Received an Advanced Reader’s Copy from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
This may just one of the hardest reviews I have ever written. There was a lot of thought I needed to put into writing what I felt, because there were many mangled thoughts and emotions and often they overlapped and I’m still unsure if I will do a good job. This review might be mildly spoiler-y, do not read if you haven’t read Given. It’s probably going to be long, put up with me. ❤
I’ve a bit of a soft spot for any Wattpad Novel and I often
pounce on request anything that Wattpad publishes. There are very many amazing authors out there and Wattpad gives voice to them and I’ll forever love them for that. Given by Nandi Taylor was a book I was very excited for and I was super super thrilled to begin reading it.
There are many aspects to Given that are very lovely. All the culture that we get to see and especially the deep thought that has clearly gone into the different practices, runes, rules and unique customs of the tribes and people. The absolute confidence with which all these details were laid out had me very impressed and kept me interested in the book. However, it felt to me as if because we don’t get any introduction to any of this I didn’t get to fully enjoy them or feel the depth with which the meaning of each ritual/custom was practiced.
Another aspect of this book, of course that was eventually something I truly began to enjoy, was how the idea of consent was handled. Even consent to be pursued. The ideology of fated lovers has a certain … set of ideas it comes with–even for a reader. This book questions all those ideas and works on actually creating a relationship between the protagonists. A lot of the questions that are thrown at the male lead are those that we often would ask in reality, but never question when we read in a book. And of course, the questions the heroine asks (metaphorically) are hard questions to society on the so-called gender roles that everyone is made to be trapped in.
I do feel that the author naturally writes a healthy relationship, because it was then when I really fell into the writing. I did feel the parts where the hero was behaving all caveman, was a little stilted. I would’ve preferred that the relationship was healthy from the start, simply because the message would’ve come across beautifully without feeling the minor discordant tune of being shown how-one-shouldn’t-be-in-a-relationship. Despite that, the growth of their relationship was lovely and healthy and I did enjoy seeing it blossom into what it was.
It did take a bit to get used to the heroine, given her rigidity to change of customs in the beginning and how she may come off as unbending. However, as the story progresses, there are a lot of changes that take place in Yenni as well and even if there are things she ought to have done/realized earlier, she does eventually, as best as she can.
There were many sudden incidents where things come together/fall apart and this happens many times–be it miracles immediately after a prayer, or an issue fizzling away or what felt like unexplained grudges that suddenly came to an end or just exploded–which felt a little unbelievable after the first two times.
Three point five stars.