by Jen Castleberry
Publisher: The Parliament House
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Fifteen years have passed since a Fire Scale scorched Cayda’s village. Fifteen years of beatings, of bare kitchen cupboards and sloppy swordplay. Fifteen years of biting her lip for her father’s cane while her younger sisters did the same for the grimy patrons of the village brothels. Fifteen years of staring steadfastly after beauty in an increasingly ugly world.Now, with hair shorn and breast bound, Cayda marches into the Summer Alps as Cody, a hopeful Champion seeking a dragon-slayer’s reward, with the full weight of her family’s survival on her shoulders.
But the road between poverty and prosperity is rife with beasts, betrayals, and baser temptations. Sensible Cayda soon discovers that she is not the only Champion with her eye on the prize, or the only one wearing a disguise.
With monsters, gods, and royalty hot on her heels, Cayda must ask herself if victory is worth sacrificing her identity for – or her life.
A Wild and Unremarkable Thing pits girl against dragon in a stunning blend of Greek mythology and medieval lore. Readers will not quickly forget the diverse cast or the thrilling, sexy ride!
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A Wild and Unremarkable Thing had a very interesting premise that blended fantasy aspects like dragons, with Greek mythology and medieval lore. I love history and mythology, so this book immediately called to me. Unfortunately, it didn’t entirely live up to my expectations for it although I did still enjoy my read. I believe that the biggest reason why it stumbled for me is how short the book is. At 238 pages, the author did not have enough time to adequately flesh out the plotline and characters leaving the story feeling rushed and the supporting characters unexplored.
The book is written through alternating points of view, which was a nice way to delve deeper into the character’s psyche despite the short text. The main character is Cody, a girl who was born Cayda but has been forced by her father to train and lie her entire life with the hopes that she will slay a Fire Scale. She accepts the pain and commitment because the most important thing is to be able to provide for her family, especially her sisters. I wish that we had been able to get to know the sisters more so that we could form that bond with them and the book would have had more emotional weight.
The other two main characters were Penn and Wolfe. Penn was certainly the most interesting aspect of the story and I enjoyed seeing things from his perspective. Wolfe, on the other hand, was not a character that I related to or enjoyed reading. It was nice however to see things from his perspective as it offered a completely different life experience to view the hunt through.
The book also fell prey to the trope of insta-love, which I believe was also the fault of the story being so short. There was not adequate time to explore the relationship or infatuation between two characters before it seemed as if they were suddenly in love. It almost felt as if chapters of the story were missing because the development of bonds between characters or the plot would jump forward without sufficient explanation. The ending of the book felt incredibly rushed and I wish that it had been given the longer, more detailed conclusion that it deserved.
As a casual reader, I found that I enjoyed the overall story and the weaving of Greek mythology into the plot. Unfortunately, critically there were a number of different aspects that detracted from my enjoyment of the book or drew me out of the story. Despite that, I felt that the author’s writing was well done and hope that she can bring more detail to her books in the future.