

I can't wait for the next book to be released! Trust me, you'll want to dive into this series head first!
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This book follows Fortuna Sworn and her journey through a danger Faerie Court! Fortuna is kidnapped by 3 men while out looking for her brother, who was presumed dead 2 years ago. After they arrive at a blackmarket a dark male gains her attention and strokes a ‘deal’ with her. What happens when he shows up at her work a day later? I really really liked the world building and how all the characters had flaws. It made it seem more realistic. This ending will definitely hit you. I’m kinda in shock right now...
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This has been one of the most enjoyable fantasy novels I've read in the last year or two, and I've read several dozen. When Fortuna (a Nightmare and perhaps the last of her kind) starts up a reluctant relationship with one of the Fae, I thought this was an unlikely pairing to be sure. But Sutton weaves a convincing and delightful tale with this curious pair. Neither Fortuna or Collith come across as very likeable at first, but there are lots of surprises in store, and a rich world full of magic and misunderstood creatures whose struggles against common foes start to bring them closer, against all reason. 

I would have liked to have known more of their history (Nightmares and the Fae) and how their magic works and how they interact with the world, but I enjoyed the story so much I can overlook it. I felt immersed in their world and thought about the characters long after I had finished the book. I really couldn't put the book down, and found excuses to pick it back up whenever I had any free time.. Recommended.
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The premise is unique. The autistic character was well written and no point became the Hollywood version. That was nice coming from someone on the spectrum. Certainly an adult with steaminess and dark moments
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This was an enjoyable book. I read it a month ago and I still remember it. The emotion of everything with her brother was there. I felt that. I enjoyed the twists and turns, even the predictable ones. The author keeps that dark fae world and brings in her own twist with Nightmares. I would recommend this book and look forward to the next one.
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Well KJ Sutton, for your first 'adult' book, you sure did kick butt! I think your imagination was very creative and it really shined through in your writing. My only complaint is that I think more time needs to be spent watering and caring for the relationship between Fotuna and Collith. I want to see it grow with more chemistry, more hard to get acts of flirting, more...more. 

I loved the story line, loved Fortuna's character, and loved loved loved the magic in it. I just wish there could have been more angst in the romance department instead of the 'I'm taking you as my mate'...'Okay, fine. If you insist.' thing.
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I had a lot of fun reading this book, it had a unique premise and delivered on that interesting premise. The characters were great and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
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WOW! I bloody adored this book.
Fortuna Sworn snuck up on me catching me completely unawares.
I really wasn't expecting to enjoy this quite as much as I actually did, mega impressed here.
My only issue with this as I didn't want it to end when it did.
It is so going to kill me to wait for book two but needs must and I will be eagerly anticipating it's release like yesterday.
So Fortuna Sworn (totally digging her kick-ass name) a nightmare is last of her kind.
Whilst out searching for her younger brother on the anniversary of his disappearance she is snatched by goblins and taken to be sold on the black market.
There she is assisted by an unknown faerie in escaping her jailors.
Striking a bargain with the mysterious Callith for his assistance in rescuing her sibling sets off a chain of events that will change Fortuna's whole life.
A set of circumstances that will take her deep into the intrigues and dangers of the Unseelie court where all have a hidden agenda and she must watch her back at every turn.
As this story unfolds the transformation that Fortuna undergoes is both brutal and merciless.
Strengthening her inner core into the pure steel she will need to go head to head with the fae courts cold cruelty and game playing.
This also had some many diversely intriguing players: characters like Laurie and Oliver.
Both adding their own unique spin on the ongoing proceedings.
Also, Collith himself is so much more than what he originally appears to be his character so much deeper and empathetic than what he outwardly portrays to others.
There is also somewhat of a slight love triangle: I say slightly as that is what in essence it is. 
I myself am not a lover of this trope and it didn't bother me one bit so if you are not a fan of this just know that it does not play a pivotal part in this book.
I also managed to read this in one sitting no breaks as I was that invested here.
This is told from Fortunas POV and though I do prefer dual this didn't bother me too much.
It would have been nice to maybe get some insight from Collith to but no biggie I was so into this I could deal with this small flaw.
This really was such a page-turner of a read and I want to read the next book like right now it is really going to be a feat of patience to wait for its release.
A new author for me here but a definite keeper for sure: I do so love it when I get surprised like this.
Highly recommend this its such a fantastic book.
I voluntary reviewed a copy of Fortuna Sworn.
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Fortuna is one of the last of the Nightmares, a type of creature who can find a persons’ greatest fears by touching them and use it to torment and even kill. She has a brother, Damon, who disappeared two years prior and since then has been set on finding him and returning him home. She meets a Faerie who knows where her brother is and makes a deal with him in order to get her brother back. Fortuna didn't realize there's a whole lot of important information that the Faerie failed to mention, but regardless once she set down to rescue her brother, she would risk everything, even her life, to have him safely returned home. 
I loved how strong of a character Fortuna was, but without being overbearing. I get really frustrated when the main characters are portrayed as strong willed and hard-headed and they fail to hold their tongues and get themselves into all kinds of trouble that could have been avoided. Fortuna was strong willed, stubborn, but knew when to shut the hell up and just silently seethe in her mind. That small detail really meant a lot to me and made her a much more realistic character, because no sane person goes around acting all tough and crazy no matter the circumstances. 
I love books with faeries and other magical creatures, and the addition of this new mythical creature, Nightmare, was really fascinating to me and I enjoyed the authors creativity. Fortuna develops her power as the book goes on and learns how to properly harness and use it to her advantage. 
Some of the characters were a little confusing, like Fortuna's brother...had no idea what his motivations were but I will not go into further detail as it would have to contain spoilers. Just know that you may also love this book but fail to understand why her brother was so spineless and stupid.
The slight romance factor was entertaining and engaging and did not get in the way of Fortuna's strong will and power. She was not a hopeless girl waiting for some man to save her. She was set on getting her brother with or without the help of the Faerie, Oliver, or Laurie, but would accept the help she could get if the chance arose. I really liked that about this book. 
Overall, great start to a series and I am pretty interested in the direction the author will take this, especially with the ending that leaves so many questions that demand and answer! 
3.5/5- Solid entertainment!
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The Fae world collides with humanity in this gripping novel about a girl who will do anything to preserve her family. Fortuna Sworn comes from a lineage of Nightmares, those creatures that inhabit people's dreams and feed on fear. After losing her mother and father to a killer in the middle of the night, Fortuna is left to pick up the fallen pieces of her world and create a new future for herself and her brother. But her brother went missing 2 years ago, and she's seen no sign of him since. Until a handsome faerie shows up at the dinner where she works, vowing to lead her to her brother in exchange for her hand in marriage. Fortuna accepts, leading her on a dark and twisted path that will test her sanity and the bonds between her and her family.
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Fortuna Sworn by K.J. Sutton, a very nice read. I really enjoyed this book, well written and it draws you in quickly and keeps you there. Fortuna is a almost a Fae, with powers that they fear she could be the last of her kind. When a powerful Sidhe helps her escape captivity she uses him to go looking for his brother but with the fae nothing is as it appears.
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Great potential but ultimately unsatisfying

I would like to thank K. J. Sutton, Once Upon a Time Books, LLC, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.


The novel bore evidence of Sutton’s intelligence and writing talent. She had some awesome lines: “God, give me patience or an untraceable handgun.” “Satan came to my christening, little boy.” (That one might need context to appreciate.) She made efforts to choose colorful verbs, use active voice, and compose unique comparisons that surprise one with their accuracy: “A burst of fury whirled through me like a hurricane, and I buried my nails into his flesh.” “If Collith was a star-filled sky, Laurie was the breeze whispering past as you gazed upward.” I could tell she was passionate about the story and the characters, and the premise is definitely intriguing…

But I was not satisfied, largely because the conflict was perpetuated by one man who stubbornly refused to explain or do something about anything. It stymied the story’s potential, the worldbuilding, and my ability to like Collith. It also left me with too many questions and unresolved issues for my liking.

You hear about plots propped up by misunderstandings that could be resolved with five minutes of frank conversation; this is similar. Five minutes—okay, maybe thirty—of honest conversation between Collith and Fortuna could have given us a completely different and less frustrating story. Where clearing up a misunderstanding can dissolve the foundation of a story, an honest conversation between Collith and Fortuna could have established one.

What do I mean? Well, instead of Collith withholding pertinent information in major d-bag fashion, forcing Fortuna to stumble around blindly and make awful, unnecessary mistakes—I got so goldarn frustrated—they could have been upfront with each other at the start, come to an understanding, albeit a grudging one, and worked together to achieve both their goals. They could have been unlikely allies who grew to understand, respect, and love one another. There were copious ways for conflict and antagonists to arise outside of their relationship; their obstinate refusal to trust one another—or at least to be frank with one another for their mutual benefit—all the way through to the end was exasperating, exhausting, and eventually felt contrived.

I wonder if Sutton intentionally employed a negative arc or failed to write a positive one. Fortuna never got a break, never had a true victory; becoming queen didn’t give her any extra clout aside from the tokens of fealty, and freeing her brother earned her his hatred. Her relationship with Collith did not improve, in fact I think he was seriously regretting taking her as a mate because she ended up doing exactly what he didn’t want to do, aka ruling by fear (and whose fault is that, blockhead?). Fortuna could feel her sanity slipping away. Hope, which was only the faintest of flickers to begin with, died and never rekindled. In a positive arc, that would be the crisis moment, which would be followed by a climax and a satisfying resolution; the MC would triumph, the situation would improve, and hope would be restored. That did not happen here. Not to say it had to end in butterflies, rainbows, and happily ever after, but something that gave Fortuna some positive emotion in the real world would have been nice. Like Damon appreciating his freedom, though he mourned the loss of Jassin, or Collith realizing he’d gone about it all wrong and deciding to sit down with her, tell her everything, and work together.

There were more things I didn’t understand, such as how mates are different from spouses—are spouses even a thing for them?—and why the fae invoke the concept of marriage when it’s made clear that they don’t actually marry. They make some promises and become able to vaguely sense one another’s mood via magic. That appears to be it. They don’t become husbands and wives, only mates; there’s no official document or tax benefits, no priest or other sacred means of blessing the union. Indeed I doubt it can be blessed, considering they’re descended from fallen angels and seem to therefore be the antithesis of blessed. So why use the terms “marry,” “marriage,” etc., when they have no relevance? It just confuses the reader.

Also, Damon. He’s a Nightmare, right? That was why Jassin was attracted to him, because Damon could feed his fear kink? So…why, then, was Damon as helpless as a human slave? Why was Fortuna kind of regarded like a Messiah, at least by Collith, because of her powers, and Damon was just completely disregarded? Maybe he wasn’t “particularly strong,” but as a Nightmare, he was still supposed to be a pretty big threat, right? I mean, Nightmares were hunted and killed to the point of near extinction because no one wanted them to exist. And he just meekly became a slave? Back before the Stockholm Syndrome took hold, how was he not able to figure out Jassin’s true fear and use it against him? I get that demonstrating how Fortuna could be caught and caged at the beginning rather validated Damon’s own enslavement, but… I don’t know, it just feels like a detail that was ignored, conveniently or otherwise.

And what did the terms “Seelie” and “Unseelie” mean? That drove me insane. I used them as search terms within the ARC but couldn’t find an explanation. Also, what was Cyrus? How did he matter? And what the heck was the deal with Oliver and the dreamworld? I was both fascinated and creeped out by that whole thing.

So the premise was intriguing but the execution of it left something to be desired. Also to be desired was a little comic relief. Regarding tone, this novel took itself very seriously, which would be fine except I’m not sure the thematic resonance was there to justify it. It was also literally serious in that there was little to no humor, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It was dark and intense and thrilling—but my personal tastes would have appreciated some levity here and there, because all that angst and fury got to be exhausting. Case in point, when Fortuna found Damon, failed to save him as easily as she thought she could, and was subsequently whipped for her efforts, it caused a physical reaction within me, which I consider a sign of excellent writing. My heart beat hard and heavy with dread and my lungs worked like I was about to start running for my life. My body was tense with frustration and impotence. I wanted to be part of the fae crowd so I could stand up and scream, “Is this seriously happening? Collith, do something!” I got to the point where she was taken back to Collith’s rooms and healed, then I slipped into a two-hour nap. At noon. I usually only nap if I’m sick. The whipping scene was intense, man.

Structurally, the prologue wasn’t necessary; the first line of the first chapter had a great hook—“They put me in a cage”—but I would have recommended backing up after that line and showing Fortuna looking for her brother on the mountain and getting caught in real time. That would have better conveyed Fortuna’s aloneness and desperation to the reader, I think; her vulnerabilities. It would also have demonstrated her motivation to find and save her brother, which propels all Fortuna’s decisions and therefore the novel, right of the bat. Instead, we go straight to the market, where we’re given the impression that Fortuna’s driven by anger and resentment for being treated like a wild animal. That, too, was important motivation for her, but not foremost.

At the market we also meet Collith and get a demonstration of Fortuna’s power. I don’t recall it ever being explained why Collith was there, though… From what I understood, he just happened to be there, happened to find her. “When I came across you at the market…” Which is way too coincidental for this story. Maybe we’ll find out later, along with why he had to have HER as a mate. It was clear Collith was attracted to Fortuna and even cared about her (if you consider reticence, lies, and edicts signs of affection), and that he was aware she was powerful and the last of the Nightmare species, but I don’t remember him explicitly explaining why he wanted her specifically. Why he thought an angry, resentful, emotionally traumatized woman would make progressive changes to the fae culture. Why she of all people would want to help the fae. Why a Nightmare, a creature whose power is to ferret out your worst fears and use them to incapacitate if not destroy you, seemed like a good candidate to rule without using fear.

And I have to say, as much as I wanted to buy that Collith was a romantic, I couldn’t. I don’t think he was “enamored with the idea of a best friend and lover tied into one,” but with a pet. Something that would be unwaveringly loyal, provide unconditional love, and obey commands without question. Having that pet be a woman he desired was just a perk. Actually, thinking on it, he had a pet in Laurie, at least by all appearances. But I imagine taking Laurie as a mate would have been complicated…or brilliantly strategic?

A couple random and largely inconsequential complaints: One, Collith was described both as cold and warm. Like, the physical sensations. “…his collarbone, where the skin was smooth and unexpectedly cold.” “A cool hand cupped my elbow…” “…he was deliciously warm.” “…I could feel the heat of him.” It probably doesn’t matter, but it confused me as I was reading and trying to understand the nuances of the species.

Two, sleep and a state of unconsciousness seemed to be used interchangeably, but they’re not the same thing. A sleeping person can be roused; an unconscious person does not respond to outside stimuli. Sleep is normal and necessary; unconsciousness is a symptom of illness or injury. That’s why unconsciousness is alarming.

Overall, this novel was fascinating yet frustrating. Sutton has a great imagination which gave her some fantastic ideas for story, but I’m afraid I didn’t fully appreciate how she chose to execute those ideas.
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Fortuna Sworn was a fantastic little read. 

Fortuna is a Nightmare on a quest to find and save her brother. Along the way she finds allies who might be enemies. Everything is so foreign and uncertain in the Unseelie court, it's difficult to tell who is on her side and who isn't. 

Was it fresh and new? Yes, and no. Set mostly in the Unseelie court of the fae, the book is full of familiar faerie tropes. That said, I've never read a book from a Nightmare's perspective. What is a Nightmare? Think: manipulates fear. Normally, I would have said a Nightmare feeds on fear, but that doesn't seem to be the direction this author takes. 

I found myself riveted by this story; I didn't want to put it down. And as it turns out, it was just the first book in a series, so I'm very excited to read the second book when it comes out. 

I particularly liked Fortuna's spunky, spitfire nature in the face of trials and the depth of character displayed by her mate and the character called Laurie. I'm eager to find out what happens next in Fortuna's saga.
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Fortuna Sworn is a magical story about a girl named Fortuna Sworn who just wants to find her brother and when an opportunity arises she does not hesitate to risk her own life. It is dark and twisting, which is to be expected when dealing with faeries. She had her limitations, but she never let that stop her. The world is unique with classic faerie lore mixed in that makes you want to get lost in it. This story will leave you begging for more in anticipation for the next book.
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The blurb for the book does a fairly decent job of describing the beginning of the story, so I won't recap it here.  Trigger Warnings: violence, gore, abuse, slavery, drug and alcohol use, mention of rape. 
Fortuna Sworn certainly has a unique take on the fantasy realm and its origins, featuring a wide variety of species. The main character belongs to a fantasy class I have never read about before which was refreshing. However, this story does largely center around faeries. I definitely think fans of ACOTAR and Sarah J.  Maas will enjoy this book and that it has the similar makings of a beloved series. It is not without its faults, but very few books are. There are more parallels to ACOTAR that I could make but not without spoiling the story.

The author does focus on worldbuilding and on this note, it does not fall flat. I found myself invested in the lives and politics of the "Unseelie Court". I struggled to feel a connection with the main character's motives though, as there was not enough time spent establishing the relationship between the main character and her brother. This was the central driving force of the novel and should have been fleshed out further. While it is possible to empathize with the loyalty Fortuna feels to her brother, not everyone feels that way simply because another person is a family member. I would have liked to know more about their relationship.

An additional point that could be positive or negative, depending on how you like your stories, is this book is more descriptive of sexual behavior than the ACOTAR series. There are a handful of scenes scattered throughout the novel. I found the wording of the scenes cringey, but I think many readers either would have no problem with it. I promise I'm not a prude, but I did actually physically cringe. There was some growling.

Fortuna Sworn has a few half-hearted attempts at diversity, via two characters specifically described as being Black and then a general sweeping statement that a huge throne room full of faeries came from all countries and cultures. Oh, and the author introduced one character wearing a hijab only to never be spoken of again. It felt like the author tried to sprinkle in diversity but did not accomplish it successfully. There were still no main characters of color and largely the faeries were stereotypically described as light skinned or fair and equated this characteristic with beauty. One character "would be considered pretty...were it not for a slightly aquiline nose". I think this is symptomatic of a larger problem within the fantasy community. Another problem is that the explicitly LGBT relationship in the book is problematic and blatantly abusive. I have complicated feelings about this.

There were a few locations and side characters that were built up lovely but then never mentioned again throughout the book (like I mentioned above). I am not sure if these loose ends will be picked up in the following book or if I will be left wondering...There just were certain things I did not understand why the author even spent time on, only to abandon shortly after. 

TL;DR: Fans of ACOTAR will probably like this, but similarly to ACOTAR, it has some issues. I still think it was worth the read and stayed up until after midnight to finish it, once the story picked up. The story had two great twists at the end, that I am still not sure how I missed that made it worth a re-read. I have a feeling that the twist won't quite hold up/make sense during a re-read though.

This book was provided from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. #netgalley #fortunasworn
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Fortuna Sworn - 2/5 Stars 

I received this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

What I liked: 

- This book had an interesting opening, one that drew me in immediately. I appreciated how gritty and dark the world was, as well as the origin story of the supernatural creatures inhabiting it. There was a lot of potential for this story and that was evident from the beginning chapters.

- I have never read about a "nightmare". I'm not sure if this supernatural species was inspired by folklore or created entirely by the author's imagination, but I love reading about magical beings I've never heard of before. 

- Oliver.

What I didn't like:

- The mating bond trope. This trope is hard to do well, and I did not enjoy Fortuna Sworn's version of it. I especially hate when two "mated" characters begin immediately referring to each other as "my mate".

- The characters. I felt no connection to any of them. They needed further development. Also, some seemed to switch personalities on a dime. Collith's character, in particular, seemed very different as the book progressed. He started off as mysterious and confident but quickly became compliant and uninvolved in the plot itself.

- The trials in the book felt anticlimactic and easy. Everything went a little too smoothly for the protagonist, and I lost all interest because of that.
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I received this book for free through Netgalley. 

So... I wanted to like this book much more than I did.  I thought the concept was interesting; unfortunately, I the execution left much to be desired.

My first issue was with the passive voice of the the book in general, but in particular the early chapters.  So much of what was going on was just Fortuna thinking this, Fortuna thinking that, Fortuna remembering this over thing that already happened... This made the pacing of the book very slow.  It's not that I'm against flashbacks, but the stylistic way the early flashbacks were handled made the pacing seem very slow.

Second issue, I thought the world building was lacking.  I know I just complained that the pacing was slow, but by "world building" I don't mean I needed a lot of long description.  I just mean... I wanted to understand and be able to envision this different world.  How hard was it supposed to be for non-humans to exist in the human world?  How much contact did non-humans have with each other?  Was everything Fortuna knew common knowledge, or due to special training from her parents?  What is the non-human community really like, do many of them also try to assimilate and live in the human world?  What's up with the two Courts?  How do the interact/not interact?  Do other species have their own thing?  Even the black market was only cursorily understand.

Third, though, even worse than the holes left in the world building were the holes left by the characters.  Everyone felt rather flat, and it was hard to care about any of them.  Many of them were introduced, then forgotten (like the cook).  

Fourth, I'm not quite sure what age group this book was intended for.  It felt like the style was "younger", but then with just some adult content just forced in.  

All in all, I think this book just needed a lot of editing.  The concept wasn't bad, the writing itself just lacked polish and refining.  This feels like a solid first draft.
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