I'm not sure what crazy people shelved this book as "romance". You is romantic in the same way that Lolita is romantic. In other words: an insane, obs...more I'm not sure what crazy people shelved this book as "romance". You is romantic in the same way that Lolita is romantic. In other words: an insane, obsessive and manipulative romance from the perspective of a charming psychopath.
It's a fucked up tale told from the POV of a stalker who obsesses over and spies on a young woman. He gradually plants himself into her life and seeks a relationship with her, whilst simultaneously hacking her emails and following every little thing she does. If you're looking for a creeptastic story just in time for Halloween then you need look no further.
What is perhaps most unsettling about our narrator is how closely he resembles some of the love interests in YA and NA romance books. Telling his unreliable tale, Joe truly believes that he and Beck are meant to be. His narration is completely insane, horrifying and - at times - beautiful.
He is a fantastically unreliable narrator, made more so by the charm and humour he uses to engage the reader. Like Humbert from Lolita, Joe's intelligence, wit and candor make it easy to sympathize with him, even though we are aware of how twisted he really is.
The novel evades the boundaries of genre; not quite a contemporary, maybe, but also unlike most psychological thrillers, creating something new and complex - quite unlike anything I've ever read before. Being inside Joe's head is a poisonous but admittedly fascinating place to be. Through him, the author examines the games people play with one another and the gentle manipulation that even the most innocent of us are capable of at times:
You also offers an interesting look at stalking in the digital age. Joe is able to commit his crimes through the use of email, Facebook and Twitter; finding out huge amounts of information about Beck without even leaving his house. It made me incredibly aware of how visible we all are these days and had me almost looking over my own shoulder as I was reading it.
A random spur of the moment read that really paid off.
I'm not sure my review of this is really needed. If you're wanting to explore the world of the free Tor short stories, you should just check out karen...moreI'm not sure my review of this is really needed. If you're wanting to explore the world of the free Tor short stories, you should just check out karen's reviews, which is where I find all the good ones. But I can't just leave this review space blank either, the story deserves more than that.
“Mama Alice would say that God never gives us any burdens we can’t carry.” The harpy says, Does she look you in the eye when she says that?
I find it amazing sometimes how I can read a 500-page novel and remain fairly emotionally detached, but some writers are just able to tear my heart open and leave me thinking about their story for hours... with just a few pages of powerful writing.
This story is so raw. The writing has an edgy, gritty, ugly honesty about it that drew me in and had me living inside the narrator's mind. I guess it's some kind of magical realism / dark fantasy if you want to get into genre-specifics but it's also way more than that. It's a portrait of a young girl called Desiree who was born disfigured and sick, a girl who is dying and must take pills every day... but she's not dying - in her own words - "fast enough".
"I’m dying. Just not fast enough. If it were faster, I’d have nothing to worry about. As it is, I’m going to have to figure out what I’m going to do with my life."
If she had a couple of years, she could resign herself to her fate; if she had a full life, she could live it happily. But, instead, she's somewhere in between. Still dying, longing for everything normal people get to have, and having to decide what to do next with her half-life.
Every day, she visits the harpy who lives in an alley near her home; she feeds it garbage and the two form a strange kind of friendship... strange, but possibly the most genuine relationship in Desiree's life. Hell, I feel emotional just trying to write this damn review.
It's a very dark, bleak tale that you probably shouldn't read if you're feeling particularly depressed, but it was an incredibly effective piece of storytelling. I hung on the author's every word.
“I clench my jaw and narrow my eyes. I am no wilting Alben, I am a fierce and strong Melenese woman. And I am not the victim of any cruel jokes. Spirits below, I will make certain he knows I am not to be toyed with.”
3 1/2 stars. It was, in fact, a solid 4 stars leaning towards 4 1/2 before those last couple of hastily pulled together chapters in which the author rushed us towards a conclusion and narrowly avoided necessitating a sequel. Messy ending aside, I enjoyed this novel a lot and am thankful I didn't realize initially that the author was the same one who bored me with both Paranormalcy and The Chaos of Stars. This was an all round much better book.
It's an ambitious premise that blends a fantasy world with historical parallels, which clearly allude to colonialism. Amazingly, this wild combination of fast-pacing, fluffy banter, magic and an underlying look at colonial struggles somehow works well. Kiersten White works in social and political issues like racism, sexism, and cultural stereotypes, whilst simultaneously keeping the banter light and funny. There was so much to like here that I feel very forgiving towards the rushed ending.
1) It was a pageturner The story zips along at a wonderful pace. We are introduced to action, magic and mystery almost immediately, and I was pulled in from the very first chapter. The chapters have that annoyingly addictive habit of finishing on a cliffhanger, so you find yourself forced into the next chapter in order to discover what happens. Between the supernatural omens, the evil ministers and the budding romance, it's hard to look away.
2) I LOVED Jessamin Jessamin is strong, smart, ambitious and won't melt in a puddle just because a guy with a pretty face looks her way. She's in the middle of a world that doesn't welcome her, both as a female student and as a colonial subject from Melei. Dark-skinned and vivacious, she stands out amid all the paleness and propriety of Albion. Little does she know that racism is about to be only half of her problems when she suddenly gets pulled into a world of magic, murder and mayhem.
3) A romance I actually liked Firstly, I liked both characters of Jessamin and Finn. There was no instalove or instaobsession or general falling into hormonal mushiness after their first meeting. The build was gradual and realistic, peppered with witty and flirtatious banter (my favourite kind). Jessamin also frequently challenges the way others treat her and doesn't allow Finn to use protection as an excuse to control her:
“You couch your motivations under the banner of protecting me, when it comes down to the fact that you think you are better than I am and more equipped to rule my life.”
4) Healthy portrayal of female friendship I have no idea why this is so rare in YA, but I am thankful for the friendship between Jessamin and Eleanor in this book. There's no bitterness or jealousy between them, they stick together and look out for one another, despite being two very different people. Plus, I love this exchange (Jessamin speaks first):
“They’re wrong, you know. About you. Your uncle and Lord Downpike. You are smart and brave and terribly important.” She laughs. “Oh, I know that, silly. But it’s easier not to let them realize it, because then they’d stop ignoring me, and they’d realize how much mischief I really get up to.”
In short, I enjoyed the book a lot. The twist towards the end is a little ridiculous; it attempts to tie everything up in the penultimate chapter and part of me wonders if the ending might have been stronger without the chapter after it. But it didn't matter that much. This is a strong fantasy; fun in its dialogue, friendships and romance, but also important in its look at racism and stereotyping on both sides of colonialism. ............................................................................................
On a note unrelated to the actual story, I can't be the only one bugged by the white girl on the cover when the protagonist is clearly described as having "dark skin" and "black hair"... right? You don't fool me with your shadow effects, Ms book cover, I can see you're white.