I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell is oReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell is one of those novels that starts with a lot of promise--the premise alone should be appealing--but loses a bit of its steam as the story begins to reach its conclusion. While I did connect with the protagonist on various occasions, loved the idea of his world suddenly changing, and adored the whole family dynamic with his brother, I thought that the story lacked...something that would make any other story "pop".
Callum, the protagonist, is a normal teenager who immediately wakes up in the hospital, his life now different and slightly more dangerous, thanks to his best friend's murder attempt. I enjoyed watching how, despite being in a different "world", Callum adopts what is expected of him, despite not actually knowing what's going on.
In a way, the reader witnesses Callum grow into the antihero of this new world, even though deep down, we all know he's supposed to be the hero. This could all possibly hint at the fact that, though we think we know who we are, it is inevitable to sometimes find new sides to our personalities, especially when what we have previously always known is challenged.
I'm giving this one three stars because, despite its flatness from the story's middle to its conclusion, I was still intrigued. Normally, if a story is truly boring, I abandon it. But Undercurrent has so many questions without answers that it's easy for a reader to be sucked into the void of Blackwell's writing.
But this unsated curiosity is also the novel's downfall.
In trying to increase the anticipation, Blackwell forgets to answer some of the questions he creates. The conclusion hints at a sequel, but when one goes to the internet to check out the details for a possible sequel, there is nothing. I've read novels with inconclusive conclusions before, but like I mentioned earlier, this one lacked a certain quality that would normally leave the reader feeling mind-screwed (excuse the censoring). Instead, the reader is just left with a giant question mark and the slight feeling of being ripped off.
Okay, I did enjoy the relationship between Callum and his older brother because it was sweet and showed a side to Callum's antagonist that we would never have guessed, humanizing him towards us. I also felt Callum's anxiety over finding the truth and being led around by people he never so much as interacted with before.
The idea of the novel is pretty cool and appealing, but the prose was very slowly paced. It took me much longer to read this one than it should have, but somehow the pages just dragged.
Would I recommend this? Sure. If you like contemporary fiction with a hint of sci-fi, then check this one out. Keep in mind, however, that the hint of sci-fi is very tiny and the answer to the phenomenon in the novel is never really given. If you like strong-willed male protagonists, then check this one out.
Oh, and there's also a cute, if slightly traumatized, puppy!...more
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting is the third novel in the Body Finder series, which has anothThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting is the third novel in the Body Finder series, which has another installment set to release sometime in 2013. If you haven't read the previous two books, I suggest you do so (preferably The Body Finder; the first novel and the namesake of the series), since this book wasn't in the same league as the first book. When I first read The Body Finder, I fell in love with Derting's writing and the story she had to tell, when I read the second book I felt like she'd done it again (though not as strongly), and some say third time's the charm.
Yeah, not so much.
Sorry Derting, but though I did enjoy The Last Echo, it could have been so much better.
"In the end, all that's left is an echo...
Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet's talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it's Violet's job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice. When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by "the girlfriend collector" she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new "relationship" and Violet may have caught his eye...."
Okay, ignoring the fact that this synopses basically tells you all the events that happen in the previous two novels (Major Spoilers above), this synopses hints to us that this book is going to be another mystery that Violet tries to solve, while somehow catching the eye of the killer. I have some issues with what this novel promises and with what it actually gives me.
By the way, Derting's first two novels were devoured by me in less than two days, while this one I had to keep putting down because it just wasn't that addicting.
1. If you've read my review for Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi then you know what my biggest (and only) complaint for that novel was. The ending of Derting's novel must be the new offspring of cliches. The whole "mysterious antagonist" threatening the protagonist into pursuing something that is against their will is overkill, and I'm sorry, but for a novel that isn't as strong as its predecessors, this was a weak move. I get the whole wanting to have something to write about in the next installment, but not only was the unfolding of the conclusion predictable, but it was just plain annoying and frankly, I'm iffy about reading the fourth book.
2. Spoiler to those who haven't read the previous installments and want to in the future, The Last Echo BARELY touches on Jay and Violet's romance, which was the cutest thing ever (best friends in love type of deal, which I admit is a cliche as well) in the first two novels. Instead, we have the protagonist frolicking around with her emotions and this new "Rafe" character that registers as a big no-no for Violet. Plus, this whole "electrical shock" thing between the two characters whenever they touch is annoying. I understand that Derting is trying to create tension between her characters, but this is yet another cliche: the love triangle.
3. Violet kind of pissed me off in this one. She was immature and kind of dense. How does she not see what's right in front of her? Of course, she's always been a bit slow when it comes to understanding that she shouldn't throw herself in the way of danger, but Violet was dumber than usual in this installment.
4. This is just a personal question I want to ask to those who have read The Last Echo: Are you excited to read the constant reminder of the jewelry box music in the next installment?
I'll give you a hint: I'm not.
I know it sounds like I hated Derting's novel, but though some things annoyed me, I still fairly enjoyed it.
1. I'll hand it to her: Derting knows how to creep her readers out. Perhaps the strongest aspect of her novel is the murderer's perspective. Dark and delicious; it gave me the willies reading that at night.
2. Though I disliked the character of Rafe, it was cool to learn a little more about him and the rest of the team.
3. Derting may be flirting with cliches, but her writing is still fluid and imaginative, which makes her novel a quick read.
4. I disliked how this novel barely focused on Violet's relationship with Jay, or even Violet herself, but when Derting does bring up scenes with Jay they are just as fantastic and romantic as ever.
For some reason I feel like Derting's Body Finder series is going downhill. The series started so strongly, producing a similarly powerful sequel, but this third installment made me pause. I'm almost wary of what the fourth book will be like because I can kind of predict it as I write this review. The ending says it all: this author is running out of ideas. Of course, the one certain constant is the creepy factor of her antagonists, and if I could I would just read the excerpts from the points of view of the murderers in the future novels....more
I have a separate list for books that I am weary of reading, usually because of the great revieThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I have a separate list for books that I am weary of reading, usually because of the great reviews and hype about them. Anyone else would say: "Hey, if they're popular and have great reviews, why wouldn't you want to check the book out?" But in past experiences I've gone into books solely based on the recommendations and five-star ratings on book sites, and more often than not, I was left sorely disappointed.
Veronica Rossi's Under the Never Sky, thankfully, did not fall into the disappointment pile. This book was really, really good. Perhaps one of the top ten for me this year. Though the synopses of her book made me pause and contemplate if this was a book to read or pass, I'm glad I jumped the gun and read it anyway.
Let me just say that there are about four different covers for this novel, the one I've posted on this review (on my blog) is my favourite one because it shows BOTH of the characters, rather than just the female protagonist (since both her and the male protagonist have a say in the story). Rossi is a stunning writer and, cliches aside, I can see her making splashes in the YA literary world.
"WORLDS KEPT THEM APART.
DESTINY BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER.
Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.
Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.
If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers."
I only have one negative point about this novel:
I can't fathom how such a great book can have such a cliched and annoying ending. I've seen awesome novels greatly affected (negatively) by bad endings. I know Rossi is just building up tension for the sequel and such, but I personally think she could have taken a different route.
Also, this is such a copout for the next installment. It gives me the impression that the authors who do this (Kimberly Derting did something similar with her latest Body Finder novel, ugh) have no other way of attracting the reader's attention for the next novel because they may be running out of ideas.
Rossi's use of (view spoiler)[ending the novel with another character (usually in power) threatening one (or more) protagonist to create tension in the second book had the opposite effect on me. Her choice to have her character be manipulated by the antagonist made me wary of the next installment in the series. (hide spoiler)] I've seen it done before and it isn't always a success.
The positives, of course, are much greater in number.
1. I loved the world that Rossi creates in her debut novel. It's elaborate and creative.
2. Rossi's writing is fluid and beautiful, allowing the reader to effectively see into her imagination.
3. The character development was superb. At the beginning, Aria describes Perry as only a secluded person can describe someone new to her. Her fear and distate is so clearly stated that I felt bad for Perry, but he doesn't describe her any better. What I liked though is how slowly the two begin to see each other differently, until the point that they realize they're both just humans, whether one has special powers or not. This is powerful to me because it shows great character development and it teaches the reader an important lesson: we are all human, despite where we are raised or how we are taught. Though Aria's character at the beginning frustrates me, but her actions were plausible because of how she was raised.
4. Though it is nearly impossible to write a completely unpredictable novel, Rossi kept me at the edge of my proverbial seat. She didn't stop all the way through the novel... until the ending, but for that you'll have to reread my negative point about this novel.
Will I read the sequel to this, even though I obviously loved Under the Never Sky? I'm not sure. Again, the ending has me cringing with uncertainty as to where Rossi is going to take this monster of a cliche ending. Will I read any future works by Rossi outside of this series? Most definitely. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more