by Markelle Grabo2 out of 5
The beginning of an incredible journey...
At fifteen, Ramsey Wilder spends every day receiving numerous taunts and insults from those around her because of her strange, exotic looks. With her pale skin and striking features – not to mention the pointy ears – she struggles with self-confidence, often feeling out of place in her small home town of Wisconsin.
One night, Ramsey nearly drowns from what she can only describe as a magical encounter, and when she meets a beautiful pair of siblings who happen to have the same physical features as she, Ramsey learns that she is far more different than she once realized. She is an elf.
Whisked away to a magical Realm with unique beings like her, Ramsey finds herself placed with the duty of finding her long lost sister. Kidnapped by fairies in the middle of a dangerous war between fae and the elf kind, her sister is the key to a secret surrounding Ramsey’s past that could potentially affect the outcome of the war. Without her, Ramsey will never know why her parents sent her to live with the humans in the first place, or why threats far deadlier than the war itself seem to be waiting in the wings.
Dangers lie waiting for Ramsey wherever she goes, and as she delves deeper into the world of fantasy, she learns that magic isn’t always wondrous and beautiful; it can be cruel and wicked.
Surrounded by mystery, magic…and even a little romance, Ramsey sets out to save her sister, unveil her past, and discover herself.
Ramsey has spent her whole life feeling like an outsider; she suddenly realises why when a girl who looks a lot like her, takes her to the Elf Realm, where she discovers her true family and true identity.
I recently signed up for a read and review of The Spell Master (Journey Into The Realm #2), so I figured I best buy and catch up on Ramsey's story thus far. To be very honest, I wish I hadn't. These books were very long-winded, and as I wasn't as enthralled by them as many other reviewers, it was a lot to get through in a relatively short time.
Ok, possibly one of the main reasons that I did not like this book is because I did not like Ramsey. And as this story is from her perspective, there's no getting away from her.
She is the most selfish, attention-seeking little hermit I've come across. She's constantly being bullied at school for her pointy ears, perfect and pale complexion, and bone-straight silvery-blonde hair. Her figure is tall and graceful (although she has the token clumsy gene). Despite swearing that she's a reclusive freak, Ramsey is constantly being described in a way that you know she's beautiful.
Ok, yes, I realise that girls can bully pretty girls they find a threat. But seldom does the bullied party ever feel pretty.
Then Addison comes along, reveals that Ramsey is an elf, given to be raised by humans when she was a baby because of The Secret. Addison needs Ramsey to come home because her real sister, Zora, has been kidnapped and only Ramsey can find her. Then Ramsey, despite saying how heartbroken she is over the whole situation, abandons her human family, follows Addison into another world, then doesn't give them another thought.
Cue the elf realm. Ramsey spends her time with Addison's family, flirting with the swoon-worthy Stellan, and generally being introduced to elf life. When she is away from these strangers that treat her with such reverence, she is exploring her family's old house. She is checking out her sister's wardrobe and getting an idea of what Zora is like by reading a how-to-be-an-elf guide Zora wrote and left especially for her. Oh, it turns out that her family is also really really rich. And the town is super-friendly, and all these cute elf guys work in shops, and such nice jewelry and books for her to peruse at her leisure - where's the urgency? Ramsey's sister has been kidnapped by violent elemental fairies? She could be getting tortured as we speak?!
Likewise, I was appalled with Addison and Stellan - they were both close to Zora in their own way. Why aren't they doing something? Why aren't they pushing this so-called saviour to go and actually save her sister?
It's not just the content that keeps things slow - the writing is... correct in terms of grammar and spelling and all that; but there is so much exposition and description of the mundane. It hits pause so many times to analyse and assess one particular point or another. It's almost like Grabo is scared someone's going to come along and start pointing out plotholes with a neon finger, so she completely overdoes tying up every last little loose end.
I find it very frustrating when someone creates a world and then has to show you every last inch of it, you have to trust readers to understand the world before them.
So why 2 stars, instead of 1? Ok, I'll admit that the world Grabo has created is very imaginative, and caught my interest.