Author: V. J. Chambers
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Length: 180 pages
Source: Review Copy via NetGalley
Things started going wrong for Russ Knight last year.
He found out his girlfriend was cheating on him when she gave birth at the junior prom and left the baby to die in a trashcan. Russ didn't even know she was pregnant. Hell, he thought they were saving themselves for each other.
Now, locked in her padded cell, his girlfriend is screaming that she was just trying to get the faeries to give her baby back. Russ doesn't buy it. But to shut her up, Russ tries a trick the old legends say will work, and the baby starts swearing and begging to be taken back to Faerie. He's got to accept the truth: the kid he's raising is a faerie changeling.
The faeries are going to sacrifice the real baby at the Equinox if Russ can't get them to switch again. But the only person who can get the baby back is a biological parent, and Russ' girlfriend certainly can’t help. To save an innocent life, Russ will face ancient faeries with razor-like teeth, wrestle snarling skeleton dogs, and, maybe worst of all, track down every guy his girlfriend was sleeping with last year in the hopes of finding the baby's real father.
And apparently, the father could be half his senior class.
Protagonist: Russ Knight has had quite a difficult few months after finding out his girlfriend was pregnant, by someone else, at prom, after she tried to leave it to die in a garbage can. Since then he's been taking care of this kid who's not his, working, going to school where people blame him for Cindi snapping and trying to kill her baby, and really all he wants is to just make it to graduation. Then he finds out that this baby is a changeling, a faerie that was switched Cindi's real baby. Honestly, Russ was an okay narrator, but I felt like his characterization was really uneven, and there wasn't all that much development for him, a few "life lessons" here and there but since it was hard to get a good read on his character it was hard to see how or if he grew and changed as the story was told.
Romance: So I went into this book not expecting a romance whatsoever, but unfortunately there was one. Why I say it's unfortunate was both that this book really didn't need one, and the one it has is just awful. Apparently Puck isn't the kind of girl Russ would normally be into but apparently she's just so freaking beautiful that it doesn't matter. The thing is, Russ comments on her good looks when they first meet, like right after the book starts, but for most of the book things seem pretty platonic between them then out of nowhere Russ loves her and wants to be with her blah blah blah. Seriously this was one of the most forced romances I've ever read.
World-Building: So this is a fey lore novel, and it the fey part of it is done rather poorly, we barely get to see any of it and it's not explained very well. I don't know if it was the intent of the world-building or the uneven writing that did it but I just felt like there wasn't enough explanation, things felt too convenient, and it just kind of falls apart. The writing is super weird, and I felt like there were things that should have been fleshed out more and there should have been a whole lot less rambling on the part of the narrator, both in his exposition and at times when he actually spoke.
Predictability: This book was very easily predictable. I mean I didn't know everything right off the bat, but when there was foreshadowing it was pretty heavy handed leading me to realize some pretty important twists. That alone wouldn't have been much of a problem if I didn't feel like the author just kept trying to tease things I already knew and beating these twists into my head. There were plenty of times where these twists could have been revealed, times when it would make sense and I wasn't going insane waiting for it to happen, but more often than not they were dragged out and all I got was more over the top foreshadowing.
Ending: The ending to this book was pretty okay. There was a big final climax that I liked and there were some far less aggravating twists in the end. The final chapter just sort of wraps everything up, and answers most questions you'd probably have. My only problem with the ending was that everything just seemed to go a little too smoothly, everything was just a bit too convenient.
So yeah, this wasn't my favorite book. It's wasn't terrible and if the I cared more about the romance or there wasn't any romance, the foreshadowing wasn't so heavy handed, Russ wasn't such an uneven character, and the world building was cleaned up, I think this could have been a really entertaining read.