I wasn't sure what to think of Pink Smog when I read through the first chapter. It's narrative seemed disjointed, chaotic, and at times focused on ite...moreI wasn't sure what to think of Pink Smog when I read through the first chapter. It's narrative seemed disjointed, chaotic, and at times focused on items that didn't seem to matter.
However, it wasn't until I had gotten about halfway through the book and learned more about the characters, that I realized what Francesca did, and I was engrossed with this book until the end.
What she did, and did incredible subtly, was perfectly write this book from the view of a thirteen year old girl. Now I have no idea what being a thirteen year old girl is like, but thinking back on my time as a teen I remembered how chaotic things were. How important the little things like clothes, music, and what brand of bike you rode mattered. Those first few chapters suddenly fit perfectly with this story, and perfectly introduced the character who came to be Weetzie Bat.
On the surface, this book appeared to be your standard coming of age story. A girl, Weetzie, is taking care of her former actress and current drunk mother after her father leaves. This book strays from the typical formula where the protagonist finds a significant other who helps them realize that life is worth living, and instead focuses on a child realizing her own inner strength in the face of not only adversity, but in the face of life in general.
She not only has to learn to cope with these feelings of abandonment, but also discovers that though her situation is unfortunate, she is not alone in her struggle to survive in life. Her two friends show her that they are just as troubled as she is.
Francesca's writing style was incredible. Not only does she have an excellent flow to her writing, but she did something I find not many authors can do. She piqued my curiosity about specific items in this book, and genuinley makes me want to know what the outcome will be. She built these characters, so that you will actually care what happens to them in the end...even if each character's end isn't the one you want for them.
All-in-all, though the book is categorized as "teen", I would recommend this as a read for anyone. I think you will all walk away being thoroughly entertained.(less)
I was lucky enough to have been chosen to review this novel after winning the "Goodreads Giveaway" that was posted. I havne't dabbled too much in the supernatural romance, or any romance genre for that matter in almost all my years of reading, however I've alway been open to trying.
The Shoppe of Spells has several exquisit features to it, however there are also many things that I feel needs work.
One of the most important things that I look for in all the novels I read are very well rounded and developed characters. Shanon nailed this. The main characters of Morgan and Dorian are incredibly well developed, and really pull the reader into the world that she has crafted. The characters are very real, very believable, and really set the pace for the rest of the story. It was becuase of this character development that I wanted to continue reading, wanted to find out what happened, and cared about how the plot affected the characters. Even many of the minor characters, Morgan's family and Jenn (Morgan's best friend) were very well developed as well...which is even more rare to find!
Shanon's writing style is incredibly compelling and very descriptive. Her words and phrases allow a reader to paint an easy mental picture of the surroundings of The Shoppe of Spells, and breathe an incredible amount of life into this small, fictional village.
Though her genre and some of the ideas behind the story isn't exactly new or unseen, little elements she adds in definitely are. For example, there are small creatures that pop up in the story called the Gulatega, which are other dimensional beings that seep the life from humans. You can tell that there was much thought put into each aspect of the novel.
As far as the romance goes, I'm pleased to say that it was not overbearing in any way. There was one aspect when the two were together that seemed a little implausable, however it was all tastefully done. The focus of the novel not surrounding on the more carnal segments of the relationships, rather than the personal. Also, I must note, I am a man, so reading about very romantic or emotional characters is very different for me. So as the female audience my thrive on this aspect of the book, it made me ask myself if people in real life really are as emotional as I read in this book.
However, as well written, and original as this book is, it does have it's issues.
Even though we have our well developed characters and setting that they play within, the story lacks two main cores to keeping readers glued to the pages.
The first is that it lacks a really solid antagonist. The first one hundred pages of the novel really build the basis of believability to the world they exist in. But when conflict is introduced to our characters, it is almost as an afterthought. When we are introduced to the antagonist and his red herring, the issues between them and Morgan are very quickly, and anti-climatically resolved.
Which brings me to my second piece I feel the book lacks, a really solid conflict with said antagonist. A woman is kidnapped, brutally raped, and beaten in this book...and only a few paragraphs were dedicated to this, and a resolution to these few paragraphs given almost instantly. Morgan is kidnapped and drugged for days in one part of this book, and within a few pages the slate is wiped clean and the character acts as if nothing happened.
There is no struggle for the characters, there is no suspense built up for the readers. It is simple cause and instant effect. Good guys win, bad guys lose.
What I would have liked to have seen, and this is more from an editing perspective, is to have the conflict spread out through the entire book. Build my curiosity until I would have been dying to know how our characters escape from their life threatening predicament.
As for the end, once I found out that each book in the series was a stand alone novel focusing around different characters, and not a continuation of Morgan and Dorian's adventures I felt the end was completely fitting. It sums up the characters well, and puts the perfect closure to their story.
Though with everything above being said, this book was enjoyable to read, and when the second one comes out I would be interested in reading that, if only to see where she takes the characters. I definitely recommend this one to fans of the supernatural romance genre, and for those who are looking for something a little new. (less)