14-year-old Maddy Smith isn’t your average country bumpkin and everyone in her village knows it. They blame her “ruinmark"--the strange, rust-colored14-year-old Maddy Smith isn’t your average country bumpkin and everyone in her village knows it. They blame her “ruinmark"--the strange, rust-colored sigil on her hand--which they say marks her as a witch. But the mysterious traveler One-Eye claims the rune-shaped sign is not a defect, but a destiny--albeit one she may not survive. For it will take all of Maddy’s illegal magic to make it to the end of this twisty-turny tale into the heart of old Norse mythology. And, no, I won’t even attempt to explain the plot more than that, suffice to say that it’s amazingly good, very much like something Neil Gaiman would write after OD-ing on too much Eddas. And now it’s over. Sigh. Sometimes 526 pages just aren’t enough! ...more
17-year-old Amy, her parents, and all the other cryogenically frozen passengers on the spaceship Godspeed are supposed to wake up 300 years in the fut17-year-old Amy, her parents, and all the other cryogenically frozen passengers on the spaceship Godspeed are supposed to wake up 300 years in the future, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to colonize the new planet Centauri-Earth. But when someone sabotages Amy’s cryo chamber, almost killing her, she wakes up 50 years too soon. Who tried to murder her? And why? These are the questions Amy must answer--fast--before the killer finishes what he started. But when her top suspect becomes none other than Eldest, the tyrannical leader of the ship’s crew, she’ll have to enlist the help of his teenage heir, Elder. But can Amy truly trust him? Or is Elder hiding a secret of his own?
Basically, it’s the classic locked room murder mystery plot with a sci-fi spin . . . and a dystopian edge . . . and a teen romance, too. How’s that for some serious genre-melding? And it could all be good—really good--if not for onetwo half a dozen problems.
Firstly, Amy’s situation is infinitely more interesting than Amy herself. And Elder, who actually is interesting, is also super annoying, thanks to both his surprising denseness (not a good trait in a lead detective) and his exasperating overuse of Revis’s silly-sounding future lingo. (Everything is “dilly this” or “frex that," which makes the story sound--to paraphrase poor, verbally limited Elder--frexing stupid.) And then there’s the love story itself, which unfortunately generates all the emotional intensity of a puppet show.
But the truly fatal flaw is this:
Genre-melding--good genre-melding--elevates the new story into something greater than the sum of its parts. It makes the old feel new and the dull feel fresh. But Revis’s story doesn’t do any of that. It just leaves you longing for the old stories that have already been there, done that, and done it better.
Because Revis’s story isn’t as smart as the best sci-fi, as suspenseful as the best mysteries, as scary as the best dystopian lit, or, heck, even as swoony as the best teen romance. (Note to Revis: When Stephenie Meyer is coming across as a more competent author than you, it’s time to consider a career change.)
It’s not that Revis’s story is bad. It’s just not good. At its best, it’s only ever okay. And why waste your time reading something that’s only ever okay? Now that’s frexing stupid. ...more
YA lit that actually addresses some pretty rare topics in YA lit--lesbianism, Iranian oppression, being transgendered . . . Definitely show3.5 stars.
YA lit that actually addresses some pretty rare topics in YA lit--lesbianism, Iranian oppression, being transgendered . . . Definitely shows signs of being a first novel, but so different and engaging that you don't even care. Good read....more