TWIN DAGGERS, by MarcyKate Connolly, Blink, Aug. 25, 2020, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
MarcyKate Connolly’s Twin Daggers is billed as a fantasy spin on Romeo and Juliet, but it doesn’t quite live up to the source material.
By day, Aissa and Zandra play the role of normal young Technocrats eager to fulfill the duties of their new apprenticeships. By night, they plot their revenge to retake their city from the Technocrats. But then Aissa is given a new mission: find and kidnap the heir to the Technocrat throne, who is rumored to be one of the Heartless—a person born without a working heart who survives via a mechanical replacement—and has been hidden since birth.
Aissa is more likely to be caught than to be successful, but she’s never been one to turn down an assignment, even if the hunt is complicated by a kind Technocrat researcher who is determined to find a cure for the Heartless. But when Zandria is captured by the Technocrats, Aissa will do anything to get her sister back. Even if it means abandoning all other loyalties and missions … and risking everything by trusting her sworn enemies. —Synopsis provided by Blink
I wish that we could stop promoting books as “a cross between this or that” or a retelling or reimagining of something else. When this happens, the book starts at a deficit. I already have an idea of what might happen, and my expectations are based on the previous story/stories.
This is definitely the case with Twin Daggers. I wouldn’t have necessarily have tied it to Romeo and Juliet without the above reference, and it would have been better for it. That’s not to say that I would have fallen in love with the book, but I would have appreciated it more overall.
Connolly is a strong world builder, though it took a while to fully understand her vision. I found the machine/technology elements particularly interesting. There are a few things that are never completely explained, leaving me to wonder if the author forgot about them or if she plans to expand on them in the book’s sequel.
Twin Daggers is not a dynamic read, and there are moments that seem to drag. However, the story was compelling enough that I wanted to see where Connolly was heading. I have a feeling the second book will be the stronger of the two. I’d recommend this as a library read.
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