Received to review via Netgalley
On the surface, this sounded fascinating, and the snippets of detail we get about the world in the opening were intriguing, but somehow it took me so long to get into it: it took me weeks to plod through the first half, which is fatal in such a short book. After that, I sped through it, and found the payoff quite satisfying — which makes the setup even more frustrating, honestly.
Assessing it from this vantage point, what did I think? Well, Esther is the most clearly drawn character — Esther, and Marianne, who is antagonistic toward her and whose motives we never fully understand. The world is fascinating, the way the Hex is formed and the roles they play, the dangers of the between-worlds that they need to traverse to reach other worlds. The worldbuilding felt like setup for a novel, but the characters didn’t: I mostly remember the names of the characters, since I finished it yesterday, but I don’t have real opinions on any of them except Esther and Marianne.
It feels like there was a lot of potential that just didn’t work out for me. I’m curious to read Elliott’s longer-form work to see if that gives the right payoff for that kind of detail: sometimes people just aren’t good at working in miniature, and there was a lot here that did interest me.