Different. the lead, her troubles, their world... taken together there's nothing quite like this, partly given how magic is wove into it; mostly for the world it's set in; and a little bit for the connections made.
The world will enthrall you. Her society is structured with the Houses, both high and low, plus those on the fringe. Each is governed by rules on what to do and why to do something. And in all that, there's Felicita- aware of what's expected and limited by it.
Not much is glossed over, the ugly in her world, the choices made necessary because of the same, and the mistakes and discoveries made as a result. Each detail here, each person contributes to the dark stark feel of things. Dark at first, given how stifled amd choiceless everything is made to appear for her, but then darker still once out of her box.
I repeat the dark is not glossed over. I wish the same attention to detail had been paid to how all the relationships came to be. As they were, this aspect had me wondering at the convenience of it all. Connections, allies and foes, are both made too easily. How she finds herself taken under their wing... a bit unexpected, but set that aside, one sees this is not just about Dash and his big plan or Jannik and his problems or Felicita and the choices she's made. It's all that AND MORE.
All the people encountered here contribute in their own way so that Hobverse is clear. Nala and Lil, Esta and her theatre boy and Dash on one side, Jannik on the other, then the world as she knew it: cruel brother, indifferent mother, and lost best friend included. It turns your head a little how so many things were going on all at once but when those threads finally get pulled together it's ends all the more impressively.
because we have the political, the fast paced, the magical, then the down rigjt depressing, but the way all thos things just ARE is what works. We're not given paragraph after paragraph of how thing are, we're given people and their stories amd their with each their agenda. Side note on a fantasy world of what IS verus what SHOULD BE OK, on who you're with; there's none of the I wish it were's just a matter of faxt handling of things, they are who they are and who they choose to be. And that? That was just a lovely bonus.
wow. now, how. do. i. get. book 2