Summary : Remarkable well written, fable focusing on the dark depths of human nature.
Exquisitely written fable for adults full of sorrow, mischief, and over the top reprisal. This lengthy four-part novel does a beautiful job with narrative, language choice, and expression… unfortunately world building and character development fall short. I went into this not knowing what to expect, and the end result was awe and interest, followed by confusion and frustration!
The story follows an emotionally jilted woman with no name who has been ostracized, not only by her family, but also by society as well for most of her life. The only connection she is able to make with another is that which she shares with a vagabond who requests to work at her father’s estate. As their friendship develops, she experiences true joy. He is the only one who has been able to look past her “savage” features and treat her like a person, so when he is forced to leave, the woman becomes so overcome with despair that she attempts to take her own life. This is the turning point for the woman. A blood-thirsty sorcerer who ravages women before consuming their hearts as means to remain in power and immortal intervenes. The woman is faced with a choice that will forever change her as she embarks on a journey that transformed the unnamed woman to the feared Ella Bandita, seductress of men… can she be redeemed?
The story of the Wanderer is that of a boy who must mature into the respectable man he wants to be. His coming of age story involves recognizing his own weaknesses and flaws, and willing himself to overcome them. Meeting Ella Bandita makes this journey a difficult one as he never realizes what he is up against when his finds himself lusting for the cold and detached woman he shares a camp with. He soon finds his heart in Ella Bandita’s clutches and his body on four paws… will he ever be whole again?
The premise was novel was intriguing and provocative, but not something I would have picked for myself had it not been suggested. More fantasy, less fable-like is my preference, but I got sucked in by my curiosity and wanted to see how this wretched woman would redeem herself. Montgomery’s choice in diction is phenomenal. However world building left the desire for more. Characters are heavily driven by their emotions and past, yet I felt like pertinent information was not presented when it should have been. I love powerful twists and turns, but the effect of this one was lost on me.
I loved the characters, their complex nature and how humanly flawed they were, but again their histories were limited, more could have been provided to allow for a better understanding of them. What I enjoyed the least was the lack of growth in their characters. After enduring so much and quite a lengthy novel, I feel like there should have been more personal development. Granted, there is an emotional depth that I missed while reading, but appreciated upon reflection.
Another nuisance was making sense of why she was shunned and what made her so ugly, the constant reference to “savage” features were not sufficient to portray why she was ugly and why that mattered.
The ending was infuriating for me. That is all I’ll say on that as to not give anything away.
This was not my type of book, and while I am not particularly fond of it and the style it was presented in overcomplicates things, I cannot deny that the author is a talented writer.
If you can appreciate a book simply for how well it is written, and are looking something with a dark-fable feel, then you’d enjoy this one. If you like something with a definitive beginning and end, with a large sense of redemption, and a heavy dose of world building, I’d stay away from this.
** I received this ARC from the Author in exchange for an honest review. **