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Path Unchosen (Daughter of Ravenswood) (Volume 1)

Path Unchosen - Kim Cleary This book has one of the most amazing covers I ever came across. After reading the description I was almost drooling. Zombies, mysteries, necromancer … Give me this book NOW! I was ready with a cup of hot chocolate, I was in the right mood, I was prepared to be swept away by AWESOME.


I was not prepared for a major disappointment. Don’t judge a book by its cover is all I can say. I am almost mad this mouthwatering cover is bound around this crap content. I want to take the cover and write the story myself. This is so sad.

This book is frustrating on so many levels, because I was left questioning absolutely everything. It begins right from the start. Judy apparently revives a rabbit; a page later there’s an assembly at the abbey where they talk about zombies and steam trains and a few pages later her guardian tells her she is a witch. Aha! Wait no, are we talking about witchcraft or about zombies. Is she now a witch or a necromancer? Why does Judy need to leave the orphanage / abbey? Why is there no electricity, even though at one time there was? Is this a dystopia, a simple paranormal fantasy or a zombie novel? Or even steampunk, as it mentions steam trains? There are a lot of mysteries apparently: The mystery of her birth, the mystery of her magical abilities, and the mystery of the world. It’s a lot to take in in just 30 pages. Don’t get me wrong I dislike info dumping but a little bit more background information would have been helpful. Instead we get confused further, when Judy encounters and commands ghosts on a cemetery. The constant shift between a ghost story on a cemetery, a medieval abbey, a mystical Stonehenge scenario, the almost fey Ravensvood house with dusty libraries full of cobwebs, the modern Winterhurst with overgrown electricity towers, old bungalows, modern flats, ugly brick buildings, glass and steel fronted buildings and solar panels for electricity, makes me cringe inside. I like all of those settings, but not all of them together. It’s too much of a mishmash.

Every chapter in this book shouts loud and clear: This girl must be special because of all the mysteries surrounding her! Her specialness goes so far as to want to make me believe that she can read several books in a few ours, memorizing it, too. Judy is no plain vanilla witch, with her power one day she will control the undead as well as command spirits to rise (and shine *snicker*)
”Every word, every paragraph, every book fed something deep inside me, like I was finally growing aware of my own soul.”
Was that my purpose? Could I shine a light into the blackness, or would it devour me?

But it lacks proof. Because let’s face it. This girl is like a petal in the wind who can’t decide in which direction she wants to be swept away. Making matters worse, is that nobody ever answers questions straight.
”Where am I?” I cried out.
“You are where you need to be, my love.” Says the foreign man with the “lavender eyes” with “hair swinging in soft waves to the middle of his back” and his body moving like a “sleek cat”

More than anything it shows in her every move / thought how immature she is, complete with stomping feet, incessantly sniffing and weeping, her easily impressionable character, her petulant childlike behavior (“I want to have this, stomping my feet) and instantly falling in love with a man just because of his beautiful eyes and the way he looks at her:
His long eyelashes curved upwards and almost met his neat eyebrows, both of which he raised. He spoke with a beautiful voice, sweet and musical. I guessed him to be in his thirties, but his eyes and voice held a wisdom ages old. I’d called him? As handsome a devil as I’d ever seen and focused on me as if I mattered.

The story is told from Judy’s perspective, which wouldn’t have been bad in general if not every sentence started with an “I”: Example on p.49 8 sentences start out in the first person: I didn’t know, I ambled around, I stepped over, I peeked inside, I hadn’t thought, I glanced into, I looked out, I pulled. And p. 49 isn’t a single exception to the rule, no-hoooo, almost every page is the same lame. This anaphora serves no reason at all it just is unaesthetic and makes the reading awkward. Some editing would have done the book a big favor.

2 Stars because the cover really is beautiful, but writing, world building, characterization and the romance fell flat for me.

Thanks to netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book.