Sometimes I decide that a book isn’t for me based on some silly, almost non-existent reason, and then I stubbornly stick with my decision until somethSometimes I decide that a book isn’t for me based on some silly, almost non-existent reason, and then I stubbornly stick with my decision until something forces me to reconsider. In this case, I avoided Matched like the plague because the entire plot seemed to be based on a love triangle, but I was forced to change my mind when I came into possession of the audiobook. With hours of driving ahead of me, I had no choice but to give it a chance. And I loved it.
Matched is extremely character-centric. There’s very little plot to speak of, and there aren’t many oscillations in the narrative structure. While it’s a beautiful, gentle read, exciting isn’t a word that applies. In all honesty, I didn’t mind one bit, the character growth was enough to keep me happy and my mind fully occupied.
I won’t go into the love triangle lest I spoil what little plot there is. Suffice it to say that it’s not really a love triangle as it’s clear from the beginning what Cassia feels for Xander and what she feels for Ky. As someone who dislikes love triangles on general principle, I must confess that this one wasn’t nearly as torturous as I’d originally assumed.
I love that Condie approached the Society in a very mature way, always aware that while it might be bad for some, it saved many others; and I don’t just mean those who hold the power, but regular people who are better off because the Society took care of them. This is somewhat new in dystopian literature and I admire Condie for thoroughly exploring the gray areas and not portraying the Society as the source of all evil. What is awful and constrictive for some may very well be great for others. Cassia’s thoughts about those who are not free-spirited by nature and who are very comfortable being taken care of by the Society endeared her to me greatly. She was never judgmental or harsh, and she understood that people find comfort and happiness in different things, and that for some, nothing works better than having all their decisions taken away from them.
Some things about the Society were more believable than others but I took them all in stride as inevitable parts of the genre. However, there was one thing central to the story that I simply couldn’t accept. In the Society, people use tablets to write, but no one writes or reads cursive anymore. In fact, they have nothing to write with and they’d surely get into trouble for even attempting it. As someone who’s spent years studying language(s), I find it hard to believe that people would allow themselves to lose their ability to write. I’ve read a research or two a couple of years ago that focused on this possibility (and it was considered to be a possibility), but it seems very unlikely to me.
I suppose I should write a few words about Kate Simses, the audiobook narrator, as well. At first I was uncomfortable with her mellow, almost childish voice, but as I got to know Cassia, I realized that it fits her perfectly. (That said, she also narrated Shatter Me, and somehow I doubt her voice worked as well for Juliette.) She never fell into the trap of overdoing male voices as so many narrators do, and I really liked how easily she used her voice to make the differences between Ky and Xander even more pronounced.
Matched is a read only for the patient, but it is very rewarding. If you’re like me and you’re avoiding it because of the love triangle, learn from my mistake. I should have read it much sooner.
Sometime not too long ago, God and Lucifer sat down to talk and concluded that they’d had enough of the never-ending battle between Good and Evil. They decided to abandon ship altogether, and as they did, they left no instructions for either of their armies. With their disappearance, the supernatural community fell into a huge turmoil. There were those who felt that it’s time to bring about the Armageddon, and those who were ready to do anything to defend humanity.
Frank “Triggaltheron” Trigg is Lucifer’s favorite nephew, also known as the idiot who was offered the position of new Anti-Christ by Lucifer himself and who smoothly turned him down. Not very powerful in his own right, he has to rely on the few vials of his uncle’s blood to stay alive and in one piece. Despite his nefarious heritage, Trigg is a member of DRAC – Demonic Resistance and Containment, a group of supernatural beings determined to stop the Armageddon. As the threat becomes more serious, Frank has to work with his angel cousin Scarlett and the vampire Katon, and he might just have to sell his soul twice in order to save the world. My entire devilish life had been built around the premise of getting screwed and not in a fun, porn star way. It was most often in the prison kind of way, getting sucker punched and waking up with a sore ass and with some big guy named Bubba sitting on the bunk smoking a cigarette and heating up a branding iron.
Here’s a very important thing you need to know about Frank: he’s a pig. He only cares about three things in life: preventing the Armageddon, sex and, well… sex! He makes sexual innuendos and horrible puns all the time. He even shamelessly lusts after his cousin Scarlett, who insists on distracting him from his very important tasks with her leather-clad ass. In the constant battle between Frank’s human side and his devilish instincts, his crotch usually overrides both. He was married to a succubus after all, knowing full well the consequences. In words of his cousin Scarlett, directed to him: "If we have to rely on what's inside your head that doesn't relate to porn, we're screwed."
I think Urban Fantasy (or dark UF or horror or whatever you want to call it) needs more male author – male protagonist combos. It was almost like I was reading another genre altogether. Everything was there: action, an amazing set of characters, incredible humor, but no emotional struggles whatsoever (unless you count the war between Frank’s brain and that other thing he thinks with). Trigg isn’t just a breath of fresh air, he is a damn hurricane, and he certainly swept me off my feet. It didn’t take long for him to become my favorite underdog ever, despite all his flaws. What can I say? I have a soft spot for jerks.
Even though I’m only now reviewing book 1, I’d already finished book 2 (and loved it!) and I just downloaded the free short story about Scarlett and got the third novel from Amazon. I do believe that I won’t rest until I read every single word about Frank Marquitz has written so far.
I definitely need to thank Bastard @Bastard Books for giving me a chance to win both Armageddon Bound and Resurrection. I’m officially hooked.
Wow. When I started Madapple yesterday, I had no idea what I was signing up for. Had I known what was ahead of me, I don’t think I would have picked iWow. When I started Madapple yesterday, I had no idea what I was signing up for. Had I known what was ahead of me, I don’t think I would have picked it up. You see, I expected it to be paranormal (although I’m not sure why), and it wasn’t. I never expected it to be about child abuse, kidnapping, drugs and incest, but it was. I certainly never thought it would delve so deep into the connections between paganism and Christianity. Finally, I expected it to be forgettable, but I doubt I’ll forget this for the rest of my life. The last book that upset me this much, that caused me many sleepless nights, was Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee. The difference between Disgrace and Madapple, however, is that in the end, I felt like a better person for having read Disgrace, while Madapple left me feeling…contaminated. I have the craziest urge to wash my brain with soap.
Aslaug was raised in complete isolation by her Danish mother. She was homeschooled, she never saw a doctor in her life nor did she ever have contact with other people her age. She never even had a father or a proper last name. Her mother taught her ancient and obscure languages, but prevented her from finding out most things about modern society. Their house in Maine didn’t have electricity or running water. So when Aslaug woke up one morning to find her mother dead, she did the only thing she could think of: she washed her, painted the Solomon’s seal on her chest to ward off evil spirits and started digging a grave in her back yard. A nosy neighbor saw what Aslaug was doing and called the police and they quickly came to arrest her for murder. Having been proven innocent of her mother’s death, Aslaug manages to find an aunt and her two children and moves in with them. You’d think an aunt who is also a preacher and who runs her own church would be more stable than an abusive mother, but you’d be horribly wrong. Soon questions are raised that nobody wants to answer: who is Aslaug’s father? Does she even have one? Can she be a product of immaculate conception or is the truth much more disturbing? At the same time, faced with the first teenage boy she’s seen in her life, Aslaug starts having inappropriate feelings for her cousin, and what’s worse, those feelings are mutual.
Aslaug’s story, however disgusting, is masterfully told and there is no denying Christina Meldrum’s skill. It is divided into two alternating parts: Aslaug’s murky and confusing first person POV, and court transcripts from her trial, occurring four years later. The reader gets to hear about the events from various witnesses in 2007 and then goes back to 2003 to see them through Aslaug’s eyes. But Aslaug is far from a reliable narrator and as the story progressed, I became more and more convinced that she’s lost touch with reality, as I’m sure the author intended.
I can’t bring myself to recommend a book that made me sick to my stomach. The ending especially made me want to cry, or throw up, or both. I’m not exaggerating: I hated myself for reading certain parts of this. But if you ever feel the need to push your boundaries, Madapple is the book to do it with. Just please spare me the details. I think I’ve had all I can handle.
Also, please take my rating with a grain of salt. I still have no idea how to rate this book.