Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Book Review: The Season of Lightning by Kate Avery Ellison

The Season of Lightning by Kate Avery Ellison
Publication date: February 20th 2015
Format: eARC
Emma meets Robin Hood in this antebellum-esque historical fantasy set in the same fantasy world as A Gift of Poison.

Verity Elysius is the only daughter of a famous retired general and rich plantation owner. She lives in an insulated world of wealth and privilege, where she spends her time riding her horse, sassing her lady’s companion, and being tormented by the family’s handsome but irritating nobleman friend, Lord Roth. But when a mysterious, masked vigilante called the Hawk begins stirring up trouble and freeing silvras, the oppressed lower class, Verity’s world is turned upside down as she is challenged about everything she knows about her world and her place in it.
Big thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for letting me have an eBook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! :D

This book is about a young woman named Verity. She recently returned from her travels (what she was doing beforehand, I'm not quite sure) and returns home with her friend and silva named Trilly. Life seemed to be moving as usual until, suddenly, fires randomly pop up during the night and silvas escape from other plantations during the event. But she finds that they were set intentionally... and the person who creates them has started leaving a calling card of sorts: one feather by a masked person known as the Hawk. But... why?

This is probably the part where I should admit that this is the first book I've ever read by Miss Ellison. Since this is set in the same world as A Gift of Poison, I feel like I should mention this since I may or may not be missing some necessary information about this book. Hopefully this won't be the case.

I feel like this story kind of came out as a sort of 'spoiled girl feels bad for people who are treated as lesser beings' sort of deal. That's the best way I can think of putting it. Through the half of the book, though, once she realized how silvas are treated (which is just a fancy way of saying they're slaves) she starts feeling incredibly bad for how they're treated. Which, yeah, I guess acknowledging the issue is a good first step. One of the biggest issues I had, though, was how she went about trying to solve it.

Trying to hand poor people money when you, yourself, are in a position of privilege to be able to just give money away... it won't work. Even if you truly, honestly, mean well. Especially if it's done in public view. It's just seen as insulting and as a slap in the face. This could have been a sort of stepping stone to allow Verity to learn from her mistakes and discover how she could improve herself when it comes to wanting to help silvas. This was one of the main reasons why I decided to keep on reading this book - but it never came. 

In the end, she still clung on to her privilege as being a proper woman. Even when she's been given the experience, after she's been kidnapped, to feel how legit labor feels like... she may have changed as a person a little bit but she still acts like a proper woman.

Speaking of... I'm not quite sure how Verity wanted to portray herself to others. Part of her is headstrong and is more than happy to speak her mind. This isn't a bad thing. I loved this. The thing is, though, as soon as she finds herself in a tricky position she reverts back to a more proper language. I feel like that when she feels trapped, in a sense, she hides behind her wealth. So even though she feels bad for silvas and how they're treated... she still hides behind that mask. 

The other half of the book I'm not quite sure what exactly happened. There's a war but... with who? The Silvas? I don't know. When it started, it was when Verity was forced to leave her home. There was a section where it was all just letters from her and her recipients. The fact that she remained behind her wealth bothered me so much despite simultaneously coming off as an incredibly smart girl.

Other than that, though, this was a fairly enjoyable read. It's not a unique concept. I would only consider it an 'okay' read. I just wish Verity could have learned a bit about her position in the world and use it to help others rather than just hiding.

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