This book is a hard one for me to grade. I both loved and hated it in the extreme with very little middle ground. Ultimately, since it kept me turning...moreThis book is a hard one for me to grade. I both loved and hated it in the extreme with very little middle ground. Ultimately, since it kept me turning pages like crazy, I give it a neutral 3 stars.
My main issue with the story was the pacing. The first third of the book absolutely dragged. Blue Sargent, the main female protagonist, didn't even meet the "raven boys" until the book was this far along. Around the mid point, when Blue joined Gansey and Adam and Ronan on their quest for the magical ley lines, things began to pick up. And the ending, which involved a genuine mystery, was very well done. Most upsetting, however, is that the story never did touch upon the premise that is used to sell it - that it is fortold that Blue will kiss and kill her one true love. We got hints of what may happen, but nothing of substance leaving me feeling a bit like a victim of bait and switch.
Another issue I had was the psychic women that make up Blue's family. Much of what happens in the scenes involving Blue's mother, aunts and other family friends seemed flighty and disjointed. These women take the concept of eccentric to a whole new level, and it didn't ring true to to me. It wasn't the magical element that I had problems with, more the tangential style of dialogue and the fact that so often these women spoke to each other via body language that meant nothing to the reader. Too, the entire subplot involving Neeve dragged the story to a screeching halt.
Speaking of Neeve, I had a lot of problem with the names. Stiefvater was very creative with her names, but some of them didn't lend to easy reading. How, exactly, does a reader mentally pronounce "Gansey," "Aglionby", or "Neeve?"
My last quibble is that much of this story was downright confusing. While a few of the meandering threads tied up at the end, the whole search for the Welsh King Glendower felt very McGuffinish. I was never wholly convinced why this would drive the characters as they did. The ending was not so much of a cliffhanger as it was just a break in the story, which is not a nice thing to do to readers. I don't need all the answers, but I do need to feel like the time I've just spent has been somewhat concluded.
All of these things aside, I did enjoy the main characters who were very fleshed out and three-dimensional (except for Noah). Once the story kicked into gear, it read very quickly and kept me interested. I knew going in that this story was the first part of a series, so I wasn't too upset by the very abrupt ending. And the twist involving Noah was a surprise. I do want to know what happens, so I guess that means I'll be reading the next installment.(less)
Stellar premise. Horrible execution. I tried for three full weeks to finish this book and just couldn't do it. Every time I'd pick it up, I'd get such...moreStellar premise. Horrible execution. I tried for three full weeks to finish this book and just couldn't do it. Every time I'd pick it up, I'd get such a headache from eyerolling I'd have to put it back down again. None of the characters captured my interest enough to care. The writing I found to be all over the place. The only thing that kept me going for as long as I did was that I wanted to find out the big source of conflict keeping the two main characters apart, not that I felt any care at all if they got together or not. More, I wanted to know what the author had come up with. I never did find out because I just can't read another page. Sorry.
The one star is simply for coming up with a cool premise. Otherwise, this was a straight DNF for me.(less)
While I still feel that J.R. Ward's books are immensely readable, Crave proved to be the first time I've contemplated seriously giving her up. The plo...moreWhile I still feel that J.R. Ward's books are immensely readable, Crave proved to be the first time I've contemplated seriously giving her up. The plot of this book made absolutely no sense whatsoever, characters made choices that defied logic and seemed designed simply as a means to provide gratuitous scenes of torture. The central conflict of the story is convoluted and unclear - I have no idea what these people are fighting against and the rules of the game are ever changing. And I've finally reached the point where Ward's bending of the English language into her own unique form of slang is so ubiquitous and obvious that I can't ignore it and am constantly pulled out of the story to roll my eyes. I think I may have finally broken my Ward book-crack habit(less)
As far as Brockmann books go, I still prefer the titles in her Troubleshooters and category Tall, Dark and Dangerous series. However, this is a pleasa...moreAs far as Brockmann books go, I still prefer the titles in her Troubleshooters and category Tall, Dark and Dangerous series. However, this is a pleasant enough read. The characters are likable and the premise is unique.
Dr. Alyson Carter is a history professor whose particular interest and expertise lies in the famous legend of hero Marshall Sylas Quinn and the shoot out the Red Rock Saloon back in the mid 1800s. Marshall Quinn has always been her personal hero as well, and she view the man who stole the Marshall's beloved wife, Melody, to be the most vile villain of all time. When A.J. Gallagher, a man claiming to be the great grandson of the Evil Jamie Gallagher appears on the set of a movie about Marshall Quinn, where Alyson is currently serving as the historical consultant, she is very reluctant to believe A.J.'s assertion that everyone has had it all wrong all along, that Quinn was actually the monster and that Jamie Gallagher was wrongly accused of all sorts of misdeeds.
A.J. Gallagher isn't sure why he's all of the sudden seeing the ghost of his great grandfather, Jamie. Could be that he's going crazy. That the stress of his time serving in Iraq and the results of too many years drinking too much booze have finally sent him over the edge. Still, he determines to prove to Alyson that his family doesn't deserve the infamy it has received over the past hundred and fifty years.
Alyson and A.J. have an immediate attraction and the story follows A.J.'s attempts to convince Alyson of the truth and her attempts to ignore her feelings for him given the amount of baggage he comes with.
A sub-plot involving a crime that Alyson witnessed adds an outside edge of danger, but to be honest, this was wholly unnecessary and is one of the reasons I give the book only three stars. The last quarter of the book when the "bad guys" catch up to Alyson becomes practically impossible to follow, the string of events convoluted and the cast of bad-guy characters and their relationships with each other confusing. I ended skimming most of this part of the book just to get to the end.
Too, another problem I had with this book was the presence of Jamie Gallagher as a ghost. An honest to goodness, visible only to A.J. ghost. First of all, as the only supernatural element in an otherwise entirely real-world story, it seemed silly and out there. Too, Jamie made things too easy because as an entity that was invisible to all but one person and that could move around at will, he was there just in the nick of time to solve all sorts of problems.
My final issue was in how the premise played out. Silas Quinn was supposedly a national hero with an insanely famous legend surrounding him. Yet as Jamie Gallagher's story comes out, it is clear that Quinn was far from a hero. As more and more of his bad deeds came to light, I found it harder and harder to believe that an entire nation had been so thoroughly duped to buy into the massive lie wholesale. If only one aspect of the legend had been untrue - an important aspect - at least I could believe how Quinn might have gotten away with all of the lies he told. As it stands, the whole "national legend" aspect seemed far fetched.
In the end, this book was entertaining but not one of my favorite of Brockmann's. (less)