Iris and Malina are twins that have inherited a “gleam” from their mother, Jasmina, who they live with in the quaint town of Cattaro, Montenegro. Malina can sing enchanting songs and Iris can make kaleidoscopic fractals appear from shapes and patterns. Iris has a very strained relationship with her mother and things get out of hand when a mysterious woman shows up at their cafe and days later Jasmina is violently attacked. While they try to find out who’s responsible and why, the sisters unravel a mysterious thread that ties them to their magic and a long line of uncannily beautiful women.
I wanted to love this book so badly and for the first few pages I was so sure I was going to. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads and I’m sad to say that I feel I was being fairly generous since a 2.7 isn’t an option. This book was so confused about what it wanted to be that it all came together in a jarring mess of tones and twists that I had a hard time keeping track of. This book is like 80% gorgeous descriptions (I’ll never say Popovic doesn’t have a way with words there), 10% fantasy epic, 5% murder mystery, and 5% teen romance drama. The beginning is great, then it completely falls down a hole about 75 or so pages in and it doesn’t pick up until about 250. This was so close to being my first DNF of 2018.
There are passages that blew me away with how wonderful the imagery was and then one page later I’d be rolling my eyes at the juvenile dialogue between some pretty weak characters. Iris is the only interesting character. The magical abilities are cool but I really don’t feel like I got to know anyone in this book besides her. This made for some really unbelievable romances that I didn’t buy at all. The only one I could sort of subscribe to was between Iris’ sister and another character that we still don’t know too much about. The plot twists are half-assed and there’s a huge plot device that was just dropped and left for dead halfway through.
I’m so sad this book wasn’t what I’d hoped for because it had so much potential. I could maybe be convinced to read the next one at some point but my expectations will be so much lower.