Deluded Review – Girl of Myth and Legend
About the Book The Girl of Myth and Legend
- Written by Giselle Simlett
- 363 pages
- Published December 29th 2015
From Goodreads: Leonie learns from her father that she is last of the Pulsar, a phenomenally powerful member of a magical species called the Chosen. It will be her sole duty to protect the Imperium, a governing hierarchy, from all enemies, and to exceed the reputation of the Pulsar before her. She is swept away from her rigorous normality and taken to a world of magic. There, she is forced into a ceremony to join her soul to a guardian, Korren, who is both incredibly handsome and intensely troubled, a relationship for which ‘it’s complicated’ just really doesn’t cut it.
But Leonie is soon to learn that this ancient world is no paradise. With violent dissidents intent to overthrow the Imperium, and dark entities with their own agenda, she and Korren find themselves caught in a war where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to survive.
So. This book. It was one of those kind of books that I knew from the very first chapter what I would end up rating it. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t give it a shot, because I did. I read the whole thing eagerly trying to find points of redemption. Eventually, it did get a little better, but by that point, too much damage had been done.
Let’s start at the beginning. The main character is a girl called Leonie who immediately assures us that she is an ordinary girl with an ordinary life and that’s just the way it is. Riiiight. Of course she isn’t, and this type of insipid self-reflection isn’t fooling anyone for a second. We quickly learn that Leonie is a Chosen, a special race of beings that can do magic or something. I’m not really sure, because the difference between Chosens and normal human beings isn’t really explained other than the fact that they live in a different dimension and have powers. We don’t really see much of these powers in this book, as Leonie has yet to develop hers and she doesn’t ever seem to curious about finding out more about them.
Well, if there’s one thing I can appreciate here, it is the author’s transparency. She actually embraces the standard “chosen one” trope in young adult literature by calling the chosen people Chosens. However, the humor in that quickly faded as Leonie learns she is more than Chosen – she is the CHOSEN Chosen! OMG! No, seriously. The Chosen are divided into groups, based on how powerful their magic is. Leonie is actually the most powerful race of Chosens, called Pulsars, which had gone extinct hundreds of years ago. She’s the last Pulsar!
If this sounds like it’s too much, it’s because it is. The author goes from making fun of this trope to completely digging herself deeper into it.
Of course, her dad is also a Chosen, but decided never to tell his daughter about it all. Why? Well… dramatic tension, of course! Seriously, that’s pretty much it. Even when she learns she is a Chosen, he still withholds information from her until the end of the book. And (SPOILER) by the time he finally does start talking, he has like 30 seconds because death is imminent. His reasoning for never explaining anything is that he can see the future and didn’t want her to know what it held for her because he wanted her to be glorious and save the world. Uhhh… if he had really wanted her to save the world, it seems like informing her of that destiny could only make it easier to accomplish. Really, the only reason for this is to draw the reader along and try to keep them interested… which doesn’t really work. To be honest, it just frustrated me because there was no plausible excuse for it.
From here, Leonie is conveniently collected by some Chosen from the Imperium (the name of the Chosen world/city, I think. I dunno, there are too many made up names in this book for the low level of fantasy it is.) and is told that she must immediately head back there. Whatever. She arrives at the temple and meets a whole array of personality-less characters who don’t really matter in the long run (Seriously, they don’t. Everyone dies in the end.). Everyone reveres her almost as a god, which is ridiculous because she acts like she is a pre-teen brat from the 90s. Seriously, I’ve just never seen a 17 year old be so immaturely written.
The story continues, whatever, and Leonie finds out she has to be soul bound with this creature called a kytaen. Basically, they’re a sentient slave species that is commanded by the Chosen. Leonie is the ONLY one ever in the history of this world to ever see some kind of flaw in this practice. Really? Even her dad, who lived on earth and probably knows about the history of slavery in America and Britain and whatnot, just goes along with it and tells her to stop considering kytaen as people. Yeah, whatever.
Of course, her kytaen is a ridiculously handsome male who is about 20 years old in appearance. Except, he’s not even human – his natural form is a beast that is hundreds of years old. Also, he’s got “bronze-coloured hair,” eyes that are “a shade of bronze,” and his voice is “as succulent as sun-warmed honey.”
If you’ve ever read Twilight, you can obviously see the parallels between this character and Edward Cullen, so I’m sure you know what’s going to happen here. Of course, the two immediately share an indescribable bond that makes feel connected to one another, even though they aren’t soul bound yet.
OK, whatever. I can get over the cliche romance. What I can’t get over is why in the world Korren (that’s the kytaen’s name) would in ANY way respect or even tolerate her. The whole novel, Leonie is struggling with some sort of inner pain. It takes us a while to figure out what it is. For a while, I thought she was a lesbian and had tragically lost her lover. But as we finally learn, no, it is far from that dramatic. Basically, her best friend committed suicide in front of her. Granted, that does suck – a lot. In any normal case, you could understand her suffering.
HOWEVER, Korren is an ancient being who has been enslaved for his entire life. He has been treated like dirt and abused and tortured all at the whim of the Chosen. His had known no pleasure for his entire existence. YET… he sympathizes with Leonie. He feels bad for her! He thinks her pain is just as bad as his.
Um… no. Just no. For how much anger and spite and hatred Korren has toward the Chosen, there is absolutely NO WAY he could feel bad for his future master just because she suffered the death of a close person in her life. I’m sorry, just no. To think that her pain is anywhere close to his is absolutely ridiculous.
I’d also like to pause for a moment to bring up the general tone and voice of this novel. Well… it’s not very good. None of the characters speak or think like human beings. Leonie goes from being the most immature teenager ever with her corny PG sarcasm to an intellectual philosopher all within the turn of the page. I get that she might be a lighthearted soul who matures because she is going through a serious situation… but the transition is jarring. Most of the humor is something you might see in a children’s book – it’s like she’s not even close to being an adult. Also, I’ve never known a 17 year old to think of themselves as a kid. At that age, most teenagers are trying their hardest to be grown up. Yet Leonie is constantly referring to herself as such. In fact, I counted 7 instances in the book where she utters the phrase “I’m just a kid” or something akin to it. She is really written as though she is much younger than her nearly legal self. So again back to the Korren thing, I just don’t understand how he could in any way be attracted to her.
The Korren/Leonie romance doesn’t actually happen quite yet in this book, but it most certainly will. All the pieces have been set in motion. Even if though do maintain a platonic relationship, the fact that they even feel bonded to one another is just so silly, I can’t get over it.
So continuing on, eventually these rebels that want to overthrow the Imperium and the Chosen try to capture Leonie because she is basically everyone’s savior and could be a good bargaining tool. For some reason, even though Leonie has seen enough of how the Chosen act to dislike them, she still risks her life to avoid capture. There’s some action scenes finally, with chasing and fighting and such. We get a glimpse of some of the capabilities of magic, but not much. We learn a little bit more about why Leonie is special from her father, but he promptly dies. Korren and Leonie escape through a portal and have some more pointless bonding scenes on a mountain whilst surviving with a crushed leg and arm, respectively. Somehow they don’t die of dehydration or infection and continue to press on. Eventually the rebels capture Korren but Leonie somehow escapes and is rescued by a random bearded man… end book.
I guess overall, there just wasn’t that much of interest happening here. None of the characters were likable, and most were unbelievable as real human beings. The plot was pretty standard as young adult novels go and followed all of the main tropes without deviation. Dialogue was cringe-worthy and at the end, I really didn’t care if the characters lived or died.
Some of the strong points of the book… I do feel that the author did kind of a good job of creating this different world. True, we as a reader don’t know much about it yet, but it’s the most interesting thing that is happening. The idea that Leonie has a huge role to play in the future and that she is destined to destroy/save the world is kind of intriguing. Unfortunately, though, Girl of Myth and Legend just didn’t interest me enough to read the sequel. Sadly, I’ll never know how Leonie fares in the future and which path she chooses.