Why did I start reading it? Initiation was a review request I decided to pick up because it sounded like an isekai (I was wrong)
What is it? On the road between two towns, people talk of a forest that doesn't exist. Hannah has memories of playing there when she was little but the dreams of those memories are becoming too real and the forest is calling her back.
What are the characters like? Characters were pretty well fleshed out bar a couple of issues I had. I can't say they were the reason I kept reading but I was impressed by how many faces they showed. Throughout the book, I was wondering where people sat on issues and who to trust.
What's the bad news? I had two main issues with this book. The first was I didn't like our protagonist. She was really bratty and selfish for a lot of the book. It was annoying but I kept going because characters grow and I wanted to know what was going on. To her credit, she did grow but much later than I would have liked. The second was a particular relationship Hannah had. It felt a bit weird that we never got to see her interact with the other character until it came time for him to sacrifice for her. The book states that he cares about her but it was hard to see how this came about when most of the time we've seen her act pretty nasty to basically everyone.
And the good news? A couple of things made this book shine. One was the author didn't hold back on anything. Sure, maybe that didn't work in its favour for Hannah's personality but for everything else. Consequences, motivations everything was pretty full-on and vibrant. Normally I really want to latch onto a character when I read something but I didn't need to with this book. The mystery in the plot and great pacing kept me reading. I looked down at my percentage at one point and was shocked at how much I read in one sitting. Second was there was a very nice twist near the end. The pieces were placed, I was starting to suspect so it wasn't a complete surprise but enough for me to have to pause and go, wait what does that mean? I obviously can't say too much about it but it was very fun and I'm looking forward to the rest of this series!
Would you recommend? Yes. A strong start to a trilogy, Initiation is an interesting fantasy with fleshed-out characters and a mystery that will lock you in.