When I read Derting's The Body Finder, I was not impressed. After reading the start of her second series....I am still not impressed.
The marketing is...moreWhen I read Derting's The Body Finder, I was not impressed. After reading the start of her second series....I am still not impressed.
The marketing is all there. Gorgeous cover, creative dystopian premise, the promise of romance....All of this is very in right now. Unfortunately.
The weakest part of The Pledge was the world-building. As a dystopian, it was very weak. There is no reason for this world, no how, no why. Supposedly, it was set sometime in the future, as it alludes to current cities, but no world I know would end up like this. This world has magic powers, evil queens, lost princesses, and hidden princes. Sounds like a fantasy, right? Perhaps thats what it should have been: a fantasy. As a dystopian, there are too many logic gaps, which Derting doesn't even begin to explain. Where do the powers come from? What's their purpose? Why the matrilineal monarchy? It's possible she'll get around to it later, but I doubt that. I believe she's hoping we'll just close our eyes and go along with it.
What originally was an intriguing concept, the idea of languages being barriers, soon got mushed into typical YA tropes. The book was basically set up for a romance, one I didn't particularly enjoy. The main character, Charlie (love that name for girls, btw), is a level-headed enough girl in the beginning but quickly dissolves at the first sign of a hunk. It goes as far as there is bombs going off, and Charlie doesn't know if her parents are alive, but all she can focus on is being jealous of some innocent hand-holding. Really, now. And sure Max is good-looking, but he's borderline stalker, and he always tries to get the narrator to do things she doesn't want to do because he wants it for her. And his only excuse for this is he finds her "beautiful and intriguing." Charlie overall isn't particularly special, sure she's got powers, but she doesn't have much personality besides. Her most admirable trait is how much she cares for her sister. But I feel like whenever authors have a lack-luster character, they just make them caring or self-sacrificing, as if that's going to make up for a lack of personality. Derting's other characters were equally flat. They all had one, maybe two good traits, but they didn't feel like real people. Some characters were practically just names on the page.
The plot and writing was easy to slip into, and this book makes for a quick, absorbing read. The plot, while not entirely predictable from the get-go, had twists that smelled from a mile away. Still, it was satisfying to see my predictions come true. It makes me feel ahead of the game. Now that I look back on it, the book was fast-paced, but it wasn't particularly exciting and didn't have much action. The ending was also rather abrupt. As the pages drew closer to the end of the book, I was like "How is Derting going to finish this? We haven't even reached a climax yet..." Then it was over. And I was like "...that was it?" It just wrapped up rather quickly and safely, but there is more to come, this being a series and all.
And on a side note, I was immensely amused that the Queen, an elderly woman, had Darth Vader choking powers. I just wished she was more intimidating.
Summer has always been in the shadow of the sister she never met. Shannon was perfect, beautiful, and ambitious, but she died unexpectedly the first d...moreSummer has always been in the shadow of the sister she never met. Shannon was perfect, beautiful, and ambitious, but she died unexpectedly the first day of her senior year. Summer was born not long afterwards, as a sort of a replacement for dead sibling, but she never fully lives up to her sister, not even bothering to try. Shannon never seemed like a real person to Summer, she was just a face in a frame, a name on a plaque, a forbidden topic for her parents, and a burden over her shoulders. That is, until Summer's aunt gives her the journal her sister kept the summer before she died. Summer finally has a chance to get to know her sister, but is it a chance Summer is going to take? It becomes clear from the first page that Shannon isn't the person she thought she was, and Summer isn't sure she's ready for her sister to become a real being.
Then I Met My Sister is a good story about impressions. We all judge people based on a glance or an assumption. Sometimes its easy to think of people in a superficial way, rather to than to acknowledge their secrets and thoughts and feelings. Summer is content resenting her overbearing mother and her meek father, and doesn't really want to see them any other way, which Shannon's journal is forcing her to do. Summer thinks she is beyond judging people, when she hides behind it herself.
This is a pretty average YA novel, although it does have more substance than most. The topics, although not edgy, are not completely light-hearted either. The book makes you think, makes you acknowledge that your parents aren't just parents, and siblings just aren't siblings, they are people. They make mistakes and they can surprise you. (less)