Derailed / Ouroboros

This review is brought to you as part of the Virtual Book Tour for Ouroboros hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. Please note that it may contain spoilers for Moribund. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Ouroboros was written by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge and first published in 2018. It is an urban fantasy story, which focuses on two fae princess on a mission to stop deadly creatures from manifesting on earth. The novel forms the second part of the Circuit Fae series and carries on from shortly after Moribund (2017) left off, so you really need to read the books in sequence to fully appreciate them.

Now that Syl has awakened, she needs to learn how to control her magical powers. The threat of the Moribund still lingers over her home town. Before Agravaine died, he planted an unknown number of eggs around the city. If these aren’t found and destroyed, they quickly start to hatch out into Ouroboros – terrifying Moribund constructs that exist to infect and devour. With Rouen at her side, she spends her nights hunting down the Ouroboros. However, their mission is hindered by an unexpected complication.

As Syl is a Light Fae and Rouen is a Dark Fae, their powers are fatal to one another. To make things worse, Rouen’s touch automatically causes Syl’s powers to blaze out of control as they instinctively lash out to purify the darkness. The only way that Rouen can hope to withstand Syl’s power is by forming a soul-bond with her but that is impossible. To form a soul-bond, she would either need to best her father in a duel and become queen, or drain a Light Fae princess’s blood.

Things grow more complicated still as they are targeted by enemies both old and new. Fiann has returned to school and is as crazy as ever. She still wants to be the queen of the Dark Fae and puts a dangerous plan in motion to ensure that this comes to pass. At the same time, Syl is approached by a Light Fae prince named Aldebaran. He claims that she has been promised to him, and if they don’t become soul-bound soon it will spell the end to the Light Fae. Syl and Rouen though that their troubles would end with Agravaine’s death, but things have just become much more complicated…

Before I talk about Ouroboros, I just felt that I should briefly mention Derailed. This is a novella that Eldredge published earlier this year that forms a prequel to the series. It is set shortly before Moribund and tells the story of how Syl and Rouen first met. The novella isn’t a necessary read, as these events are fully described in Moribund, yet it does serve as a good refresher if you can’t quite remember what came first. However, if you’re new to Eldredge’s world, Derailed is not the best place to start. Despite being a prequel, it’s more a companion story to Moribund and so you should definitely approach the stories in publication order.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about Ouroboros. If you read my review of Moribund, you might remember that I wasn’t its biggest fan. However, I am pleased to say that Ouroboros is a marked improvement on that story. For starters, Eldredge did a lot more with the world building this time around. Not only do we get to meet other Dark and Light Fae, but the protagonists visit both of the Fae Kingdoms – the UnderHollow and the OverHill – and so we get to appreciate just how different the two races are.

I also felt that the concept of the Moribund was handled a lot better in this story. While I was a little confused about how the infection spread in the previous book, it’s made a lot clearer this time. I also like the concept of the Ouroboros, as it seemed like a natural progression for the infection. Like a virus, it evolves and adapts if left unchecked. My only small gripe is that I would have liked for the Ouroboros to have been mentioned earlier. I may be misremembering, but I don’t believe that this was ever mentioned in Moribund and so did feel as though I had missed something when this was referenced at the start of the novel.

The plot of Ouroboros is nicely paced and the book is very well written. Despite the fact that the over 120 pages longer than Moribund, it gets to the core of the action faster and builds to an exhilarating climax. Yet, despite the fact that the story felt a lot more focused, the book still contained an unnecessary amount of repetition. While this could well be a personal issue, I didn’t really see the need for every chapter to recap everything that had happened previously. Readers just don’t need to be constantly reminded of things like what Rouen needs to become human, or why Aldebaran is the worst.

It should also possibly noted that this is possibly the most “YA” novel that I have ever reviewed. That’s not necessarily a criticism, but I’m not really sure how to put it into words better than that. While some readers may find this to be off-putting, if you’re a fan of young adult tropes and like your stories to be chock-full of angst, this is certainly the story for you. The only teen fiction check box that this novel doesn’t tick is the love triangle, and for that I’m immensely grateful.

Ouroboros was also stronger than its prequel when it came to the characterisation of its protagonists. Syl and Rouen now have noticeably different voices, with Syl providing most of the optimism and Rouen being a fountain of gothic angst. I really thought that their relationship was handled well, with the prejudices of their respective races reflecting neatly the prejudice that they now face from their human peers due to their openly gay relationship. I really did get attached to the two of them as the story progressed and I loved how that, no matter what happened, they remained supportive of each other and never faltered in their love.

However, the villains of the story still lack subtlety. Fiann and Aldebaran both suffer from the same issue that I noted about Agravaine in Moribund – they are motivated by power. Both of them want to be all powerful rulers of the Fae and they don’t care who they crush to satisfy that goal. However, beyond this, they didn’t really have any depth. Fiann is still the embodiment of the spoiled, rich cheer leader, while Aldebaran was the voice of male privilege. While they were very easy to hate, it would have been nice if Eldredge had given us a reason to empathise with them and understand why they behave in this way.

So anyway, I think that about covers it. While Ouroboros isn’t perfect, I did find it a lot easier to get into than Moribund was. It’s a fast-paced story which centres on a pair of protagonists that you really do root for. Hopefully, this is a sign that the Circuit Fae series is on the up. I am very curious to see if the next instalment will be stronger still.

Derailed can be purchased as a Paperback and eBook on Amazon.co.uk

Ouroboros can be purchased as a Paperback and eBook on Amazon.co.uk

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Giselle [Xpresso Reads]
    Apr 06, 2018 @ 14:33:44

    Thanks for hosting today, Kim! This sounds well written and entertaining overall! 🙂

    Reply

  2. Genevieve Iseult Eldredge
    Apr 07, 2018 @ 16:01:19

    Thanks for hosting me and OUROBOROS!

    Reply

  3. Trackback: Dethroned / Inimical | Arkham Reviews

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