Never judge a book by its cover.
I already knew this and yet, here I am.
This is, quite easily, one of the prettiest books I own. The book itself, as an object, is worth a whole star (perhaps even more...).
Now the story...
First of all, and this is important, it's not badly written.
The dialogue is a bit trite and at times unbelievable, but other than that it's fine.
The plot hinges on a cliché I personally hate: that of star crossed lovers who will fall in love because it was all meant to be. This may appeal to many people but it's a particular deterrent to my full enjoyment of a story. "Even so," I thought, "The characters... they'll be what will pull it all together, if they're great, it can still end up being good."
The characters didn't help.
I started with Evelyn's story, perhaps that was a mistake. Normally, when I find a character like this, I will dislike him or her. A spoiled rich girl whose "parents just don't understand" (thanks Fresh Prince) why she'll drop into whimsical considerations every other paragraph and whose only refuge is her poetry (which was criticised by the poet laureate, but that makes him an idiot because, really, what does he know, am I right?) Like I said, I don't like characters like this. But I couldn't even muster dislike for Evelyn. She was so wishy-washy, so barely interesting at all, that she gave me a serious case of "I nothing her."
Brendan's story was easier to get through. He was still annoying here and there, talking about how he'd never made real friends with the other boys in his fishing village because he "was different, a scholar", which just about tells us he doesn't know what friendship is at all, I mean, can you imagine how dull life would be if you were only friends with people who are like you? He just seemed snobbish, he was "a little hurt - that she'd assume he was just a poor boy from Clews." Seriously? Seriously? But not even that made him interesting.
In the end, the only thing I felt strongly about was the fact that I paid €12 for this :(
Theodora Goss's The Thorn and the Blossom
@ The Book Depository (with free delivery worldwide)