It’s a book I never would have thought to ask for, but I’m surprisingly glad for its presence all the same.
Frey is an impostor, assassin, body double. Few people know of her existence, and rarely does she get to leave her home for any reason other than as a brief stand-in at a party or presentation. Rafi, 26 minutes her elder, is her twin sister and the one Frey pretends to be, when she isn’t training to kill or hidden away from most of the world. This changes when her father decides to send Rafi as a hostage to a rival family. But it’s Frey who is actually going. She may have to pretend to be Rafi, but at least she is out in the world…
Phew. Sometimes these summaries can be down in a sentence. For this one, it felt like it had to be much longer. And yet I feel as if I barely explained the opening premise to the story…
Though this won’t be going down in history as an all-time fave, I did enjoy a lot about this book. It is fast-paced in plot and an easy, smooth read. The book is so fast, in fact, that it ended up in a lot of unexpected places. (Spoiler???l I thought for sure Frey would still be an impostor in Victoria by books end. Instead, so much happened I am uncertain how Westerfeld intends to stretch this into three more books.
Another positive is that immediate knowledge of the Uglies isn’t necessary. It certainly isn’t a disadvantage to have read the Uglies, but Westerfeld wrote the book in such a way that you don’t have to. Though background knowledge is fun, all the in-world features are explained. Did you forget what the phrase “mind-rain” means? Did you forget the name Tally Youngblood? Did you forget about Specials? It’s all good because Westerfeld gently prods your memory with brief, but effective descriptions of it all.
The romance in the book is lackluster. (And, frankly, wouldn’t have been needed to move along the story.) The twin sister relationship is also the crux of this story, but it’s hard to really dive into the connection because Rafi is off page most of the book.
If you loved Uglies, this book will bring you back to the familiar world you know and love. If you’ve never read that series, there is still a chance you can enjoy this book. If nothing else, it’s a quick read. And seeing as how my next read is the near-1000 page Kingdom of Ash…the speed of this book was needed.