**spoiler alert** On the one hand, I liked the two main characters. I felt that Shelby started out the story lost in her life. Things had not gone wel...more**spoiler alert** On the one hand, I liked the two main characters. I felt that Shelby started out the story lost in her life. Things had not gone well for her and she found herself getting into trouble as she made choices that started with good, if not well thought out, intentions but turned into trouble.
She gets sent to a "Brat Camp" for the summer to help her "shape up." She is not happy about this decision, especially because her step-mother, whom she does not care for, seems to be pushing the decision.
What we see in her as the story starts is that she wants to take care of people- protect them. She's genuinely upset when Charles, Mr. Winters and then Austin disappear into the woods and it seems as though they are going to be left there when the replacement bus arrives. Her impulse to follow them into the woods because she has some knowledge and wants to help is a real thing- a true part of who Shelby is. She's not trying to be anyone else at that moment and we get to see who she is.
I liked that she was active- she made choices, even if they weren't the best. She was not constantly reacting to actions happening TO her.
I was frustrated with her choice to not voice her real feelings to her father. She never tried to get him alone, tried to sit down and talk about where her life was. On the one hand, I understand that many young adults don't feel that they can communicate with their parents in that way but watching her try to fight parental controls without ever really expressing why was frustrating.
Austin was a pretty great character. He was what I wish Edward Cullen could have been. I like that he's not hundreds of years old, that he knows and understands who and what he is, and that he does have a family where he belongs.
His issues with his father felt big, in the sense that to be disconnected from your remaining parent must be like, but it was a normal type of issue that any kid could relate to.
I like that he was a good person and he let it show. Helping Ariel when she was freaking out on the rock climbing wall was a pretty great scene and if I didn't already like the character, that would have sealed the deal for me.
There were wolf stuff seemed a bit tacked on- he needed to be supernatural and the vampire thing is just so over done- but really, I'm glad it wasn't the focus of ever interaction that they had. I liked that Shelby was skeptical but was willing to believe when she was able to see it with her own eyes.
However, there were some plot problems that keep me from truly loving this book. There are a ton of plot lines that are left hanging and not even in a good, "to be continued" way.
The scratch on her arm at the end with puncture wounds- are we to assume that he bit her? That she was bitten by someone/something else? It felt out of place and tacked on that late in the book. That there was no real hook to make me think that there is going to be another book only made it worse. It felt unfinished.
I didn't like the lack of resolution regarding her parents. There was interesting set up with the phone call from the office, esp. with how happy Pricilla sounded when she heard that it was Shelby. Also, the letter to Shelby's father- all we get is a postcard that says they'll talk?
What it really boils down to is this feels like the first half of a much longer book. My guess is that it is a longer book that was split into smaller sections to be sold over a longer period of time. Do they think that young adult (esp. young adult women) won't read a longer book? Twilight (ugh) is proof positive that they will not only buy the long books but they will DEVOUR them.
My guess is that this a profit issue- they knew they had a pretty good book on their hands with characters that a reader could really connect with but they wanted to get the most bang for their buck. The fact that the book retails at $14.99 for just over 200 pages seems like overkill.
I will read the next book- I do want to know if she's going to become a werewolf or something else. I want to see Austin and Shelby on an adventure together, out in the real world. I liked them both as characters and would love to spend more time with them. I just wish it had been in THIS book instead of additional volumes.
To sum up: Loved the characters. Great story set-ups but the payoffs felt rushed. Wish there had been more here. (less)
**spoiler alert** My feelings on this one are very tainted by the show, "Legend of the Seeker". Characters in my mind looked like those on the show an...more**spoiler alert** My feelings on this one are very tainted by the show, "Legend of the Seeker". Characters in my mind looked like those on the show and not always what Goodkind described.
Which I feel is a good thing, or at least can be a good thing.
There were a number of elements in this book that I felt were dragged out for too long. It felt very jerky- things would move along quickly, then slow down and drag. The ending was very rushed, in my mind.
I'm not sure what I feel about the "big reveal" about Richard at the end of the novel. It seems very tacked on- a last minute addition to the story.
I am also a bit miffed that Rahl was "defeated" so easily. It's so obvious that he will be returning in future books that this 820 page monster almost felt like a waste of time.
All that said, I was drawn in to Richard and Kahlan's star-crossed love, Rochard's journey to find who he is, his terrible adventure with the Mord Sith. There were moments when I just couldn't read fast enough.
I will be picking up book 2 in this series but it will be a library book, not a purchase.(less)