**spoiler alert** Envy mixes every deliciously bad thing that the girls in Mean Girls did to each other with supernatural beings hellbent on revenge,**spoiler alert** Envy mixes every deliciously bad thing that the girls in Mean Girls did to each other with supernatural beings hellbent on revenge, a girl hellbent on getting the supernatural out of her town and just a touch of the trainwreck known as Toddlers and Tiaras into one. And you know what? It really, really works!
I know that fury received a lot of mixed views. And it is the opinion of this blogger that it did because the characters were almost too flawed to like. Both Em and Chase screwed up royally in Fury and it was hard to figure out if you should be rooting for them or not. Luckily, Envy does not give the reader the same moral dilemma. Yes, some of the characters are clearly bad but I think they are sympathic enough to be likable and if you don't, at least they get what's coming to them.
Em is back but this time, she is on a holy mission and it is a good one. After dealing with the Furies in Fury, Em has no tolerance for their games in this one and she lets her intentions be known. I loved watching Em become a stronger character in her right and her journey to redeem herself (by kicking the Furies out of her home) is a pleasure to see unfold. You get a much more likable character because this one is all about Em caring for other people instead of solely for herself. That isn't to say that her mistakes of the past are gone and forgotten but she is really working to make up for them and it's nice to see that she is way more accepting of other people.
To replace Chase, we've got a character named Skylar. Even though I knew *spoiler highlight to read* she was going to be the Furies plaything in this book, I still find her a lot easier to identify with than Chase. I think it probably had something to do with her being a girl and just wanting to find a place to fit in. *end spoiler* It's in Skylar's chapters that we get an extra big does of the Mean Girl with a side of Toddlers and Tiaras. I liked how Skaylar constantly warred with herself about her feelings about Gabby. She wanted to love her and be her best friend so badly and sitting right next to that need was her intense jealousy because Gabby made it look easily. I really loved that the author made it a point for Gabby to tell Skylar that it was not easy for her, that she was so tired of working at it all the time, and then having Skylar still choose to believe that it was easy for Gabby. I think, in the end, Skylar's reasonings for doing the things she did made sense to me so it was hard to hate her. I mostly just felt pity.
Envy is fueled by a a diverse cast that wasn't so big as to make everyone feel like a stereotype but small enough to capture that small town feel. As in the last book, I really loved Gabby. It was nice to see a popular girl that was mostly nice to everyone. Gabby had a way of making the room light up and you felt that every time she was on the page. I also loved the addition of Crow. We'd heard about him in the first novel but it was cool to see Em hanging out with him and he really confused my feelings as to who Em should end up with. I loved her sweet charming best friend JD in the first book but Crow sort of took the place of JD in this novel. The nice thing is that Em still seems to know who she wants so it didn't feel like the stereotypical love triangle. I'm interested to see where his character is going in the future.
What I kept noticing about this book was just how good the writing was. Miles has a way of capture little sensations, of pointing out things in everyday life that are intangible or back music and bringing them into Envy to make it feel real. You'll notice that most of my favorite sentences are things that feel familiar but are never seen in novels like the idea of headlights punctuating a conversation in the car. So many times, I marveled at the words strewn togehter like perfectl ittle pearls on a necklace that brought home the mood. I read one review that said this book seemed more shallow than the last one and lacked the creepy factor of the first. I've got to completely disagree. I got chills every time the Furies decided to show their faces or laugh into the night. At one point, Em and Drea go into the woods and every hair on my neck stood straight up on edge. Envy is bursting with the creepy factor and I love how its sandwiched between the creampuff girlyness of Skylar and Gabby.
My only compliant would be that the plot felt a little straight forward. I guessed pretty early on what the big reveal was going to be with both girls which made the novel feel just a little long during some parts. However, I really enjoyed getting to the end and going on the journey with the characters even if I already knew how it was going to end.
If your looking for a read that one part creepy to every two parts Mean Girl than I think Envy is perfect. If you're having doubts because you didn't like the first one, I think you might want to consider Envy anyway because it has a very different tone than Fury and the characters are a little softer. I'm glad I took the berries with Em in Fury and came back to find out what they meant in Envy!...more
Legacy left me utterly neutral. I'm not clinging to my seat hoping for more but I'm not unhappy that I read this story. I was pretty excited to read tLegacy left me utterly neutral. I'm not clinging to my seat hoping for more but I'm not unhappy that I read this story. I was pretty excited to read this story for the paranormal element and I love stories steeped in rich character histories. In that aspect, this story did not disappoint but I felt it hard to connect with the characters and the story was really choppy at parts which definitely hindered my reading experience.
When I pick up a novel, I want to fall in love with the person telling me the story. What makes this person different from me? I liked Katy's voice okay but I had a really hard time connecting with her. There were some things about her personality that I really liked-- she was funny and pretty kind-- but I couldn't follow her motivations or her line of thought. I guess I felt like she didn't react naturally. I actually had that problem with most of the characters. I mean, someone would shout "they tried to kill me" and everyone would sort of shrug and say "that's life" and not hold a grudge or anything. Plus, I found it hard to follow conversations because all of a sudden, someone would sort of explode in anger and I couldn't figure out where it was coming from or why it needed to be there. Frankly, the only characters I really did like were the sweet little boy Eric, the evil entity The Darkness, Mim, Miss P and Katy when I could follow her.
I did enjoy the budding romance between Katy and Peter, I'm a sucker for forbidden romance, but I felt like it went way too fast and Peter was way too hot and cold for me to actually like him as a male lead. I did really like what he stood for and there is this really beautiful moment near the end of the novel where they are walking through mud that was spectacular but like my problems with Katy, I just didn't figure out what motivated his actions. So I guess I liked what was starting to take place with Peter and Katy but I wish it would have been slower and more solid.
Where this novel really delivered was in the witchcraft and the rich history of the town. Whitfield had this amazing history that the witches worked to keep alive. They were all about tradition and lineage. I liked that several different story lines effected the main one and that Katy had to learn about the past to help figure out her future. The magic in that world was also wonderful. I liked that witches had individual talents and I loved that the witches had almost another world over the real one. The fog, The Meadow and Hattie's restaurant all combined to make this really amazing fabric of the witchy world.
The thing that left me neutral about this novel the most is the choppiness of it. I couldn't figure out where the plot was going and it jumped through large passages of time instead of letting things build in a smaller amount of time. Katy's voice is easy to read so there was nothing particularly tough to get through but it did lag a bit and sometimes I felt like I didn't grasp the whole picture.
While Legacy did have some good things going for it, there were other things I found it hard to get passed. The rich world-building and town history really makes this novel shine but sometimes it was hard to see through the choppy nature of the plot....more
I was worried about this second novel mostly because of my intense surprise and love of the first Mara Dyer book. There was so much build up and tensiI was worried about this second novel mostly because of my intense surprise and love of the first Mara Dyer book. There was so much build up and tension in the first novel that I wasn't sure if this one could live up to it. I found myself about halfway and suddenly I had more questions than when I started and I realized that every worry I had was unfounded.
I think I went through the natural progression with this novel. At first, I was really frustrated with it. Frustrated with the characters, with where the story was going and with all the things I didn't understand. But as it kept moving, I realized I was supposed to be. I was supposed to be as anger as Mara was with her family for not believing her and I was also supposed to be as frustrated as Mara was with herself for not knowing what was real and what she might be hallucinating. For understanding that something awful was happening to her on top of something else awful happening to her and she has no answers. I think Mara definitely became my favorite character in here because she made the most sense to me. She was coping with so much internally as well as externally and the fact that she held it together, that she had to hold it together, was incredible.
I also liked that she didn't keep any secrets from Noah. A lot of the time the main character likes to withhold things from their love interest for the sake of tension but I was glad that Mara was smart enough to know that she could rely on Noah. Even if he didn't always go along with exactly what she believed, he did believe that she was experiencing the things she told him and I'm glad that this bond they built in the first novel didn't get torn apart in the second one.
It was actually Noah who frustrated me more this time around. I think we were supposed to and I understood his reasoning but I still wish he'd been a little more open the way Mara was. I guess their relationship felt a little one sided. However, as the novel kept going, it felt wonderful to get into Noah's head a little bit with that journal Mara found. Hearing his thoughts and finally having him say his wishes made it a lot easier to connect with him again and made it more believable for Mara to lean on him. I was kind of angry in the beginning when neither Mara or Noah would cherish the moments they have together so I was glad when that barrier was finally removed. I also think that will make them stronger in the final novel (regardless of what the ending was).
The flashbacks and the plot had me very confused basically the entire time. But not confused because of the writing. Confused because of the narrator. At the heart of this novel, we have an unstable narrator. Mara wants to know the truth, to find the answers, but there is also something taking over her. Whether its a demon or a "gift" or a gene that runs in her family, she is changing. And those changes are making her more unreliable. So things that we think happen, that she believes happened sometimes haven't and sometimes the things that seemed the most unbelievable are the things that actually have happened. This ambiguity, this not knowing, is what makes the story so unputdownable. By the time I got about 200 pages from the ending I was killing myself to race to the end and figure out what the heck is happening. This isn't to say that the first 300 pages weren't interesting. The book just picked up and rocketed to a conclusion by the second half of the book.
As before, sometimes I would just stop and marvel in the beauty of Hodkin's prose which explains the long list of favorite lines at the bottom. I know this is an odd sort of thing to think about but I thought that where one chapter ended and the second began was placed well. It kept me reading "just one more" when I should have gone to bed. I did miss Mara's bond with her family who took a backseat to the plot this time so I hope we get to see more of them in the next novel. I also hope that if they ever find out Jude is alive they give Mara a huge hug and sob at her feet for being so right.
With the mystery of what is happening to Mara, Noah and the rest of the kids deepening as well as the dangerous situations they are finding themselves in, I found that this novel was even better than the first one. Mara definitely became one of my favorite characters ever because of how fiercely she loves her family and how strong she's become. Thanks to a plot that has more twist and turns than a dance floor and characters I'm completely invested in, The Evolution of Mara Dyer is one heck of a thrill ride from page one until the shocking conclusion....more