Goodreads summary of Unholy Terrors By Lyndall Clipstone (review below):
A bloodstained tale of a girl torn between her vows and her heart, where falling in love may be the deepest sin of all…
Everline Blackthorn has devoted her life to the wardens—a sect of holy warriors who guard against monsters known as the vespertine. When a series of strange omens occur, Everline disobeys orders to investigate and uncovers a startling truth in the form of Ravel Severin, a rogue vespertine who reveals the monsters have secrets of their own.
Ravel promises the help she needs— for a price. Vespertine magic requires blood, and if Everline wants Ravel to guide them across the dangerous moorland, she will have to allow him to feed from her. It’s a sin for a warden to feed a vespertine— let alone love one— and as Everline and Ravel travel further across the moorland, she realizes the question isn’t whether she will survive the journey but if she will return unchanged. Or if she wants to.
Let me repeat! I have NEVER reviewed a book I haven’t finished. Never say never. This is the first one (I did finish half) because it. is. a. special. kind. of. hellscape. I’m going to make it short and sweet, unlike this book.
Reason 1: World-Building
Wait. Maybe I should take that back because what world-building, exactly? THERE IS NONE. ZIP ZERO ZILCH. I feel like breaking into Eminem… World-building huh? World building who? My name is Unholy Terrors. Except I don’t think that is fair to Eminem. Is there a world? Sure. Is there any explanation or depiction of said world? I couldn’t conjure an image in my head if I gave myself a migraine.
Reason 2: Characters
Wash, rinse, and repeat. Were there characters? Ok. Yes, there were characters. And to be fair (I’m really trying here), the main character, Everline? You get some backstory, like her childhood, her trials and tribulations. You get family issues. However, 1) my cats are more original than the background of Everline. 2)It didn’t help. Lyndall Clipstone wrote the flattest characters since Flat Stanley. It doesn’t help when you repeat that little bit over and over.
The supporting cast? HA! Lyndall Clipstone might have given us character names in Unholy Terrors. But characters? She didn’t give us characters. Characters at least have one dimension. These had none. No background was given. No sustenance can be found.
Reason 3: Romance
Look, I might not be a romance person, but I can recognize when there isn’t any romance. And if that whatever between Everline and Ravel was supposed to be romance? It could’ve fooled me. It was no such thing. What was it? It was Ravel doing stuff with his luscious hair, giving sly smiles; all the while, Everline’s pulse pounded in her neck and against her chest. Oh, and of course, him sucking blood out of her night after night after night.
Thank you to Henry Holt and Macmillan Audio for the audio ARC. They may never speak to me again.
Reason 4: Repetitive
Oh my God! If I had to hear about her daddy issues one more time or listen to her pulse pound. And the lore and breaking vows of being a Vespertine? I GET IT ALREADY. It is bad. You shouldn’t do it. But hey, Everline’s mother did it! And maybe she could go find her friend, her mom, and some magic because she doesn’t have any- not that I could tell you why. Maybe that comes in the second half, but I feel like it should have been in the first. <shrugs>
Speaking of the above repetitiveness, the writing. Look, I’m not trying to knock Lyndall Clipstone personally, so please don’t take it that way. But oh my. I know this is Young Adult, but really? I know we can’t all be Sara Faring or C.S. Pacat. But I think there could be a stronger writing cadence or at least some variance in sentence structure.
Reason 5: Predictable
I’ve never been so happy to be on Reason 5 in my life. Maybe there are some twists and turns in the second half. Again, to be fair, I didn’t finish Unholy Terrors. However, based on the first half? I highly doubt it. From go, I knew what was happening. The girl breaks a vow and loses a friend in a bad place. The girl breaks a vow again and ends up in a bad place with her best semi-enemy, trying to save her first friend. She meets a big, bad Vespertine, and they bond over past histories. They then vow to keep each other safe from harm (most significant break of vows, EVER- GASP!). It isn’t new, but execution can make not new work. There is no execution in any part of this book.
And that’s all I’ve got on this one, folks!