Book Review: Don’t Blame the Reckless

Title: Don’t Blame the Reckless

Author: Maddyson Wilson

Pub. Date: July 12, 2021

Pages: 256

Pub: Zenith Publishing

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

I don’t regret it.
Not a single second.
Not a single kill.

To the people of Kadjar, Ember is the Bloodhound of the East Sector, a champion for the poor, and an enemy of the rich. She excels at making dangerous enemies, the type that leads to kneeling on a balcony in front of hundreds of people, ready to be publicly executed. To the queen, Ember may be her nation’s only hope. Forced by the hands of fate and a ruthless king, the empress is forced to open her eyes and see: Ember Levin is Kadjar’s last hope.

Contrary to what you may think, I don’t want to die.
My little brother needs me.
My nation needs me.

A king should never be trusted, especially when that king is your father. Prince Roman is trying to his best just to survive. With the king breathing down his neck, one wrong move means Roman will never have the freedom or the power to save his country and his heart. But he can’t be the perfect prince his father wants him to be. He has his own secrets, and they just might get him killed.

After a trade war decimated the alliance between Kadjar and Angeles, two strangers from both nations are seeking change. The Kadjarian assassin given a second chance at life is forced to make the journey from her home to Angeles. She comes face-to-face with the Angelesan prince who is troubled by his own demons. These two slowly begin to realize that while they may rule their own worlds, no one can defy the powers that be and make it out alive. A death brings them together, but will death also tear them apart?

This will be a mini spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley and Zenith Publishing for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Based on the synopsis, I expected to really enjoy this book.

Based on how it started and the first couple of chapters, I was pleasantly surprised and still expecting to enjoy this book.

I don’t quite know or understand what happened, but this book was hard to follow. The characters gave me whiplash with how often they changed their convictions, their moral compasses, their feelings…

And it wasn’t like a character growth thing – it just felt like either the author didn’t really understand who her characters were supposed to be, or she was just trying to make them into people they’re not.

I’m not even going to dive into the unbelievable relationships in this book. I don’t mean shocking; I just mean that I don’t believe in any of the relationships. There was practically no build up, no emotional weights and it felt like we were just supposed to accept these apparently burning feelings between characters.

I also have no idea what the world actually looks like. I had no idea, based on the cover and the synopsis, that this book wasn’t some high fantasy, but more of a SF dystopian. Which, I’m not knocking, but I was expecting a different genre. It also didn’t really feel unique – but more of a conglomeration of Divergent, The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, etc. The only reason that I could even remotely envision this world, because I’d read and watched these franchises. I mean, it’s kind of your run of the mill post-apocalyptic, dystopian landscape, with a dash of fantasy in the form of Kings and Empresses.

And while I enjoyed the writing at the beginning, it quickly became annoyingly stiff and formal.

As for the plot – so much happened, and I couldn’t keep track of it all. Nothing seemed to cohesively mesh, plot elements were just left dangling, and weird unexplained time jumps happened and I was left utterly confused and lost.

I feel like this book had the potential to be really good, and the premise is – I just think it needs some more editing and maybe a couple thousand more words to flesh out the characters and the world.

I’m disappointed, but what can you do.

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