I read this in print - I was at a closeout store and saw it, and since it's been on my "to-read" list for awhile, I grabbed it. Boy am I glad I didn't pay full price for this! What a waste that would have been for a bargain hunter like me.
When I closed the back cover on this last night, I actually said out loud, "seriously?" Not "meh," not "hmmm." "Seriously? I seriously just spent time reading this?"
I'm not sure where to begin. I had high hopes for this, since the premise seemed good. Girls kidnapped to be brides, short lifespan, continents have all disappeared except for North America. Possible love interest in guy who's a servant in the house. All this seemed to offer suspense, drama, maybe some slight political intrigue, racing for a cure, surviving the kidnapping.
What you actually get, however, is an unhappy girl in a palace being treated like a queen. There doesn't seem to be any growth in the character. There is no suspense. There are no politics. Her life is generally not in danger. The big bad guy is absent for most of the book. She sits in a library and reads books. She gets her hair and makeup done, she languishes in a bathtub with interesting bubbles. She looks out the window wistfully. She thinks. And she does basically nothing but think about maybe getting out somehow (with no real plan) and reminisces about her previous life and twin brother. Seriously?
There was some vague interest in the unfolding of Linden, who is Rhine's husband. Also of note was Jenna, whose outlook and history were infinitely more interesting - as were her actions - than Rhine's. Apparently we were supposed to care about Vaughn's intentions and lab in the basement. But never getting any kind of glimpse or idea of really what was happening (honestly, we couldn't have had just a nibble? A taste?), I really could not care less about what diabolical plans he might have or what horrific things he's doing. Gabriel is reassigned to the basement and nobody knows why. Nobody seems to care much either. Rhine seems to wonder whether she loves Linden. 'Oh, I think I'll sit at this window and look at the snow and think lofty thoughts about the nature of love.' Good grief. She thinks about running away like some college freshmen think about choosing a major - a lot of "well, I suppose I could do this, or this, but I don't know so I'll just wait and see."
And the ending. It almost makes me mad! We're running away, we get to the gate, we're going to freeze to death except oh look! Someone coming to help us! We're out now and nobody is chasing us. Let's go to the movies and get warm. Hmmm, what to do next? How about let's steal a boat and sail away into the sunset.
Seriously? Are you kidding me?
Perhaps the main problem is that all the characters seem to be shadows of deep characters. The plot is a shadow of a plot. All of it looks great, but has no substance, no depth, not even any tangible anything you can get hold of. It was one long string of possibilities that were mentioned and then abandoned. So many missed opportunities!
And finally, what is up with her name? Rhine? All I could think is that this girl was named "nose." I kept reading "Renee" in my head just to avoid the association to rhinoplasty, rhinoceros, rhinitis, rhinestone. Seriously, Rhine?
I think I will give the sequel, Fever, a try. I make no promises about giving up, but surely it has got to be better than this. Seriously.