An Exchange of Gifts

[openbook booknumber=”0809556855″]

[rating:2/5]

A princess named Anastasia runs away from home and fakes her death to escape a marriage that is about to be forced upon her by her father the king. She finds herself in a run down hut and woefully unprepared for the life of an independent with no servants to wait upon her or skill to make up the lack. That’s when the boy Wisp stumbles into her life. A waif of a boy, he’s a runaway too and the two soon help each other to survive in the backwoods alone. Until the secrets they have kept from each other plunge them into danger and risk tearing them apart.

An Exchange of Gifts had all the makings of a really great book, in my opinion: there was a great set-up, interesting plot, a backstory about magical Gifts and traditions, and characters that were engaging and well rounded. Unfortunately this novel was never really finished in my opinion. The book in its current form would have made a great rough first draft of said novel, but to publish it as it is, I think, took away a lot of what this novel could have become if it had been fleshed out a little more. As it is, you can read the whole book in 20 minutes and, while being an interesting diversion, you can’t help thinking the author could have done better than this.


‘Scuse me, lady, but I’m Wisp, ’cause that’s all I am, a wisp of a thing, not much good for changing a thing in the world,” said the boy for when he stepped inside, the light from the grimy window gave her a good view of his anxious, pointed little face.

I actually wanted to care about the characters and have a little more danger and a little more romance thrown into the mix, but as it was with the book so short there just wasn’t any time for any development whatsoever. The romance that did make an appearance in the book came very late and was very rushed to the point of being unbelievable as there was almost no lead up to it. This was also true of the plot point about Gifts, everything we learned about them we learned as we went along with no discussion of them beforehand. So the big denouement involved an event that we didn’t even know to anticipate or look forward to.

So, while a fun book to read for the 15-20 minutes you’ll be reading it, I had to give it a low two stars. It just wasn’t a fleshed out or finished novel in my opinion, and that made it all the more disappointing as it seemed to me that it really could have been with such a great set-up as was already present. The publisher should definitely not have published what was so obviously a rough first draft.

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