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    Have you ever ate something that was a combination of several ingredients you didn’t like – only to find that the final dish was actually really, really good? That was what came to mind after finishing Malachite. Malachite is a high fantasy novel featuring three main characters: Jean, Marion and Tris. The story is told from these three characters’ perspectives. The plot alternates between present and past for the first one-third to one-half of the book, before continuing on in the present till the very end. First and foremost, I generally dislike stories with “flashback” chapters. However, Kirby does a good job with not focusing too much in the past – these flashback chapters are usually one-half to one-third the length of the “present” chapters. The author does a good job leaving small enough gaps that readers can easily fill in with what we’re given – which is probably why we don’t have humongous flashback chapters that alone take up half of the book (thank goodness for that). I guess what I’m trying to say is that we’re given enough details without actually given all the details. I also tend to not like stories told through more than two characters’ perspectives. BUT, Kirby did something here – she made all these characters interesting and also vital to one another. Readers learn about the characters as individuals, but gradually come to understand that they all exist in a triangular relationship – a polygon that can only exist with all three of them. Without one, there is no definition in what they have. Was it a bit confusing how it came to that point? Perhaps a little. But I can’t really complain by the end, and was actually very impressed with the outcome. In terms of world building, I will give this two thumbs up. The world of Malachite became richer as I continued reading – a great blend of landscapes, cultures, races with touches of real life influences, and a different approach to the balance of power. Plus, the author has a great writing style that sets the appropriate tone and atmosphere. While there are many things that I absolutely loved with this book, there were a couple of things that bothered me. One was the pacing – not necessarily with the plot, but with the progression in the relationship(s) between the characters. Things seemed kind of rushed towards the end, which made things a bit harder to swallow, but wasn’t a deterrent to my overall enjoyment of the relationship dynamic. The second problem I had was the proofreading. I found myself stumbling over extra words, or misplaced words throughout my readings that made me go over the sentences more slowly. It wasn’t enough for me to subtract any stars from my rating, but it did force me out of the moment a few times. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Malachite. If you’re looking for something different from your everyday M/M romance, and aren’t afraid to put on your high fantasy hat, then definitely give this book a go!

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