February 4, 2014

Title: All That Glows

Author: Ryan Graudin

Expected Publication:
February 11, 2014

Publisher: HarperTEEN

Pages: 480

Genre(s): Young Adult ♥ Fantasy ♥ Romance

Source: Edelweiss

Summary from Goodreads: Emrys—a fiery, red-headed Fae—always embraced her life in the Highlands, far from the city’s draining technology, until she’s sent to London to rejoin the Faery Guard. But this isn’t any normal assignment—she’s sent to guard Prince Richard: Britain’s notorious, partying bad boy and soon-to-be King. The prince’s careless ways and royal blood make him the irresistible for the dark spirits that feed on mortals. Sweet, disheveled, and alive with adventure—Richard is one charge who will put Emrys’s magic and heart to the test.

When an ancient force begins preying on the monarchy, Emrys must hunt through the London’s magical underworld, facing down Banshees, Black Dogs and Green Women to find the one who threatens Richard’s life. In this chaos of dark magic, palace murders and paparazzi, Emrys finds herself facing an impossible choice. For despite all her powers, Emrys has discovered a force that burns brighter than magic: love.

Average Goodreads Rating (as of 02/02/2014): 3.76

  • Christina thought this the title was okay in sections. It goes on her bottom shelf.

**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

♥ Initial Thoughts and Rating: Actual rating of 1.5 stars! I guess I caught by a pretty cover and a well-written summary again. All That Glows had all the elements of a book that I would normally love- faeries and magic, a party-boy Prince, and the mystery of a betrayal- but this one failed to capture my interest, and I think that’s mostly due to the way the plot and writing were executed. If just a few key aspects were massively reworked, I think this title could have been a lot better.

The Lowdown: Ever since the days of Camelot when a treaty was bartered between King Arthur and Queen Mab, the Faery Guard took up an oath to protect the royal bloodline from the evil soul feeders of the underworld that yearn for the magic that pours through their veins. Long passed is those days of open communication between the British monarchs and their trusted faery guardian. Instead, the Frithemaeg must keep themselves veiled and always vigilant for an attack against their charge.

Set in modern day London, Emrys (later dubbed Embers by the Prince) is pulled from roaming the Highlands and tasked to guard Prince Richard. Known for his partying ways and boozing tendencies, he draws the underworld to him like a moth to a flame, making him a prime target and a difficult charge for Emrys. But soon a darker force than the usual magical downworlder, an Old One, is out for the prince’s blood, and it’s made even more clear when the King is murdered inside the palace walls.

As if Emrys job isn’t already difficult enough with London’s technologies constantly draining her powers and an alliance formed between the Banshees and Green Women, she’s stunned to find that there could be a traitor in the Faery Guard. To complicate things further, Emrys’s veil seems to be faulty and she’s revealed herself to Prince Richard, and while the risk for Mab’s fury is a strong deterrent, she also finds herself catching feelings for him, too.

My Thoughts: Oh me, where to begin? Everything about this book was executed poorly in my opinion. First off, there was little to no world-building. We’re tossed in this world of faery guardians and royalty alliances with little backstory as to how it’s expected to be run and why the rules are in place. We’re given marginal details on the inner-workings of the Faery court and why relationships between the faery and their royal charges are considered taboo. Basically, Graudin thrusts us in this world, and we’re just supposed to follow along blindly and just take every law and decreed order that’s pulled from thin air at face value.

Then there was the whole insta-love aspect. I’m not entirely against fate and soulmates in books, and if you can sell me on the chemistry and build-up the romance a bit, then I can even learn to accept a predestined love story. However, the love between Emrys and Richard was instantaneous and I couldn’t get on board with any of it. Richard was a notorious partying playboy, constantly disappointing his father, and even in light of his father’s death, I couldn’t see him doing a complete 180 just because of Emrys. (Or his falling apart after she leaves and calling it “agony” without her after only a week of him knowing her.) Nor could I understand how after centuries of guarding royal families and watching Richard grow up that she would immediately break rules, reveal long hidden secrets, second guess everything she’s ever known as soon as she meets him. I never felt the draw between them or their supposed connection at all. It was a whole lot of telling, honestly. Oh! Don’t let me forget the part that truly irritated me about their relationship. She almost freaking kills him with her magic when they kiss every single time, AND YET SHE STILL CONTINUES TO KISS HIM! He’s always the one to pull away when her magic starts to crawl out of her. After centuries of restraint, she’s suddenly unable to find even a little bit. But it’s love, so I guess that makes her behavior excusable.

Lastly, the writing style and plot were muddled and transparent. I knew immediately how the whole novel was going to play out from the beginning- who the traitor was going to be, how their “love” would be the focus of the story, who would die because of Emrys’s foolishness, but I still tried to forge on. The whole middle portion of this book could have been easily cut down in size. It was endless pages of Emrys trying to understand these feeeelings she had for Richard and trying to rationalize how she could give up her immortality for him. Lots of pages of I love him so much! But wait, is our love enough? Will he love me forever as I will him? But… my precious magic and I’d lose my ability to fly! But wait, I have this feeling of being whole when I’m with him. But immortality! It’s so taboo! (Though, we never learn why.) There were pages upon pages of attacks that soon became redundant and drastically slowed down the pacing. (Oh, and there were also tons of passages about Emrys throwing up and descriptions of her bile. So yeah…) Not only that, but Emrys was supposedly tasked with guarding Richard in the first place because she was young and had all this warrior talent and promising power in spades. Yet, whenever they’re attacked, it’s Richard (a mortal!) that comes to her rescue.  She’s constantly losing her magical abilities around him after centuries (!!!) of doing it perfectly. But the part that killed this story the most for me was the endless supply of metaphors that never made sense to me. When used sparingly, they can make a story beautiful and bring the emotion/picture/love to life, but in this novel, you drown in meaningless metaphors. The only purpose they served was to confuse me or make me roll my eyes.

Rec It? Sadly, I cannot. I had anticipated a great read, but instead I only found a heaping of disappointment. The premise was excellent, but the execution was poorly done.

A very special thanks to HarperTEEN and Edelweiss for providing me with an early copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

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