Saturday, 30 June 2012

Review: Her Sweetest Downfall (Forever Girl Journals, Ophelia) by Rebecca Hamilton

Her Sweetest Downfall by Rebecca Hamilton

Author: Rebecca Hamilton
Expected Publication Date: July 2012
Publisher: Immortal Ink Publishing
Pages: 128
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Occult
Source: ARC Received from Author for review (Thank you!)

Book Description from Goodreads:
Ophelia’s been successful at hiding her true identity, until the mark of the serpent appears on her neck - a death sentence, should it be seen by anyone in her town. Hiding the mark might save her from falling victim to the witch hunts of her era, but the scorching sensation it carries can’t be ignored.
When mysterious Ethan is sent to collect her for a life of something more, she learns concealing the mark is the least of her concerns. She’s destined to do a new task - to join a dark, supernatural world and protect the future of people she may never meet.

The task that Sophia Parsons (from the first book The Forever Girl) is destined to fulfill has been hundreds of years in the making, with pieces of the puzzles strategically placed for their turn in Sophia’s journey.

We’re first introduced to Ophelia nearing the end of The Forever Girl, as she plays an instrumental role in Sophia’s escape. Now in the novella Her Sweetest Downfall we travel back in time to see a glimpse into the inner workings of this intricate story.

I love these covers oh so much! This one especially with the dramatic ice blue eyes that are so startling, and reflect perfectly on the character of Ophelia.

Ophelia came into The Forever Girl at a very tense moment, where I was definitely more concerned about the main characters and how they were going to get out of that situation than who this random helpful stranger was. In my rush, I didn’t really give her a second thought. In Her Sweetest Downfall we get to see who she was before, and how she ended up in such an important moment later on.

But here’s the trouble with novella’s, they’re usually a short quick information filler to tide over fan’s while waiting for the next full length novel. As such, it’s difficult to develop characters and relationships to a fully engaging level.

With the character of Ophelia, while she’s admirable in her determination and passion in dangerous witch hunting times, her character kind of fell flat for me. I just felt like she was going through fated motions (and in a way she really was), and I didn’t feel as interested in her as I wanted to be.

The character of Ethan was intriguing, he had a straight forward goal from the get-go. He's got this incredible devotion to his duty, but it gets a bit muddled when he meets Ophelia and it was enthralling to see him struggle between his responsibilities and love.

Ophelia and Ethan’s romance is a bit iffy in that it was like Stockholm syndrome on steroids. It felt like their entire romance was based on just getting to the physical aspect of it all because that’s how their relationship developed - on looks. But while going through some very difficult situations together, I could see that they were growing closer together, and Hamilton manages to tie their romance up in a very neat sensual bow.

However, the secondary characters take the cake. I loved seeing Lenore again! She’s primal and fierce - you’re never really sure of what she’s going to do. For the briefest moments when we’re introduced to the Queen, she’s definitely a character that stood out firmly in my mind, and the tidbits of crucial information revealed about her left me more curious about her story than any other character so far.

Hamilton doesn’t disappoint in her writing style, if anything she’s managed to hone it. She crafts amazing lilts to character voices, and fluidly rich descriptions of surroundings and action sequences. Having read The Forever Girl, I knew where this was ultimately headed, but I still enjoyed watching this path unfold with self discovery, forbidden love and tense decisions that can alter the course of the future.

Her Sweetest Downfall acts as a “sequel-prequel” book. You can read it before The Forever Girl because Hamilton does rehash the elemental creature mythology. But there’s subtle moments where characters are revealed and the major plot, I feel cannot be fully appreciated without reading The Forever Girl first.

Overall: 3/5 Cups of Drinkable Tea.
It’s a quick light read, and serves its purpose by opening up more backstory for The Forever Girl, but with it’s 128 page length, it was hard to really feel fully enveloped by the story. 

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