If you’re really sensitive about spoilers, you shouldn’t read this review. I talk a bit about one specific part, and, even though it’s not really spoiling anything, I know people who think even this much information is too much, so read with caution.
It’s no shock to anyone that I fell in love with yet another Brenna Yovanoff novel. Other than being a sad bassist, falling in love with these books is my thing. And it just so happens that this book is about a sad bassist, so obviously I’m going to love it.
In the past, I haven’t really related to the characters from Brenna Yovanoff’s novels. I loved them, I empathized with them, they felt like friends, but I didn’t relate. Up until reading this book I kind of thought of her books the same way I think of Arctic Monkeys songs. They’re beautiful, I love them, they’re written in a way that I can empathize with, but they’re not about things I really relate to. Most Arctic Monkeys songs are about falling in love, and I can relate to some of them because I’ve had crushes; however, I’ve never actually been in a relationship, so it’s not always relatable to me. Brenna Yovanoff’s characters are beautifully written, and I feel like I know them, but I don’t exactly relate to most of them. In this book, I related to almost every character at some point. I probably related most to Mackie, but I also related a lot to Emma and to Tate. Out of all of the books that I’ve read by this author, I think that this one has the characters that I connected to the most.
I really like that in this book there’s just as much, if not more, focus on the platonic love between Mackie and Emma as there is on the romantic love story. So frequently young adult authors completely ignore relationships between siblings, and, instead, they focus on the romantic relationships. Sure, romantic relationships are important, but so are platonic ones, and the ones between siblings are so important!
I mentioned in my last review of a Brenna Yovanoff book that, in the two of her books that I’ve read, the love interests seem somewhat similar. The characters are weird, other people probably don’t really like them, and they may get into fights, but they’re actually very nice and probably just kind of sad. Tate fits that description pretty well. She wasn’t as similar as Finny and Marshall are, but she was close enough that it was noticeable. This isn’t a huge complaint, and honestly, all the love interests could be exactly the same, and I would still talk about how much I loved the books because the rest of the story is just so good. It just seems to be a reoccurring theme to this author’s books.
I really loved the bits with the faeries playing music. I thought it was interesting how they played music for attention (for applause, maybe), and how it kind of tied into Peter Pan and how you have to clap to show your belief in faeries. I also liked how Carlina said that playing music was just what they did, and then later one of the faeries underground said that stealing and murdering children was just what they did. It was worded in exactly the same way and it was interesting. Disturbing, but interesting. I wonder if this is a comment on people getting stuck in ruts, it’s just what we do.
I love that there are specific songs and bands mentioned, especially because I know and love a lot of them. The faerie band covered the Pixies and Pulp and Pearl Jam. Because of this book, I had “Yellow Ledbetter” stuck in my head for twenty three hours (and counting), and it was amazing. I’ve said it before, but I’m saying it again, you can learn so much about someone from the kind of music they listen to. In my opinion, it’s some of the best character development you can do. People talk about how it’s cool when books mention specific real places that the characters go to, and that’s cool, but have you ever read books where the author mentions specific bands and songs that the characters like? Because that’s seriously the best. And not only did they talk about which songs they played, they also talked about how the original singer of the song had a voice that sounded like (whatever) but the girl covering the song sounded (whatever). The only thing better than mentioning specific songs or bands is talking about those songs or bands.
While we’re on the topic of music, the book says that Mackie pulled the frets off of his bass. I don’t know how easy it would be to actually pull the frets off of a bass, and I’m definitely not going to try on mine, but I doubt it would be easy. There are fretless basses, so that could have been something he could have played? I know nothing about fretless basses since the one I play is a normal fretted bass, but I think it would be easier to have a fretless bass than to rip the frets off of one.
I just did some googling to check out what fretless basses I could find, and now I want an almost four thousand dollar, six string, fretless bass from the nineties. It’s time to get off used guitar websites.
There wasn’t a huge amount of backstory in this, but it somehow worked perfectly. Mostly, the backstory involved repeatedly going back to when Mackie was switched with the child and Emma found him. It makes sense with the rest of the story to keep going back to this, and it gives just the right amount of information so that you know the characters.
The one almost complaint that I have is that everything I’ve seen online says that this is a horror novel, but it doesn’t really feel like horror. The book has dead girls, but not dead girls in a horror way. It’s dead girls in a faerie way, if that makes sense (I’m trying to not spoil anything), and it’s not very scary. Maybe it’s just that I don’t find it scary because what I find scary isn’t stereotypical horror? I don’t know. But it seemed more like urban fantasy than horror.
Five stars really isn’t enough for this, but whatever. Five stars.