If you read the description of this book and thought "Hey, that sounds pretty interesting. And look, the main criticism of it seems to be that it's ju...moreIf you read the description of this book and thought "Hey, that sounds pretty interesting. And look, the main criticism of it seems to be that it's just like her other books... but her other books are popular bestsellers and I've never read any of them, so I'll probably really like this!"
You thought wrong.
By page 9 the good guy, bad guy, goal and love interest are all set up so neatly and so quickly you'll immediately be on the alert for the clever plot twist to shake it up. I was, but spoiler alert: it never comes. Lizzy, the main character, is so passive she occasionally protests going along with whatever Diesel (the Good Guy, and don't for a second think you'll get any backstory, motive or reason to question him at any point of this void-of-character-development book) says and then suddenly she's doing it in the next paragraph. It's literally one big book of: "Do this!" "No" "You really need to, though," "No" Next paragraph: "I can't believe that just two days ago my life was normal and now I'm doing this thing that I don't want to do. I just want to make cupcakes!"
I'm not exaggerating.
Also, were we supposed to find the monkey funny? He says "Eeep!", flips people off and eats Froot Loops. He's messy, doesn't get along with her cat and all the characters kind of want him gone. Did you crack a smile as I described him? No? Well, too bad, because by the time you make it to the 2/3rds mark, the author is pretty obsessed with him. She'll updated you on what he's doing far more than anything else related to the actual plot. If you don't want spoilers, look away for this last bit: At one point Lizzy fears she's been raped while she was unconscious. She discusses her fears for a paragraph and then the monkey pukes and that's all they can worry about. That's right, keeping up with the monkey is more important to the author than her strange, never fully explained subplot of making bad cupcakes because of possible rape!
In the beginning it was almost so bad that it was at least amusing, but that fizzled quickly. One star read for me, for sure. If this was just like all her other books, I'm guaranteed to never read another Janet Evanovich book again.
I almost didn't get through the first twenty pages, because it was so painfully cliche. Girl moves to...more** Possibility of EXTREMELY VAGUE spoilers ahead!
I almost didn't get through the first twenty pages, because it was so painfully cliche. Girl moves to new place, starts school, sees boy from across room, doesn't speak to him but is instantly intrigued by him. By the second day she's "obsessed" and the first weekend (days three and four in her new home), she's desperate for the weekend to end so she can see this mysterious, handsome loner boy again. Her friends warn her against him and she tries to stay away because she's just not that kind of girl, but he's so breathtaking and hey, his sister is nice to her! Fate takes hold...
Those are pretty much the first eight pages or so, so I'm not really giving anything away. If you're like me and you're thinking about quitting, it does end up getting a bit better from there. Certainly the mythology element is fairly unique and I ended up really liking Fionn and Rian (along with their backstories). Megan, Adam and even Aine to a degree, barely make it out of their stereotypes, but hopefully the next book expands them more.
It took me quite a while to get through the first hundred pages because I kept stopping in annoyance, but once the actual plot got going I read it fairly quickly. I'd say the middle is the best, because in the last part of the book the representative from the overall shadowy villain group ended up being pretty pathetic. If the author is going to make her characters so powerful, she needs to come up with better ways around that for the villains or do *something* to make them less laughable.
If I read the next book, I hope the author does a better job explaining all of the rules, mythology and genetics of the Marks than the jumbled monologues we got here. Having the characters repeat "This is a lot of guesswork, of course" doesn't really negate the author herself seemingly doing a bad job keeping it all straight. Also, her explanations leave some really gaping plot holes that either I'm missing something for or she didn't notice. The biggest is the ancestral land the DeRis family lives on now... if it's protected from the baddies, then why did you bother leaving it? No parent's dying, no almost getting killed, safe space for (Rian especially) to practice their elements... Unless I missed something, it was a huge hole in their backstory.
With the strength of the idea, I kind of wished this one spent a little more time on the editor's desk! It turned out strong enough that I'll probably read the next in the series, but certainly not right away or because I'm desperate for more. (less)
The idea is very interesting and the characters were fairly believable, but the writing is just okay and the plot gets too complicated for the author....moreThe idea is very interesting and the characters were fairly believable, but the writing is just okay and the plot gets too complicated for the author.
There are odd cuts in the action where you're not sure if Ivy is only thinking or if you've just missed something and that gets frustrating quickly. Even worse are the descriptions, which are pretty ridiculous. I can handle mentions of porcelain skin or other terms that are par for the romance course, but descriptions like 'mocha hair' and Ivy gazing into his 'full, dark lashes' were all over the place and kind of laughable.
Each character that Ivy has a significant relationship with ends up having supposed or real changes in loyalty constantly. She's always heartbroken over betrayals of trust and she's always in such pain that she's sure she's dying. I would guess that most characters have about 2-7 real or imagined betrayal scenes. A few could have been interesting, but in the effort to make the story more dramatic and exciting, it comes off overloaded and I was pretty weary of it by the end.
If the book was about a hundred pages shorter after an extreme plot tightening and editing, I would have likely loved it. As it is I probably won't read the rest of the series, even if it was left in an interesting spot. The good ideas aren't worth wading through the rest of it, for me. (less)