Review: The Bright & the Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski


Goodreads | Waterstones

Seventeen-year-old Valeria is one of the only survivors of the freeze, a dark magical hold Knnot Mountain unleashed over her village. Everyone, including her family, is trapped in an unbreakable sheet of ice. Ever since, she’s been on the run from the Czar, who is determined to imprison any who managed to escape. Valeria finds refuge with the Thieves Guild, doing odd jobs with her best friend Alik, the only piece of home she has left.
That is, until he is brutally murdered.
A year later, she discovers Alik is alive and being held against his will. To buy his freedom, she must lead a group of cutthroats and thieves on a perilous expedition to the very mountain that claimed her family. Only something sinister slumbers in the heart of Knnot.
And it has waited years for release.

Firstly a big thank you to Amy for the gorgeous Fairyloot copy I own! I adore the edition and I’m glad I got around to reading this quickly – although it felt strange reading a polar fantasy in the middle of the hot weather we are having right now in the UK. I actually read this one on audio as I didn’t have many books left on Scrib’d and this one captured my interest!

Sadly, I actually ended up having quite mixed feelings about this one in the end. Although I can safely say I quite enjoyed it, there was just something there that didn’t quite click for me. There was a lot to like about this one, but I also found myself not caring about the story and characters as much as I wanted to – even in the most emotional scenes in the book.

Fear the mountain, my dear. Fear the dark depths and the cold halls. Fear the call. 

I did like the plot of this one, but I found some of it a little predictable. Some of it did feel quite unique, including the Russian folklore aspect, which I feel like we don’t see much of in YA fantasy. I have heard this may be a retelling, although it felt more generally inspired than a full retelling. I also felt like the atmosphere was one of my favourite parts and I really liked the general feel of the setting and surroundings.

I liked the characters, but as with a lot of this book, I just liked them. I did root for the main characters and I enjoyed the found-family aspect of the group. However, I honestly feel like I’m running out of things to say because I just…didn’t feel as much for any of this book than I wanted to.

For when the mountain sinks its teeth into you, it will never let you go.

So overall, this definitely wasn’t a bad read, and I certainly enjoyed it – it just also fell flat and felt really disappointing in some ways. I’ve recently found out this is a going to be a duology, and I think I may re-read the physical version of this when the second one comes out.

3.5 out of 5 stars


May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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One thought on “Review: The Bright & the Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski

  1. Pingback: July Wrap-Up – The Books are Everywhere

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