I'm so terrible. I don't WANT to say it, and I feel like a total unintelligent book-snob for feeling this way but...
This book was painfully boring. I know, I know. I should be more open minded, especially considering the fact that I've bitched for years saying I always wanted Darcy's perspective on the Pride and Prejudice story. Here I have it, handed to me on a silver friggin' platter and apparently my picky-ass brain says it's not enough. Go frackin' figure, right? Well, it's not.
"So what could possibly be wrong with this, Jacqueline?!" as I'm sure you're absolutely not asking yourself. The short answer is...Wait for it!...Not a single thing. Yeah, anticlimactic, I know, and so not helpful. But, the reality is there simply isn't something that I can point to and say with absolute certainty, "This! This thing, right here, is the downfall of this novel and all ye who write said thing shall collectively go off yourself!" The writing is great, truly detailed with vivid description that doesn't bog itself down with its own weight. The characters match their source material excellently. The plotting adheres wonderfully to the original with just enough deviation to keep it interesting.
I DON'T KNOW! Honestly, my biggest and best guess has to be the fact that I'm too much of a modern book snob. Yes, I know this is fanfiction and a retelling written by a modern author, but sadly I've become too used to stories where there's a heavy focus on the lead couple spending a good chunk of time together. Shhhh! *Dodges the thrown shoe.* Yes, I KNOW I'm a walking moron, especially when considering that's the antithesis of the Pride and Prejudice story and how dare I be so asinine as to use that as a criticism. I know, I hate myself too.
So, what's the takeaway, here? Well, people, (as if anyone's actually reading this but we'll pretend so for my sake), the reality is I didn't like this book, and I want you to read it because it's marvelous and I'm a dipshit. As I said, this author did an excellent job at walking the line between source material and new material. Her writing is orgasmically well done, she gets the characters in a way that so rarely ever happens in fanfiction, and I should be slapped in the face for still not finding enough emotional drama between Lizzie and Darcy to keep me reading until the end. So, please, DON'T take my DNF-word for it, and go read it, humans. Dear book, please know...
In every novel I read, there are always standard points that I ramble on about; plot, pacing, characters, writing style, etc. Such always helps me exp...moreIn every novel I read, there are always standard points that I ramble on about; plot, pacing, characters, writing style, etc. Such always helps me express my sentiments and reactions to the book I've just read.
However, sometimes doing this is damned impossible.
Generally, such has always been the case for Sherrilyn Kenyon's books and JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood. When I'm immersed body, mind and soul into a novel, I can't analyze it in the same manner I would with other books. The characters have, quite frankly, become too real and too close to my heart to even note them as being characters. Maybe that's crazy, maybe that's excessive, but who cares.
As such, that's exactly what happened with the first book in the Supernatural series based off the AMAZING CW television show.
This book was excellent. The story was entirely entertaining and the Winchesters in the book were almost an exact copy of the Sam and Dean Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles play. I truly can't say anything bad about the book! While there were a few brief moments that the Sam and Dean of "Nevermore" seemed to "break character" as it were, they were very few and far between. Overall, I loved the novel and can't wait to read the second one!(less)
This particular novel was quite the conundrum. On the one hand, the literary Sam and Dean were relatively true to form of their televised counterparts...moreThis particular novel was quite the conundrum. On the one hand, the literary Sam and Dean were relatively true to form of their televised counterparts, and thus as fan-fiction the book was standardly enjoyable. On the other? The supernatural plot of Witch's Canyon kind of sucked.
Overall, as far as a suspenseful, horror storyline is concerned, I wasn't too terribly impressed with Mariotte's take on a Sam-and-Dean case. Unlike the first book in the series (Nevermore by DeCandido), this particular novel was not well rounded. Not only did Nevermore contain the believable Sam and Dean characterizations, but it also held a more intricate plot line.
Perhaps an uncomplicated, cursed-town-killings novel basis allows for more appreciation of a dynamic, multifaceted plot evidence in book one, who am I to judge? As is, while the characterizations in Witch's Canyon seemed to break form every once in a while, reading book two of the Supernatural series was not without entertainment or enjoyment.(less)
What in the serious hellish effing fandom did I just read?! Of all the exceedingly weirdish books I've dived into feet-first, this has to be one of th...more
What in the serious hellish effing fandom did I just read?! Of all the exceedingly weirdish books I've dived into feet-first, this has to be one of the strangest explorations into "What The F!" that I have ever willingly endured. To say that I enjoyed this book would be a strange lie, for its partly true, though only because there was so much ouch-my-brain wrong with it, really! While I won't sullen Shannon Hale's name enough to compare her to Stephanie Meyer, sadly I must admit she was treading dangerously close to my Oh No You Didn't shit-O-meter.
Speaking of God-awful I'm-gonna-shank-my-brains-out-of-my-skull heroines...Bella and Jane; they're kinda sisters. With Jane, we've got pretty much the very definition of a blank as hell slate, and not much more. After having spent 193 pages with good ol' Jane what's-her-face, I know exactly two things; her obsession with finding the perfect man, a product of her Jane Austen fandom, has made her shittastic at finding a good man...and she likes to/used to paint. Yep! That's it, the makings of a kickass heroine who totally is spunky and apparently so awesome that we need not delve into any further characteristic traits at all!
Don't think about it too hard, there, Mr. Jack Skellington, you'll hurt yourself! Put bluntly, I'm hardcore bummed that Jane-chick was written in such a lackluster manner because, above all, this fact did a good job at single-handedly screwing this book in the anus for me. Oh, don't get me wrong, there's plenty more criticism coming for this novel, but when an author chooses to write from the first person omniscient, and the reader still leaves the book knowing jack-crap about the personality, identity, or characteristics of the lead, that's some pretty effed up crap to get past.
While admittedly I frequently had the aforementioned violent tendencies towards Jane's head, she wasn't irredeemably irksom. While her uber relationship-obsessed mentality was violence-inducing (and please keep in mind I read romance novels obsessively!), to say Jane was written without personality would be a lie. Throughout the book there were moments of enjoyable spunky attitude, and she did have an individualized witty nature that came through on occasion. This, coupled with the fact that a train wreck is still entertaining, no matter how unspeakably terrible, is probably why I kept on a'trucking with this novel.
Yeaah...So, a heroine who's a whole lotta nothing, what more we got? Lots! While Jane was a blank slate, at least she had occasion to be all, "Hey! I'm a person!" with her character...not so much for every other animal, vegetable, and mineral that appears in Austenland, the book. I literally can't even recall the cast of characters within the story, other than the Martin dude and the discount Mr. Darcy. Hell, with one character of the story, the only one who demonstrates any identity at all, (I call her Big Tits because apparently, that really is her identifier in the book, and I'm only just-barely joking there), she disappears after the second half of the novel entirely! It's like, "Oh, here's a character who's an obvious entertaining airhead, wonder where this is gonna go?" And, alas, the answer is nowhere, ass-faster than a Kony 2012 Facebook post.
So, now that I've bitched and moaned enough about all the characters and caricatures in this book, let's change the subject before this shit gets old. As bad as the people in this story were, nothing could compare to the god-awfulness that is the technical elements of the novel. Again, no one can be as bad a writer as Stephanie Meyer, not even Shannon Hale, but oh...the similarities. The pacing and rhythm of a story can make or break a book, and in the case of Austenland, such broke it harder than a non-lubed condom. During the scenes that didn't fly by so quick I swore they were dosed up on PCP, I was bashing my brains into crushed glass enduring scenes that felt slower than a dead body, driving. There literally was no constant pace throughout the entire book, and holy-cheese-balls this was irritating!
In all seriousness, and with all bad-joking aside, I could forgive all the book's painful sins noted thus far if the story itself had been believable. The setup, the existence of Austenland, the place itself could have worked as a genuine character within the story as a whole. The big damned problem was the fact that, despite being THE FRAKKIN' TITLE OF THE STORY...Austenland never once felt legitmate. I could suspend my disbelief and see it as a realistic vacation spot, but I could never buy into it as being a true setting. No attention to detail was paid to the landscape of the estate, both inside and out, after the initial "here's Jane walking into this place for the first time" scene. Aside from the more refined dialogue of manor's actors, this book could have been set anywhere and the Austen element completely removed for all the good it did. Hell, the "Darcy" obsession felt more like a code word for a modern "Mr. Perfect" than anything regarding the Regency era!
Likewise, Scarlet! Hell, even the plotting of this book couldn't save it from the WHY MUST THERE BE SHITTY BOOKS rage I'm feeling. If ever a novel needed an external conflict in the history of all books ever written, it's this one. Sometimes I bemoan novels for copping out and leaning too heavily on outward plot devices because I find that to be a lazy writer's method, but shit-fire! Here is a perfect example that, sometimes, on occasion, some crap needs to happen outside of the lead character's "first world problems" mentality.
In all honesty, while I have some ye ole big-time issues with this novel, overall I don't consider it to be as bad as Twilight, despite my book-rage noted earlier. While not a blissfully blissful book, the novel wasn't a collasal waste of time because there were some nice moments of enjoyment to be had in the story. And, if for nothing else, I was, as a reader, intrigued enough to continue to finish the story, train wreck and all. Any piece of fiction that doesn't get thrown against the nearest wall isn't book-burningly bad.
So, yes, while I'm certainly not a fan, I will admit that I'm still going to see this book-to-film adaptation. Overall, I can see how Hale's story might actually work better as a movie, assuming they cram in some more external conflict, or get one kick-ass narrator. So, indeed, I'll see the movie...but not in theaters. I can more than wait for the DVD release. 'Cause, c'mon, Jane was okay, but damn those flashback chapter opening sequences proved she is kind of a bitch. A boring bitch, at that.