Though I should be terribly ashamed of this rating, I have to admit that this book was the addictively readable, sometimes swoony stuff that brought mThough I should be terribly ashamed of this rating, I have to admit that this book was the addictively readable, sometimes swoony stuff that brought me into the fold of YA literature. It was rife with anger-inducing sexist stereotypes, unhealthy relationships, and poor writing, but Meyer does weave a tale that pulls the reader in. That doesn't forgive it all its faults, but I admit to being sucked in, all while yelling at the characters (literally) about their foolishness....more
Though strikingly similar to other young adult paranormal romances, Carrie Jones' Need was an enjoyable read, eEnjoyable read that NEEDs a little more
Though strikingly similar to other young adult paranormal romances, Carrie Jones' Need was an enjoyable read, even if a predictable and choppy one. After her beloved father's death, Zara sinks into a depression that prompts her mother to send her to her grandmother's home in Maine. At the same time that she must adjust and make new friends, Zara must contend with her grief and the appearance of an apparent stalker. In addition, two different boys at the school take an interest in her and other boys around town start to disappear without apparent cause. Supernatural beings are afoot, some with sinister plans, and Zara ends up squarely in the middle of things.
Pros: Zara was a well-drawn character, complete with an obsession for naming phobias and for human rights work. She was a strong female lead who faced her perceived threats head-on, even if done foolishly. Though much of the plot was predictable, there were a few interesting twists regarding her family's history and the true purpose of the stalker. Some of the secondary characters had better development (e.g., Gram/Betty was a sassy delight) compared to other YA books. The depiction of Zara's grief was also done well. In those moments Zara was thinking back to her father, the emotional pull was strong and visceral. Finally, the romance, once developed, was sweetly sexy.
Cons: The writing was rough in many places, with a stilted voice, but it was unclear whether the author intended this to represent a teen voice or whether it was just poor writing. Plot development was predictable, with only a few twists or variations. Clues about the plot and the true identity of certain characters were dropped heavily and obviously, reducing suspense that might have existed otherwise. Despite little evidence, the characters were too willing to believe in (and act on) a specific supernatural explanation for the stalker. Also, some secondary characters, like Ian and Megan, were flat caricatures.
Regardless of these qualms with the first book, I know I'll plan to read the sequel, Captivate, one day when I need a little mind candy. I hope that Jones can tighten and smooth her writing in the sequel and work on flushing out some of the secondary characters. ...more
In Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie, the follow-up to Holly Black's Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, the reader is taken to aNot so valiant of an effort
In Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie, the follow-up to Holly Black's Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, the reader is taken to a different realm of Faerie, deep in the boroughs of New York City. After high school student Val catches her mother in an act of betrayal, she runs away and starts living with a rough group of kids in the subway. Drug use and addiction, violence, and ties to Faerie appear, including a plot to frame someone for murder. Through this, Val copes with her changed life, her growing addiction, and the dangerous situations that surround her.
Compared to Tithe, the writing in Valiant was stronger (but not strong), with fewer abrupt jumps between scenes. Things also seemed to make more sense. There's more character development, but not a lot. I was left feeling ambivalent towards her characters again. While valiant on a few occasions, Val isn't that remarkable as a character. It also becomes apparent that Black doesn't have a knack for developing romantic or sexual chemistry. In both Tithe and Valiant, the romance starts with a scary male character who acts horribly toward the female lead, and, in the next scene, she's falling for him. It's very odd and unsatisfying.
The faeries in the novel are used more as a device to talk about teen runaways, homelessness, and addiction than as a fantastical element, which was disappointing. The profanity is also turned up a notch, with frequent uses of the f-bomb and similar. However, that's not as disconcerting as the animal cruelty, drug abuse, sexual coercion, and violence described. However, Black admittedly does do a good job of removing any romance from the idea of running away and using drugs.
I finished reading this book a few days ago, and I can't even remember much about it. That's how much it didn't stick with me. If you're looking for a faery series with better writing, better plot, and more character development and romance, I would recommend Maggie Stiefvater's Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception and Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie or even Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series. ...more
Bad execution of a good idea, 1.5 stars, December 9, 2009
Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, the first book in Holly Black's faery trilogy, introduces readeBad execution of a good idea, 1.5 stars, December 9, 2009
Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, the first book in Holly Black's faery trilogy, introduces readers to a dark and twisted world of Faerie. Sixteen-year-old Kaye is the daughter of a rocker mom who moves from town to town before an act of violence pushes them back to New Jersey. Kaye thinks the faeries of her youth are a thing of the past, but soon, her world starts changing as she learns that she has been chosen as a sacrifice between faery courts. Kaye must struggle to save herself, her friend, and a certain faery knight.
Unfortunately, this world of Faerie is not very likeable or easy to read. First and foremost, I found the book difficult to read due to the writing style and lack of editing. The writing is unclear in many places, with disjointed sentences and weak dialogue. Transitions between scenes were abrupt, and it was sometimes difficult to gain a coherent understanding of what was happening. Though some settings were described well, the characters were not. Character development was limited, and the relationships between characters seemed weak and unimportant. As described, the love connection also didn't seem believable.
Secondly, Black's world of Faerie is dark, twisted, and cruel. I don't mind darker tales; however, there needs to be a point to it. The book contains vulgarity; smoking, alcohol, and drugs; unhealthy relationships; references to violent, hurtful sex that`s enjoyed; and grisly murder and torture. I knew some of this going in, but I was surprised that none of these issues were used as a means of character development or conflict. None of the characters seemed to have any redeeming or likeable qualities. Even if a character is flawed, I want to read a book where I want to root for him/her, despite these flaws or a sordid past. In this case, I was left feeling ambivalent towards everyone.
While a good concept with potential for a great tale, my negative reaction to this book was much stronger than I expected. I hope that Black brought her fans something better in the sequels, Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie and Ironside: A Modern Faery's Tale. ...more