Title // Tarot
Author // Marissa Kennerson
Publisher // Razorbill/Penguin
Publication Date // February 19th 2019
Rating // ★☆☆☆☆ (1.5)
Synopsis // Anna was never supposed to exist. Born of a forbidden union between the Queen and the tyrannical King’s archnemesis, Anna is forced to live out her days isolated in the Tower, with only her mentors and friends the Hermit, the Fool, and the Magician to keep her company. To pass the time, Anna imagines unique worlds populated by creatives and dreamers—the exact opposite of the King’s land of fixed fates and rigid rules—and weaves them into four glorious tapestries.
But on the eve of her sixteenth birthday and her promised release from the Tower, Anna discovers her true lineage: She’s the daughter of Marco, a powerful magician, and the King is worried that his magical gifts are starting to surface in Anna. Fearing for her life, Anna flees the Tower and finds herself in Cups, a lush, tropical land full of all the adventure, free-spiritedness, and creativity she imagined while weaving.
Anna thinks she’s found paradise in this world of beachside parties, endless food and drink, and exhilarating romance. But when the fabric of Cups begins to unravel, Anna discovers that her tapestries are more than just decoration. They’re the foundation for a new world that she is destined to create—as long as the terrors from the old world don’t catch up with her first.
This book was quite terrible.
It’s really a shame, considering how much the premise/description drew me in. I mean, forbidden bastard child, powerful magicians, enchanting lands, what more could you want? Well, what more I want is for this story to actually be interesting and not be baaaad.
Anna has spent the first 16 years of her life trapped in a tower but she doesn’t seem to have been affected by it at all. Her biggest problems afterward seem to be that she doesn’t know how to swim and she’s pale. Honestly, I’m more socially awkward than Anna and I haven’t spent 16 years trapped in a tower, but she’s instantly social and chats with people and makes friends and doesn’t seem to have any past trauma or anything. She’s probably never seen anyone her age before since she’s always been trapped up there but it’s all chill all gucci she can get a boyfriend in like a week no problemo. And I’m just like ???? Realistic????
Also, the romance was so bad it was kind of laughable? It’s kind of like a love triangle, but not really? I mean considering the main character falls in instalove with her love interest on like the first date (although I really couldn’t tell you why since his only real character traits were being a pushover and a bland cardboard cutout lacking any sort of personality) it’s not like the other guy had a chance, which leaves me wondering why Anna was like “oh! yes i have the feelings too!!”
I didn’t really like the writing style of this book. I always felt pretty disconnected from the characters, and never really cared about or even identified with any of them. It was told through third person omniscient point of view, often switching from Anna, to another kid, to the king, or whatever, sometimes even in the same chapter. But although some books do this well, this one ended up just feeling really disconnected. Also, the chapters are all ridiculously short, some only one or two pages long, and the average page length was probably around five or so pages. Shorter chapters sometimes work in contemporary, but this was supposed to be this great epic fantasy, and instead we got these short choppy scenes that I never really got invested in.
I thought the world building was terrible. We’re immediately set up in what seems like a typical fantasy world with a cruel king, but that’s basically all I know. There were a lot of random things that were never really explored or explained. Like, apparently this kind is such a tyrant he dictates what your job is, who you marry, stuff like that, but instead of really exploring what kind of a cruel dictator that makes him, or if that’s made his people have uprisings or anything, it’s just mentioned like twice. There are characters with names like The Magician, The Fool, The Hermit, stuff like that, but we’re never really given an explanation why. Does everyone have names like this? Then why is Anna named Anna and not The Bastard Child or something? Or is it just these people, and if so why are they special that they have these names? The king also seems to feel bad for Anna, but then his senator or adviser or something tells him he needs to get rid of her and that’s that, with no explanation why he has such influence on the king, or what his role is.
All of the characters felt very one dimensional and, frankly, very stupid. Anna shows up at one point half dead and drowned, and when a guy and a girl find her, the girl doesn’t want to save her and basically wants to let her drown because…she’s a girl? It’s not like she’s hitting on the guy or anything, she’s literally trying not to die and the girl is already jealous and catty and mean? At one point, a bunch of people get mad at Anna and then suddenly everyone is mad at her and destroying her stuff in that sort of go with the flow mob mentality and nobody even questions why, and then like 20 pages later she’s back and people just stop being mad at her because of that sort of go with the flow mob mentality and nobody even questions why.
The only redeemable quality of this book was that it was short–I burned through it in one sitting in a couple of hours. Other than that, I’d say give this one a hard pass.