A Wild And Unremarkable Thing is the perfect mix of emotions, actions and a spellbound story.
This fantasy follows a young girl, named Cayda, who has forever been forced by her father to disguise herself as a boy, Cody. If that doesn’t interest you already, I don’t know what would? Fifteen years ago, when The Emerging—a day when the Fire Scale is killed and a Champion, the slaughterer, is rewarded—had bought Cody’s town, Ithil, to ashes and left her family to the hellhole of poverty and unhappiness, her father had decided that she would slay a Firs Scale. So she kept walking on the path he had engraved for her.
The story called to me within the first few pages itself, when Cody recalls her preparation for the past fifteen years; how her father chopped off her hair or how he lashed her for a single tear that would roll down her eye. It all felt real to me and I understood one thing for sure: it’s always the gender norms that makes boys hold back their emotions, especially tears. Anyway, the novella opens with a strong scene and hooks me right away.
The characters are well thought of, developed and best of all, diverse. Nobody is the same, they all have their own personalities and while the POV changes after every few paragraphs (with a heading at the top spelling out the character), there isn’t any confusion that comes along with it. While Wolfe loves books and considers himself smart enough because of all the reading he does, Fares is a crown prince and loves everything that’s easy.
Penn and Cody’s relationship has got me rooting for them and I loved their scenes the most. They aren’t a cliche and don’t take every conversation or interaction toward a romantic possibility, which is why I enjoyed it so much. They would sit and talk, though the character would mention how much they’re liking the other one, they didn’t go all cheesy about it. Basically, Penn wasn’t just the love interest, he had his own role to play.
Which brings me to another one of the strong points: Cody remains the main character in this book throughout. She knows what she’s getting into, she is focused and prepared; and while she appreciates Penn’s presence, she doesn’t always seek him and that appealed to me. I love strong females, not just for the action but mentally too, and The Wild And Unremarkable Thing gave me one.
In addition, the Greek mythology hints in the story is fascinating and it’s hard to applaud it without giving away spoilers so let’s just stick with it being another pleasant surprise to me. Plus, there isn’t any drama. There isn’t unnecessary world-building or long paragraphs about feelings—a major reason would be because it’s a novella—and everything is sewn together in a simple yet efficient manner. Nothing remains left out but not everything is forced in the readers’ simultaneously.
Moving on to the ending. It was amazing and gave enough closure for the story but maybe the pacing could’ve been a bit better. Suddenly, there were short paragraphs and mere retelling of what occurred. I definitely understand how reading a novella can limit to the details offered, but at least the scene where Cody comes back to Ithil could’ve been more heart warming or heart wrenching. Anyway, that’s absolutely a personal preference and I wouldn’t suggest anybody to think of this as a major problem in this story.
Overall, I loved this fantasy! I’d mentioned in the TBR post about how high my expectations from this book were and am happy to not have been disappointed. I recommend this to those looking for an epic fantasy read with diverse characters and a quick story that would remain with you for a while.
Also reviewed on Goodreads.
I received a digital ARC of this book by the author herself in exchange of an honest review but that in no way influences my rating or opinion. Thank you Jen Castleberry!
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