Title: Foreign to You
Author: Jeremy Martin
Page Count: 342
Release Date: February 11, 2019
Disclaimer: NetGalley has provided me with this title in exchange for an honest review. The following paragraphs consist of my own views and opinions which may differ from yours. Please understand that me not agreeing with you on certain matters is not a personal attack on you! Thanks!
My Rating: 3 Stars
Trigger Warnings: The death of a secondary character, blood, war, grief.
***MILD SPOILERS AHEAD***
I liked this book enough to give it three stars, but it didn’t necessarily surpass my expectations.
Foreign to You is set in a world divided by two species: humans and Fianna, shape-shifting deer. Finn, a merciless hunter, and Adelaide, a saviour to her kind, couldn’t be more unlike. But with a war dangerously close to breaking out, Finn and Adelaide find themselves joining forces in order to find the one being that might provide them with peace: the God of the Forest. To do this, however, Adelaide and Finn’s trust, desires, and relationships will be tested… Together, they will determine where their real loyalties lie and what they truly want to represent.
(Yeah… sorry for that horribly written synopsis. You can find a far better one here)
There were quite a few things that I enjoyed about this book.
For starters, I loved the way it was told. The narration was so beautiful, and I loved how effortless and flowy the writing was. In fact, Jeremy Martin’s writing style almost reminds me of that of Anna-Marie McLemore, author of Blanca and Roja (one of my favourite novels of all time! Find it here)! The story contains so much beautiful imagery and breathtaking description that it is difficult not to be captivated by Martin’s enchanting writing.
In addition to that, the originality of the premise was something that I had much appreciation for. These days, all YA fantasy novels have the same basic ideas/plots, and readers often end up feeling like they’ve read multiple versions of the exact same story. Thankfully, though, this was not a problem I experienced with Foreign to You. The premise was not something that I’d seen before, and when I was able to make connections between it and real-world issues, I became even more fond of it!
But amongst all these pros, there were, unfortunately, a few cons.
I didn’t love the characters. This story is told in the alternating perspectives of protagonists Finn and Adelaide, neither of which I felt a real connection with. I hate using this word when describing fictional characters, but I just found them both so… bland. Especially Adelaide. Despite the fact that she narrates in the first person POV, I was never really interested in her thoughts because they just read off as very dull (another word I hate to use!). I was never all that devoted to her character simply because she lacked much-needed unique qualities that would allow her to stand out more amongst other characters in YA fiction.
I also thought that the characters’ relationships needed more development. Early in the book, Finn’s close friend, Jay, meets a devastating end when he is brutally killed before Finn’s very eyes. Of course, having been close with him and all, Finn is very saddened by the death of his friend and is drowned by feelings of grief and sorrow.
When a fictional character goes through such difficult hardships, you often find that you come into contact with their deeper emotions and feelings, which is a great way to get to know them better. But unfortunately, since Finn and Jay’s friendship was so brief and undeveloped in the story, it was difficult for me to sympathize or feel any emotion towards Finn’s dealing with Jay’s death. This is a problem that I’ve had the misfortune of experiencing before in YA literature, in novels like Reign of the Fallen (see my review for it here), where relationships are so one-dimensional that we can’t connect with the characters at all. I guess you could just say that I wish the author of this novel had given us a little more time to get to know Jay as a character so we could relate to Finn as he struggled with the pain of Jay’s being killed.
But overall, I’m glad I read this book. Jeremy Martin’s commendable ability to weave words into enchanting and lyrical sentences give Foreign to You an addictive/can’t-put-this-down quality. I’d recommend this novel if you enjoy beautifully written books that will captivate you till the very last page!
Thank you to NetGalley, NineStar Press, and Jeremy Martin for providing me with a review copy of this book!