Seventeen-year-old Annabeth prefers the fantasy of her books and paintings to reality—because in reality, her mom is dead, and it was all her fault. When she accompanies her father to the funeral of some family friends who drowned, she’s surprised to find her grief reflected in the face of Griffin Bradford, the son of the couple who died. Griffin is nothing like the carefree boy she once knew. Now he’s irritable, removed, and he’s under police investigation for his parents’ deaths.
One night following the memorial service, Annabeth’s dad goes missing in the woods, and she suspects Griffin knows more about the disappearance than he’s letting on. He refuses to answer her questions, particularly those related to the mysterious “expedition” his parents took to Ireland, where they went missing for seven months.
Annabeth fears her father isn’t lost, but rather a victim of something sinister. She launches her own investigation, tracing clues that whisper of myth and legend and death, until she stumbles upon a secret. One that some would die to protect, others would kill to expose—and which twists Annabeth’s fantasy and reality together in deadly new ways.
This book was held an intriguing premise, a gorgeous cover, and a host of problems for me. I felt like it had a lot of potential, but it got quite lost and I had a lost of Insta conversations with my co-blogger where I spammed her mercilessly with my struggles.
The good parts, since I always like to start with the sunny side up…except with my eggs…and not most days with the sun…or like anytime until I’m about to fail in a review as much as I’m about to with this one:
– An intriguing premise filled with mystery, secret societies, and some intriguing mythology. I liked the infusion of the mythology aspects into the mystery of where did Annabeth’s dad disappear?
– The setting. I loved the remote Maine (wait, I think it was Maine. It was Northeast. I’m going to assume Maine. Let’s all pretend it’s Maine.) I really felt like it was perfection with the remote mansion, the woods, and I could feel the mist literally rolling off the lake. I really thought Cashman did a wonderful job with the descriptions, and her details were fantastic.
– That cover is stunning. I love it.
– It was quite easy to read. I did have a pretty easy time breezing through this.
Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Yeah. That was about it.
Here’s where I became a mess for this book:
– Our main character, Annabeth. I feel like I couldn’t get a grip on this girl. I felt like her main characteristic was honestly “searching for Dad” and “making deep, intense thoughts for no reason.” I know she liked painting anddddddddddd searching for her dad and having really moody thoughts for like 3 paragraphs to go back to actual things.
She also made some WILD jumps to conclusions. I mean, the first time she found out about weird DNA, she’s like OMG, THE MONSTER HAS MY DAD!!!! There was absolutely no mention of a monster…and HOW HOW HOW is that the most logical conclusion to jump to? Like, I would have asked a lot more questions like…hmmm, this is odd, but maybe it’s faked? What kind of DNA is this? Is this a gene to make all YA love interests have interesting cheekbones? Despite my love for Bigfoot and aliens, my first thought would not be mutated DNA = monster has my dad. She did this a few times, and she was majorly so easy to believe insane things.
– The writing. I was not a fan of the writing. There were some super weird lines in there that would literally stop my flow of reading because I was so jarred by a particular line. I don’t want to quote from this, but trust me, there were some lines that had me mystified.
– Also, the pacing. The pacing was a little rushed in parts and super slow in others. There were a lot of major leaps that I didn’t feel like I got there in a logical, correct pace. Big things would happen in very short amounts of time and then things that weren’t as important would take forever to go through. There was a very important event that was happening at the end that included a car chase, and literally it ended, solving all the problems with this plot line in literally 2 paragraphs after 300+ pages of lead up. Literally 2 paragraphssssssss. It was like that most of the time and the story kept escalating for no reason.
Example with some SPOILERS: The main character gets kidnapped about 3/4 into the story – literally the entire kidnapping sequence was NOT pleasing and crazy – but there is one point where Annabeth and her dad try to escape the Jughead’s gang from Riverdale…wait, I mean, the Serpent Society and they fail after about 3 paragraphs. Anyway, kingpin Cobra finds them and Annabeth is like, THIS IS IT. I MUST DIE NOW. I MUST INSTANTLY KILL MY DAD AND KILL MYSELF TO PROTECT THE SECRET. Literally, it was one second after they get captured??? However, after 2 more paragraphs, they jumped again. It was far too much sometimes.
– The Romance. Yeah, no, this was not pleasing. My ship did not sail – not even to Hy-Brazil. Griffin felt like…I felt like he was trying to be very basic YA love interest in a slightly paranormal book I’ve ever read. He was ~mysterious~ and moody and broody and shows deep feats of strength and loves to smirk and has darknesssssssssss in his soulllllllllllllllllllllll and is apparently a mysterious playboy???? That likes to push people away even though he loves them??? At times, it felt like he was just doing a checklist of YA men.
Example with some SPOILERS: During the final revelation after miscommunication (wow, the rhyming game has begun) where Annabeth and Griffin are professing love, Griffin is professing his love and all the things he loves about her while she is doing the same. And then all of a sudden he’s like, “Well there has been a lot of girls. A lot.” There was literally NO reason that needed to be said. There was no context for it. It would be like if you were talking to your favorite book and was like, “Wow, Cress, I love your fierce females, your adorable romance, your ability to still maintain power for being the third book in the series. I mean, there’s like 30 other books on my favorites lists like Grave Mercy, My Fair Godmother, and Project 17. But I just really love you and your inspiring, endearing main character.” It felt like they needed to slip it in there to just make him the complete YA hero.
– The plot got really crazy at times, too. I can’t explain it super well – ask Sha since I tried to desperately all over Instagram messages and chats. But trust me, it got a little wacky.
Overall, this book wasn’t my couple of tea. I think it had a lot of potential, but it just got bogged down by a few problems. I think Cashman exceeded in the setting and a great premise, but the execution missed the mark for me. 1 crown and a Merida rating!
What do you think? What makes you give a one crown review? Have you ever devoured a book that you ended up disliking? Let’s discuss in the comments below!