I'm sorry. So sorry. I wanted to love this book, because I LOVE Jordan. And I'm not prepared to say it's the book's fault, because hey. I'm a mood readeI'm sorry. So sorry. I wanted to love this book, because I LOVE Jordan. And I'm not prepared to say it's the book's fault, because hey. I'm a mood reader. I'm self aware enough to know it.
But... this book and I... we have problems. A few of them, and each of them narrators. All... oh... nine of them, if I count correctly.
Rayne seems a fairly typical 'loner girl' type: angry and cagey, alone against the world. She's resilient and determined, possessing all the traits necessary to make a fine heroine, but... she felt forced, to me. She seems the obvious choice for main character, but she shares the book's narrative with a half dozen other characters, so it's kind of hard to say.
There's a terse, matter of fact, quality to Dane's writing, and it gives the book... an adult sensibility, which feels odd to say, as I'm not even sure what I mean by that. When Rayne, Mia and antagonist, O'Dell, narrate, Indigo Awakening reads somewhat like a nineties crime pulp: dark and gritty, a little bit angry. I got a similar tone reading Jim Butcher's Storm Front, but there was a difference: that was funny and clever. When the book's titular Indigo Children take the reins, it becomes something else, preternatural powers, strange connections and over-generous servings of teen angst taking centre stage. I suppose the book feels a little bipolar?
But for all these strange powers and mysteries, Indigo Awakening is not a book with answers. None of its many narrators are forthcoming with them. We discover Gabriel and Lucas' talents as they do. While its constant action, events, situations and stakes that should create suspense, that suspense felt strangely lacking, and I found it difficult to fully invest in the story. While events don't feel contrived, relationships DO. Characters develop instant, unshakeable connections with people they should distrust or fear.
Ah, and on that note: the villans. Where Doctor Fiona could prove a compelling Bad Guy, she become dull, a caricature as her actions are spelled out, as with O'Darby. There is no mystery, and thus no real sense of danger to what would otherwise be a pair of genuinely frightening and morally bankrupt villains. Fiona was the biggest disappointment for me, as she's intriguing. A cold scientific mind, unburdened with ethics or empathy.
It's nearly 60% of the way through the book before we're offered explanation of the book's 'Indigo' and 'Crystal' children jargon, which... you know, fair enough. Create suspense. Questions. This? I was confused. It's worth noting the language isn't unique to the book. A quick search of Indigo Children will bring up a plethora of results in Google discussing pseudoscientific term, topped, of course, by Wikipedia. Yet I don't believe this is a part of the collective cultural psyche enough to pass it off as given, and I felt I was navigating blind through the tale's pages.
Indigo Awakening comes across as cinematic crime thriller -- something between X-men and the Bourne Legacy, but... it doesn't live up to that promise. It's an OK book from a good writer. Just not the book for me....more
You know, I run hot and cold with Becca's books. I love/hate the Hush, Hush books. But it's not really a question, is it? Of COURSE I'm going to readYou know, I run hot and cold with Becca's books. I love/hate the Hush, Hush books. But it's not really a question, is it? Of COURSE I'm going to read this.
And if I wasn't convinced, this is what seals it: "BLACK ICE is gritty and frightening, twisty and sexy. There's a touch of paranormal. The stakes are high and there is a definite case of it's-not-what-it-seems going on..."
What I loved most about Hush, Hush (and missed in Crescendo), was the WTFery. The creepiness, the never quite knowing if Nora was losing it, if it mas magic, or hallucinations.
BONUS POINTS: Check out the opening line of Ch.60 in Unravel Me:
"We can hide in a cupboard under the stairs our whole life and it'll still find us. Dea
BONUS POINTS: Check out the opening line of Ch.60 in Unravel Me:
"We can hide in a cupboard under the stairs our whole life and it'll still find us. Death will show up wearing an invisible cloak and it will wave a magic wand and whisk us away when we least expect it."
IS THAT A HARRY POTTER REFERENCE I SEEEE? --- Once upon a time, on a day much like any other, a girl had An Idea: What if Rogue had a purple suit? And a boyfriend? She sat down to write, and Shatter Me was born. Soon to follow was a sister named ‘Unravel Me’, and the other X-Men joined the tale. Unravel Me was fair and lovely, quickly surpassing her older sister, and, oh yes, she got all the boys.
What a broken heroine Unravel Me has. We join Juliette two weeks after we left her, but for all that hope Shatter Me offered in its dénouement, Juliette is shattering all over again. Adam is distant, and, if she thought she found a place she belonged, with people like her, who could accept her, the wary stares and constant isolation say otherwise.
Broken, isolated and misunderstood are familiar places for Juliette, but was there ever a lonelier place than the kind felt surrounded by people? Juliette is a most singularly damaged heroine, and I found it difficult to find her withdrawing into her shell and shouldering so much blame for problems outside her control – both from herself and those around her. While it would be easy to find fault in her anxieties and self-pity, it’s important to acknowledge her unique position: while Juliette runs afoul of good opinion with her inability to assimilate in the new community in which she finds herself, surrounded by 'special' people who can relate to isolation and discrimination, it's important to understand there is no way she could.
A girl who has never known love, never known the basic necessity of human touch, thrust into an established, tight-knit community would not function. While certainly not the most scientific source, livestrong.com features an article discussing the essential nature of touch in human development. Not only can touch, in infancy, affect physical health, it has a huge impact on psychologic development. Children robbed of touch, of contact, can suffer anxiety, stress, and emotional disorders. It's painful watching a character like Juliette so misunderstood, and there's an interesting parallel here, however intentional, to the failures of our own society in caring for, and understanding those outside the sphere of what we consider 'normal', but it also seems Mafi enjoys the odd poke at the elevated emotions and angst of the typical YA heroine and hero.
But. Juliette grows in Unravel Me, develops new strength, and discovers new steel. She makes many, many mistakes, but she is a very human heroine and, for all her melodramatic angst, an eminently likeable one, her urgent stream-of-consciousness flowing in that uniquely Juliette/Mafi style making it easy to slip inside her head.
From Juliette’s narration, to the scalding romance, to the ominous cloud of impending war, Unravel Me bursts with feeling, and it carries a sense of immediacy. It’s impossible to pass that ‘romance’ with only a sentence, as Unravel Me, like Shatter Me, is sexually charged, each glancing touch carrying a weight intensified by a life filled with its absence. Adam returns, sweet and kind and with scorching chemistry – if not a little bland personality-wise – and Warner, the uncomfortably compelling villain of Shatter Me, appears in a new light entirely. More than a few readers may find themselves surprised by interesting feelings as Shatter Me's villain becomes something... more.
The Verdict: For all this talk of intensity and dark matters, Unravel me ultimately aims to entertain, and succeeds. Sexy and gripping, filled with bone-melting romance and gripping intrigue, Unravel Me is an outing stronger, even, than its extraordinary predecessor. Mafi’s prose dances swiftly across pages, dropping metaphors like bombs, and it feels a tighter book on a whole, with a stronger focus on plotting. Unravel Me sizzles with passion and chemistry, and offers surprise twists to keep those pages turning well into the wee hours. Fans will delight in Unravel Me as it unravels its spectacular heroine just in time to leave them desperate for more.
Initial thoughts: Amazing. Better than Shatter Me, in the sense that it seems to have more direction. It's a more (but still NOT) plot-driven novel while maintaining the intimacy and intensity of Juliette's inner world.
Definitely a FEEEEEELING book where you FEEL all the FEELS and... this book was just addictive. I wouldn't want to be Juliette for a moment, but I love her world. Review to come....more
First Thoughts: Read, finished, LOVED. I have so many FEELINGS. Happy. Sad. Hope. Sorrow. Everything about this book...there's a greater sense of urgencyFirst Thoughts: Read, finished, LOVED. I have so many FEELINGS. Happy. Sad. Hope. Sorrow. Everything about this book...there's a greater sense of urgency and purpose, and... Oh, the characters. WOWOWOW.
Sequels are tricky things; even more so 'middle books'. With a happy romantic union cemented in book one, how does the author sustain chemistry? With a journey underway, how does she maintain momentum on route to a distant conclusion? Is it time to answer questions? Pose them? Fans are demanding creatures—the more ardent, the more so—but, as readers, our favourite authors win our trust for a reason, a reason Veronica Rossi demonstrates in Through the Ever Night.
We left Aria and Perry locked in a joyous embrace in Under the Never Sky, and it is where we find them in Through the Ever Night. But their reunion is not to be a drawn out, happy thing. Peregrine of the Tides is now Peregrine, Blood Lord of the Tides. Where once he enjoyed unfettered freedom, the weight of hundreds of lives now rests on his teenage shoulders, and his people do not take kindly to a daughter of the people who stole their children sharing their home.
Aria finds herself no less entangled. Charged with the hope of those who exiled her, Aria must find the Still Blue, a fabled land free from the deadly storms of the Aether sky, or face the death of all she holds dear.
It’s a dark place to find Perry and Aria, and where Under the Never Sky ended with hope, Through the Ever Night quickly forms fractures and wears it down. Aria, exiled from her home, without family, and trapped as a pawn of the manipulative Consul Hess, is isolated, even from Perry. She’s strong and selfless, and, having developmed a quiet wisdom, finds herself torn between love and sacrifice. Though Perry owns her heart, Aria—an outsider amongst the Outsiders—can see her presence undermining Perry’s new and fragile leadership. She’s faced with difficult choices, and each direction leads to pain and isolation. It’s the first of many obstacles the couple faces, and creates a wedge, forcing larger cracks.
The story separates the couple quickly and, apart, Through the Ever Night shows Perry’s analogous strengths and weaknesses. It seems that, in story, nuance and detail, Rossi may be playing favourites with her children. There’s a weight given to Perry’s story, an extra layer of complexity which render Perry’s pages the most memorable. If, perhaps, Under the Never Sky was Aria’s tale, this is Perry’s. Perry is caught in an unenviable position between right and wrong, instinct and reason. Seen as ‘rash’ by his tribe, he is judged not entirely by his actions, but a violent undercurrent of desperation. He’s torn between the ability to act with the freedom he has always known, and his responsibility for hundreds of lives. It is a painful thing to witness, but Perry, as Aria, demonstrates remarkable growth over of the course of the story. Both battle very real internal foes, as well as external: doubt, fear, desperation and betrayal are demons they both face in varying degrees.
While Aria and Perry are separated by distance much of the novel, they are never far from each other's thoughts, and each grows stronger individually. While second instalments frequently see couples breaking up and angst filled confrontations, the couple share something profound, and it shapes them, but they have purposes and goals. Neither abandons their friends and responsibilities because they cannot live without the other.
It seems as though Through the Ever Night could easily pose as a parable for the pressures of childhood and young adulthood in the modern world; the conflicting worship of youth, but the push to learn faster, grow faster, mature, absorb, and assimilate. The burdens its young heroes face are crushing and unfair, yet ultimately the story concerns itself more with love and friendship and family. There are messages to be found, certainly, but they are much like images seen in clouds on lazy days: there for those who choose to find them, regardless of their creator's intent.
The Verdict: With the final page turned and many months of time free for reflection (the trilogy's conclusion is, after all, not expected for a year), I find myself reluctant to leave Aria and Perry's world behind. The Aether sky shines and flows in my imagination, and its characters whisper, beckoning my return. Rossi proves a talent for creating hope, sweet and pure, as, despite the tale's darker moments (of which there are many) I find myself lingering not on the pain, but on its hopeful final pages, on reunion, smiles, and a wish for tomorrow....more
Have I mentioned I effing LOVE Brigid Kemmerer? Maybe? Once or twice? And, uh, another novella? Hell YES I am all over that. Nick's my favorite brotheHave I mentioned I effing LOVE Brigid Kemmerer? Maybe? Once or twice? And, uh, another novella? Hell YES I am all over that. Nick's my favorite brother (good name he has there), and a story between Nick and Quinn? Bring the swoon! The excitement! The action!