[Henchgirl] Rita Stradling

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Dakota, our protagonist, works for her grandfather, who is part dragon. Her job is to use her powers to manipulate her grandfather’s underlings; to remind them that her grandfather holds all the power over them. Dakota can manipulate emotions in people, bending them to her will. When Wyvern, an annoying yet mysterious almost-adult comes to the island, hiding who she is from the people around her gets more difficult. All she wants is for things to go back to normal. But was her life ever really normal to begin with?

This is one of those books that had a good idea, but poor execution. I can see why there’s a lot of fans of this book, however; it’s urban fantasy, it has its own set of legends, and it has a smoldering love interest with the added benefit of enemy-turned-lover. I like that angle. What I didn’t like was the instant-love that happened in this book. Dakota, the protagonist, goes from someone who loathes Wyvern, to a kissy-kissy moon-eyed girl who completely lacks any agency. You’ve known him for about a day and a half. Calm down. She could have been this powerful character–she had the powers for it–instead she worried if his feelings for her were real. Oh, and the missing girls–that’s bad, I guess. The true issues of the world took such a backseat that they felt forgotten.

I’ve read young adult romance books that are masquerading as fantasy books before. It happens and it doesn’t always bother me. This one did, however. It wasn’t the story. The story was fine. It was the writing. I’m not sure why this book has made it so far. I’m legitimately curious, because it read horribly. Granted, in my reviews there are times where I question if I’m using punctuation correctly. I don’t pretend that I am a perfect writer, nor do I expect to be. But when there are gads of mistakes my assumption is that there was no copy-editor who read this before giving it to the reading community to consume. There were just too many mistakes. I realize that this is an ebook I received from NetGalley and that things may have changed before publishing. However, I will reiterate: there were just too many mistakes.

After the shower, I locked myself and Stacy, when she wouldn’t stop knocking, in my room which had been enough to keep my mom from barging in.

Just one of the many frustrating incorrect uses of commas in this book. There were moments when I couldn’t understand what the author was trying to convey. The author also didn’t use any contractions (that I remember), and that made the dialogue very stilted and awkwardly formal.

Overall, I wish this book had gone through a series of edits before publishing and focused more on the aspect of using Dakota’s powers to find the missing girls. The balance of romance and fantasy tipped too far on the romance side, and reminded me a bit of the creepiness of Edward and Bella’s relationship in the Twilight series.

2 stars.

I received a copy of Henchgirl from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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