Release Date: 9/9/14
Raised by an old fortune-teller within the dark veil of the Bavarian Black Forest, Rune has learned two valuable lessons: only take from the forest that which you can use, and never, never look anyone in the eye in the village. For something terrible happened in the forest long ago... and now, the whispers of a long-dead mother with a vengeful secret have come haunting.
Forced to flee all she has ever known, Rune soon learns of a legacy she is bound to--one that is drenched in fear, witchcraft and murder--a birthright that stretches beyond the grave to the trees where Rune is no longer safe.
My thoughts on the book:
As a person who loves historical fiction, I was really excited to get my hands on a book that was set in the 1600s in Germany. I don't know a lot of German history (other than WWI, the Holocaust, and WWII), and I wanted to see what life had been like back then. This book did not give me a good idea of that. The world-building was a bit lacking, with both the setting and the magic. The characters also didn't feel "real" to me. This was an interesting concept, but it fell flat in many areas.
I don't feel like Murgia did a ton of research into Germany during this time period. She described the forest in exquisite detail, and I could picture it clearly. However, when it came to the architecture, her descriptions were a bit sparse. I couldn't picture the houses or castles as they were. Instead I ended up picturing Irish and British architecture because I'm more familiar with it. I did feel like I was in the past, but I just didn't get the feel of Germany in this book. Sure, Murgia threw in a few random German words, but that didn't do enough to convince me. I actually really hate when authors do that. If this takes place in Germany, I would assume that everything was "translated" for the reader, since in that time period Germans only spoke German, as far as I know; rendering the random words in German useless. All that did was pull me out of the story. Other than that, the writing itself was okay. The plot was interesting, but some things felt too convenient. The plot twist at the end made a little bit of sense, but the way Rune's mother's ghost changed was unrealistic.
The characters weren't extremely well-developed. Rune was really hard to relate to, and no one's actions made sense. Everyone was super secretive and almost random at times. In order to get into a story, I need to know the characters' motivations, or I just don't really care what happens to them. A lot of stuff that the characters did was just strange. I also don't feel like I got to know any of them. Even Laurentz, who was supposed to be swoon-worthy, I'm sure, wasn't memorable.
Overall, this book was just okay. I didn't hate it. The plot was intriguing enough that I read the entire thing, but this is definitely a forgettable read.
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