Desolate begins with a foreword, warning about elements of a sensitive nature. As this is classed as YA, this was definitely needed. Desolate is not for younger readers due to graphic violence and abuse. I researched a bit before reading, learning that Desolate is a prequel for the Arotas Trilogy. This is an in depth backstory of Roseline, only slightly alluded to in the trilogy.
After a massacre at her wedding, and being left alone in the world, Roseline Dragomir has to find the will to survive. With a murderous husband, and evil brother-in-law and a castle full of demons, Roseline begins to give up on her life. But being immortal has it’s downsides until a mysterious stranger offers his help. With him on her side, will she survive the upcoming hunt?
Reading from Roseline’s point of view allows you to understand her as a character. What she’s thinking. How she’s feeling. What happens when she loses control. Roseline is definitely one of the smarter protagonists I’ve read, although she let’s her despair think for her throughout the beginning. She begin’s to develop and toughen up by the end, becoming cunning and outwitting her enemies. This is what I enjoyed most about her.
Vladimir, also known as Vlad the Impaler, played the tormenting husband. With his brother, Lucien being his truly evil right-hand man. These two play perfectly off each other in both their words and actions. You also can clearly see the difference in character. Miles has created two different antagonists, without using two stereotyped villains.
The love interest wasn’t rushed or made into an instant love scenario. We see Roseline converse multiple times before she even think’s of her interest in him. Mile’s definitely thought out how to incorporate the romance plot into the overall story rather than adding it for no reason.
The main issue is that the book is quite slow in places. A lot of the middle section is a lot of violence and hatred, but Roseline just puts up with it and doesn’t do anything. Consequently, it gets quite dull but also difficult to read. It picks up as you get towards the end though. Another problem I had was imagining the fighting and wounds afflicted. All our characters seem to be immortals who can endure a lot more than humans. Therefore, the unrealistic wounds are hard to think of. As well as the actions which inflict the wounds.
Other than the pace, and the difficulty of imagining some scenes, I enjoyed reading Desolate. I would, again, like to specify it is not for younger readers.
I received Desolate* by Amy Miles as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.