Reviews

The Bright and the Pale, by Jessica Rubinkowski

egurgens's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional hopeful mysterious reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.25

First of all: I absolutely loved this book. The idea, the execution, is just fantastic. Plot twists, political plots, gods, monsters, some horror, romance, family, ugh. Just so good. The only thing that I struggled with is that there was a lot of down time
Spoiler the mountain
Spoiler where there could have been more plot. Also Valerias main character trait is her anger, which sorta makes sense, but I would’ve liked some more variation. I definitely need the next book, like, now. But it doesn’t come out until next March 😥

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wanderingbookish's review against another edition

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adventurous dark fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

mellarkbakery10's review

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5.0

really loved the folklore, world-building, and plot twists in this! Valeria was very in touch with and expressive about her emotions, which i really appreciated seeing. the ending was so amazing and filled with so many revelations, i can’t wait to see where the sequel goes!

andrxae_'s review against another edition

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4.0

When I first read the synopsis of this book, I became instantly interested on it. Would I have grabbed it as an instant read? Probably not, but since it came in my monthly book box I decided to give it a chance.
I was actually hyped for it, thought it was going to be a nice easy read and... oh boy was I wrong.

First hundred pages in, I nearly put this book down. Suddenly the nice, smooth path I thought I would glide through had become too rocky. Let me explain, the structure of the book was very clear: you basically got parts that acted as the climax and after the tension came the anticlimax; it altered between high and, immediately after, low stakes with a couple of character development chapters. Kind of like a rollercoaster. This seemed fitting for the book however, my problem was that those said scenes which were supposed to be the climax didn't quite reach that top level for me. This made me loose my interest.

Nevertheless, I kept going and it is here we enter the last 2/3 of the book. *sigh* How the tables turn... It got me hooked. Maybe it was because I was rather stressed before or whatever but the plot suddenly became much more intriguing, the tension scenes were spot on and I have to admit, I was legitimately scared during some of those scenes.
So yeah, definitely can confirm it gets much better as you get to the end and I'm grateful the end surprised me too :)
To finish off, I want to add I really liked the Pale God. I mean, this man intrigues me. Don't know why, nobody knows it. Also, Val I thought you annoying sometimes, mostly because you're angry half the time and make ridiculous choices but we do get to see this character growing and I'm hoping that in the next book you use that anger to your favour; just like she begins to do toward the finale of this one.
Overall, this debut novel is a good start to Rubinkowski's author journey, I will certainly read the sequel and recommend this book for a nice, cozy, short read during a winter storm.

klemiki's review against another edition

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5.0

It's like Shadow&Bone meets Assassin's blade meets Korra meets Suriel meets my own story and I stan it!

lise_books's review

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4.0

I really enjoyed this. It was a fun, quick read. It was definitely plot driven and I really captured my attention. I would have like a little bit more character building and a little more worldbuilding, but overall, I really did enjoy it and would recommend to anyone looking for a fun, quick read.

jennybear86's review against another edition

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3.0

This story is fun quick and easy and feels immersed in Russian setting. But I don’t know if this was the right characters and story for me they just didn’t speak to me like some characters do

slstrong's review

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adventurous dark emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

vivaldi's review

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2.5

I seem to have a very hit or a miss track record with my secondary tbr's. The Bright & the Pale being on the "miss" lane. I think this is one of the books where the worldbuilding has potentials: it's atmospheric (I love the wintry landscape that's described in the book), it provides plenty of ingrdients for thematic developments, but unfortunately the actual execution of the writing falls way short.

Instead of stretching the limits, Rubinkowski played it safe with the character arcs and the plots. And through playing it safe, the actual essence of the writing is overly simplified and the messaging diluted. This is frustrating because despite the short length of the novel, I struggled to finish the whole thing due to the lack of coherent messages.

N.B. This book contains following content warnings: death, loss of loved ones, and violence

(2.5 stars out of 5)

jupiterlee's review

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adventurous mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.5

I am not usually one for reading books based off folklore as I sometimes feel like it will either be a retelling or it will ruin the folklore it's based off but since I am not familiar with the folklore this is based off I can say that it was a pleasant surprise.

It wasn't folklore heavy and whether that is a good thing or a bad thing will entirely depend on individual taste, but for me it was enough. It was a unique concept for me and it really was a great introduction to this type of folklore for me.

As a fantasy book however I did feel that some world building was missing, but it was made up with action from the start. It was a fast pace book that focused on the plot and nearer the end we started learning a bit more about some of the characters. I did find myself taking a break from it though as I did feel in the middle it dragged a little: this isn't the type of book that should haven't taken me two weeks to read. However by the end I was totally hooked again and I look forward to seeing the fate of these characters.

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