Ava was perfectly ordinary until she came across a dying woman. Before the lady died though, she gave Ava a cryptic message and passed a Gift to her. And just like that, Ava becomes gifted. With her new abilities (and she's not too sure what it is either), she meets Theo, a handsome guy who introduces her to Hayven, a magical city only for gifted. As Ava comes to terms with her gift, she makes new friends.
There was a lot I liked about this, and a bit that I didn't quite like. So, let's start with the good:
Hayven and the gifted people sound incredible. They all have different powers (though some can be similar), and I loved reading about how things work in that world. In general, the world building and the back-story of this book was solid.
Character-wise, my favourite character had to be Baleigh. She's this no-nonsense girl from Hayven, and I want her to be my new friend, even if she spends the first few weeks acting like I'm annoying. She's incredibly direct, but she's also kind. There's no "mean girl" exterior, just someone who's really blunt.
Now for the stuff that I didn't quite like.
First, is the romance. That shouldn't be much of a surprise to regular readers, because I'm not a big romance fan. I could have accepted the insta-love because it wasn't too strong, but what annoyed me was how immature Theo was the whole time. I get it, he's supposed to be a nice guy with a mean girlfriend, but I was just sighing the whole time. [Slight spoilers] Guy, if you like another girl, it's unfair to your current girlfriend if you stay with her. And it's unfair to the girl to lead her on.
The second is a slightly bigger issue for me: it's the pacing. After the really exciting start, the first two thirds of the book has nothing going on. Sure, Ava is learning and all that, but the stakes set in the opening chapters quickly fizzle out. Ava's life becomes all about Hayven, and her former "best friend" and good friends are nothing more than an afterthought. There is some attempt at explaining why the friendship died, but I wasn't very convinced.
Basically, the first two thirds was a bit boring to me. I wanted more action. However, things picked up in the last third, as I found out important details about what Ava is supposed to do, and the threat level increases. I'm definitely interested in finding out what happens next.
Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the author via Enchanted Blog Tours in exchange for a free and honest review.