Monday 1 December 2014

Book Review - The Boy With The Hidden Name

The Boy With The Hidden Name
Author: Skylar Dorset
Series: Otherworld #2
Genres: Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 2nd December 2014
Publishers: Sourcebooks
No. Pages: 320
Source: Review Copy - Sourcebooks
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
Selkie Stewart has just saved her quasi-boyfriend, Ben, from a fairy prison run by the Seelie Court. If they weren't the two most-wanted individuals in the Otherworld before, they definitely are now. Along with Ben and the rest of their ragtag group of allies-Selkie's ogre aunts; a wizard named Will; Ben's cousin Safford; and Kelsey, Selkie's best friend, Selkie is ready to embrace her destiny and bring the Court down. That is until Ben leaves here..

With a prophecy to break, Selkie doesn't have time to wait for his return. With the help of her friends, Selkie must search for the other three fae that will help bring down the Court, but the clock is ticking. Can she find them in time? Will she ever see Ben again? It's time to see if Selkie can rewrite the story she's been so desperately trying to find.

The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

The Girl Who Never Was was both surprisingly enjoyable, yet also disappointing in areas. It was hard to see past the glaring comparisons to The Iron Fey series, in doing so, it meant that what was impressive was lost in between it all. So, when it came to the sequel, I decided to focus on this series alone and admire the positives without negatively comparing them, and low and behold, either my lack of comparison worked, or this sequel was much better than it's other half. But even with it's positives, The Boy With The Hidden Name wasn't without it's issues..

I think my biggest worry for this sequel was that Dorset wouldn't be able to fit everything she needed to into one 300+ story and wrap it up in a style I liked - there were three other fae to find, Ben on walkabout, and really, absolutely no idea where to go from there, that's a lot to find, save and think about, but, with a little bit of cliché moments here and 'coincidental moments' there, I think Dorset actually did this really well. As content in this novel goes, there was an awful lot, there were three separate visits to, well, three separate 'worlds', which, when you take into account that the world building in this novel didn't improve upon the second, make the whole travelling just a tad difficult, there were quite a few twists and turns which I appreciated because it kept the slow pacing a little more entertaining, and there was also some absolutely hilarious moments which in fact, probably weren't that hilarious, but made me hysterically howl because they were that crazy. It definitely sounds as though I had more issues than positives with this novel, but that is simply not the case this time.

Until this sequel, I hadn't really appreciated Selkie and her skills as much as I really should have. She's the daughter of a fae and an ogre, which really, in itself is an interesting part of the story, as she has the weaknesses of an ogre, the human feelings, her emotions and her need and want to protect others, but she also has the weaknesses of a fae, the bills that ring and deafen her, to the trapped, binding feeling she gets when visiting other worlds, but this also means she has those strengths, and really, that's a really great thing about Selkie. Her skill for picking up things she'll need later on is also really interesting and I'm ashamed I never noticed it more previously, there's a clever nack to it, and while I did figure out the 'reveal' in the end that involved Selkie 'finding what she needs before she needs it', I still found the whole thing quite entertaining. I also appreciated her naming skills and her as a person SO much more in this novel. With Ben out of the picture, or back in later on, she stood her ground, let her friends and become a strong character, and even when Ben returned, she showed her strength and her courage by not allowing him redemption too soon. She became a figure to trust, a figure of power and bravery and a great leader. her relationships in this novel, with Kelsey, with Will, with her Aunts, it was all equally wonderful to watch, and I connected so much more to Selkie in this installment than I had the previous.

Yes. There was the romance element involved, and I admit, I was highly angered at the end of Girl Who Never Was; I found Ben's attitude to absolutely terrible, but as I mentioned earlier, Selkie's inner strength and power to make him work for forgiveness and to really test and, essentially, make or break their romance built it in a way the first installment never did. There was more development between themselves and with each other, there's a level of trust to be created once again, and I actually found myself aboard to romance train by the end, it had grown and become something I didn't mind. Would I put it in my handful of top romances, definitely not, but as romance goes, it really wasn't at all bad.

What was still a little bad was the pacing.. An awful lot happened, but what exciting things did happen were cut extremely short and were wrapped up almost too easily, which was highly frustrating. Good scenes would come along and I'd think 'yes, this is where the good stuff is' and BAM, over already. Where's the fun and excitement in that? Where's the drama and the tension and build up and the general feel of fear and energy? It's a shame, because more could have been developed.

I confess, as a whole, the world building and pacing let this novel down. I was expecting a much better reveal at the end, considering I'd guessed it half way through the first book, and I would have liked more concerning the other fae, and the other worlds. We never got to experience anything in the world of the goblins and the Erlking, who really was swoony, damn goblins, we never got to appreciate these colourful worlds that they visited and we most definitely didn't get to see enough Safford and Kelsey romance, damn they were too cute. To me, surprisingly, this duology just didn't feel like enough. For once, I would have liked a trilogy, I would have liked more exploration of the worlds, more time taken to create and describe them and make me feel as though I'm there, I would have liked the romance to be developed better and slower, and overall, I find myself just wanting more. Dorset is a talented writer, and I do hope she takes her experience with this series and writes more, and takes more time to develop her worlds, but if she put as much development in there as she does her characters, she'll find herself a loyal fan.


  1. Hmm, I think I saw this one on Netgalley, but I didn't grab it because it was the second book to a series. I'm not sure if I would enjoy this though--especially because the pacing and world building were really iffy here.

    Thanks for the helpful review, girl! <33

    1. You're welcome Mel! I do think it'd be difficult for some people, so no problem :)

  2. You always take a chance on the books I'm too nervous too on Netgalley. But then I get to read your reviews and decide if it's something I want to read myself. Have to admit, I don't think this series is for me.


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