Aurora is a young girl with a passion for decorating cakes, wracked with guilt for landing her mother in a mental institution. Having lived her whole life with a mother obsessed with the danger the darkness brings, Rory finds out her mother isn’t as delusional as she believed when she finds herself kidnapped by a demon and carted off to Palladino, the city of ghosts.
Here she finds herself under the care of Lady Cavendish, who, determined to prepare her for the Unveiling and subsequent auction, puts Rory through her paces in classes designed to make her graceful, elegant and perfect – everything Rory isn’t.
Determined to escape and make it back home, the last thing Rory needs is yet more complications and nasty surprises. But faced with the Ghost Lords’ scheming, Lady Cavendish’s hidden agenda, the other girls’ sabotage and the looming auction, simply surviving suddenly looks a whole lot harder.
While we both needed a few chapters to get the hang of Rory and the setting of Palladino, there is no doubt that Cho has created a unique world that, given half a chance, will draw you right in and keep you firmly in your seat until the last page.
The characters are as well-developed as the setting with Rory’s newfound friends (and not-so-friends!) providing as much entertainment in Rory’s various escapades as Rory herself. And although Rory can, at times, develop a tendency to parrot questions back at whomever she’s talking to, she is a very real character that you can’t help but root for and, despite the hidden dangers of Palladino, encourage to go out and explore as much of the city as she can. She does make mistakes and stupidly irrational decisions which can leave you wanting to throttle her at times – but at the same time it was very refreshing to read about a character who actually made those kinds of decisions and had to deal with the consequences.
The plot did have the occasional hint of déjà-vu and at times ran a little too smoothly at first, leaving us a bit hungry for more horrible stuff to happen. But that does not mean the story is boring – far from it! Packed with action and plot twists, events (and catastrophes!) did pick up and the way things ended left no doubt that the proverbial crap will hit the fan big time in the next book.
Overall, Rory is a book that will keep you reading to the end. With lovable characters – human, ghosts, demons and even cats! – and the promise of a surprising world, we cannot wait to read more about Palladino and uncover its darkest secrets!