I really wanted to like this book, but for the first half I struggled to get into it. Everything was just so bleak and dark and depressing. I hated the negativity and couldn't stand the characters. I also felt like nothing particularly happened the first half, except that we got front row seats to Irene's obsession with Rain... because I'm sorry but whatever she feels for him is not pure love... but I'm not going to get into their relationship psychology right now.
So there I was at 50%, hating that I was about to DNF a book that I really wanted to like going in... when suddenly it just got incredibly good! I don't even know what changed, because I still don't like the characters (I guess it's more realistic when you have characters that are not the normal trope?) ! I don't know, but I went from about to give it up to being riveted! Suddenly the plot had me hooked and I enjoyed the originality and the grittiness and the familiarity of the customs and location (even though I've never been to Joburg... and after this I really don't want to go either).
There were still parts that I think could have been elaborated on... like Irene's whole family and their vibe and backstory. I would especially have loved to learn more about her mother and the vague remark about Dale also being affected by her magic
. And it could definitely have done a better job of drawing me in from the start. If I had rated it simply on the last part of the book it would have been an easy 4... Maybe even a 5! I'm still rating it a 4 (simply because I can't bring myself to go any lower... it really got good man!), but for overall experience it's probably closer to 3 1/2