On the surface, Cobweb Bride has everything I should love in a book. A fairytale-esque setting, the focus on ladies being awesome, Death in love with a bride. I should have loved this book. Unfortunately I didn’t. That’s not to say that it’s a bad book, because it’s not, but it could have been so much better than what it was. The first half is mostly all set up for the second half, and while that’s not usually a bad thing, the set up was meandering. There’s a lot of walking around, POV switches to characters that will play a part in the story, and no real sense of urgency to anything despite the fact that Death has completely stopped doing his job. That being said, the second half when all the characters finally come together is the better part of the book, and it managed to keep my interest. It’s a shame there was so much time spent on the set up for the second half and the second book, because the first half really does drag the novel down. The writing itself was beautiful at first, but as the story went on it became a little unrestrained and started falling into the overwritten purple prose area. While some of the descriptions are truly beautiful, there are some that just go on forever and repeat information we already sat through (such as one character remembering how they killed another and that character didn’t die, something we’d already seen play out.) It got a little better by the end as more action was happening, but there were some passages that truly tested my patience. However, even if most of those issues had been addressed... there was one major element of the book that would have kept me from ever truly loving it, even if the rest had been the most amazing thing I’d ever read. Major spoilers under the cut. So one of the main characters, a man named Vlau, murders the daughter of the Emperor and Empress, a sickly girl called Claere. She doesn’t die, obviously, and when she asks Vlau why he killed her, he explains that the Emperor had ruined his family, killed his father on supposedly unfounded treason charges, and killed his brother as well, and left them in dishonour. It’s only lightly touched on that while Vlau’s hatrd is understandable, killing Claere was not right. And then Claere and Vlau end up falling in love, as Claere has him take her to Death’s Keep in order to become the Cobweb Bride. This literally astounded me with how horrific and offensive it was. This guy kills her in revenge for what happened to his family (something she had no part in, mind) and yet I’m supposed to approve of them falling in love with each other? Sorry, no. I don’t care that his hatred was valid. He killed a young girl just to get back at her parents for what they did to his family. That is not romantic. It ruined quite a good bit of the novel for me, for obvious reasons. Overall there are some hints of a good story in this novel, and given where we leave Percy I might be interested in reading the next book in the trilogy, Cobweb Empire. But given the issues I had, I may decide not to. See more of my reviews at On The Nightstand!