So this was my favourite cover design of the last couple years. Sadly, the story didn't live up to my admittedly high expectations. Wanted to quit by 1/3 of the way through and speed-read the last third. Gonna try to articulate just what didn't work for me because someone else might not have the same complaints.
Mostly, the use of language just rubbed me the wrong way. In the author notes, she talks about moving a lot, growing up overseas etc., so maybe she's using language in a way that's more appealing elsewhere? But to me, there just seemed to be a lot of awkward turns of phrases, so I couldn't stop editing it in my head...And her metaphors just annoyed me. So my sense was that this didn't get a good enough line edit/the author ignored her line edit and did a lot of idiosyncratic overwriting. But maybe that's just my take on it lol.
The fantasy world and premise wasn't bad, but it just didn't grip my attention the way it needed to. I didn't really feel the stakes - and there's some tough stuff that launches the adventure, so I should have been able to feel that emotional resonance. Nope. Left me cold. Ditto for the romance - lots of fawning descriptions of Male Love Interest's person. Seemed more icky than appealing. The main character shouldn't feel like a creeper for having a crush. Don't know what went wrong here, and again, maybe it's just me that feels that way.
Overall story was pretty low-impact. Medieval-fantasy type world you've seen before. Girl with archery skills sets out to hunt down her father's killer (who she has a crush on) while facing execution herself. Dystopian-type shenanigans occur after a long road trip which goes about how you'd expect. The final page twist is actually a relatively good one, if you care about the romance subplot, and MC is never more interesting than when she starts displaying some powers and getting a handle on those.
Dunno, I usually don't pan a book this harshly, but for a trad pubbed major YA Fantasy release, this just didn't live up to my expectations. *HOWEVER* - it is a debut, and a duology, and I'm up for the sequel on NetGalley, so I'll give this author another shot, and maybe take a look at her next book/series to see if some of the kinks get ironed out...