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Jan 01, 2011
Jan 11, 2011
**WARNING:** RANTING AHEAD....
This one is actually getting 1.5 stars NOT 2-- THAT'S how much I loath you Kelsey Hayes-- you can take your dumb "love-p
**WARNING:** RANTING AHEAD....
This one is actually getting 1.5 stars NOT 2-- THAT'S how much I loath you Kelsey Hayes-- you can take your dumb "love-plant" and SHOVE IT.
What would you do if someone offered you an all-expenses-paid trip to India with a mysterious white tiger who also happens to be a handsome Indian prince? Eighteen-year old Kelsey Hayes is faced with just this offer after spending 2 weeks working as a hired hand at a local circus one summer-- and her life will never be the same.
Soooo.... I had pretty much been *dying* to read this book for ages, and after reading review after raving review, I FINALLY picked it up off the shelves. I was so positively sure that I was going to absolutely love this book, that by the end, I would be in raptures and stumbling over myself trying to say enough good things about it.
I don't know what the hell happened, but this book turned out to be an absolute joke.
I KNOW, and I hate saying this, but I have to be honest. There were some things I liked about Tiger's Curse, but they were all completely overshadowed by some of the worst characterization I've ever encountered in a book. OK, here we go...
So first, let me talk a little about Kelsey Hayes, the main character. At the beginning, I actually liked her. Laid-back, down-to-earth, and slightly quirky, she was a fun character to follow in the story.
But then things started to go down hill-- rapidly.
I noticed about a hundred pages in that Kelsey's way of talking and thinking could be *extremely* juvenile at times-- juvenile and annoying. I don't know if anyone else thought the same thing, but as I made my way through this book, I just didn't feel like I was reading from an 18-year old's perspective. Some of the expressions she uses (my FAVE was when she exclaimed, "You wily scoundrel!" when Kishan tries to kiss her- DUDE. FIND ME SOMEONE WHO TALKS LIKE THIS), the way she addresses people ("oh hey there Mister!" -- seriously? Is your main character from The Little Rascals?), and just her whole way of thinking seemed more like that of an immature little kid than an adult...
And things only went from bad to worse when Ren the Prince stepped into the picture. If Kelsey was slightly childish and annoying to begin with, it was nothing compared to the infantile monstrosity she turns into in the last half of the book. The immaturity levels reached astronomical proportions. How you ask? Here are a few examples:
1.) She pouted and threw tiny tantrums when she was displeased about pretty much anything-- and rather than be an ADULT and communicate with Ren about how conflicted she was feeling, she turned into a cold and standoffish little biotch. Then, when the poor guy asks her what's wrong, she says "nothing" (in that way where it's obviously something) and goes right back to being Ice Queen Supreme. Clearly, this is an awesome way to treat people.
2.) She had the *exceedingly* annoying defense mechanism of needing to make sarcastic quips every 5 seconds, and the more defensive she got, the less likely it became for her to be serious or mature at crucial points in the story. I mean, the girl almost dies and the first thing she does upon waking up is crack a few dumb jokes-- well I'm sorry, but I don't want to read about a main character who acts like she's constantly auditioning at a comedy club (and failing miserably, I might add)-- I want her to have a grown-up, serious side too! It was just too much. There is no way in hell this chick was 18-- maybe 12? Maybe.... even that's pushing it.
3.) I just love how Kelsey was absolutely shocked and appalled when she sees Ren the Tiger-version and his brother hunt for food. She does realize that "hunting" involves killing something right?? And that tigers have a tendency towards being carnivores? And that tasty meat often comes from cute animals? I mean the girl had to actually sing herself to sleep to get over it-- no, I'm not making this up, she sings herself to sleep ("happy songs" from The Wizard of Oz) because the tigers killed an antelope. Then she has nightmares about it. And she's eighteen -_-
4.) Kelsey just LOVES to continually tell us about her little "love-plant" for Ren-- because you know, normal people talk like this. By the end I wanted to take some pesticide spray and a blow torch to Kelsey's freaking love-plant and incinerate the damn thing into the ground...
(I won't even get into the fact that she was dumb as a brick and could barely tie her own shoes without Ren holding her hand. But wait, you say! The book says she loves reading Shakespeare, well then she MUST be a total rocket scientist, no?? Give me a fa-reaking break Colleen- sorry my dear, but saying that your main protag reads Shakespeare does NOT make her smart and clever and oh-so-different from everyone else, because she comes across as a complete dumbass in everything else she thinks, does, and says. Need I mention how she nearly gets herself killed near Kishindha? Because she goes to grab a pretty sparkly diamond out of the water, moments after she and Ren nearly died because DUH the prophesy TOLD you not to believe your eyes and that things weren't as they seemed! GAWD she's like freaking Abu the monkey in Aladdin, literally that is who she reminded me of! **slaps forehead in total frustration**)
But I think that out of all the things that bothered me about Kelsey, the VERY WORST was the fact that she made such a snap judgement about Ren-- without even giving him the chance to prove that he was a good guy-- and then proceeded to treat him like total crap for the rest of the book, all for absolutely NO REASON other than her own stinking insecurity that "she wasn't good enough for him." Kelsey Hayes, you were to put it bluntly, one of THE most immature characters I have ever read about, and you need to go find yourself a therapist. Pronto.
So... Let's just say that by the end of this book, I had never wanted to punch a main character in the face quite so badly as Kelsey "Boo-Hoo I'll Never Be Good Enough So I'll Just Act Like a Bitch 24/7" Hayes.
While we're sitting in on How to Make Your Characters As Unlikable as Possible 101, let's take a look at Ren. Overall, the guy wasn't too bad when you stand back and see him over the course of the book-- but I still couldn't stand him. And the thing is, he wouldn't have been such an unlikable character if the author hadn't set him up to be totally unlikable . To prove my point, here are just a few of the phrases used to describe Ren's actions in this book:
-Smiled "mockingly" and "malevolently"
-scoffed and smirked
-was "annoyingly happy"
Now you tell me-- would you like a character whose behavior is described this way?? The guy is annoying even when he's happy for crying out loud, and the rest of the time he's described as being a total ass-hat, and I'm supposed to be falling in love with him?!? I mean he sounds like a complete douche, amirite?? There's only two explanations for this kind of character portrayal:
1.) Ren is, in fact, a douche-- in which case I can't stand him and hope he jumps off a cliff, or
2.) Ren is actually a good guy and all of this is Kelsey's perception of him-- in which case Kelsey is *psycho cray cray* and I hope she jumps off a cliff.
In either case, I'm really not rooting for your characters.
Then there's the fact that Ren is-- according to the story-- hundreds of years old. And it seems like in every YA story where one of the characters has been around for a long time (Twilight, Fallen...) we're just supposed to forget this fact and think it makes total sense for them to act like immature teenagers and have character dialogue that's somewhere along the lines of "Ohemgee totally!!." I mean here we have this 300-year old Indian prince and he's referring to Kelsey as "Kells??" Are you freaking kidding me??? So yes, this made Ren even MORE obnoxious as a main character, if that's even possible.
(And oh, hey-- let's not even get into the glaring "ick" factor that this kind of plot point brings up: a 300-year old guy is flirting and trying to get with an 18-year old girl.
Really. THINK ABOUT IT.)
I also felt like the pacing of the plot was slightly off. Overall, I thought that the story itself was pretty good-- I loved the Indian setting and the adventurous element it had going on-- but there was just a lot of superfluous description that got in the way for me. For example, when Kelsey gets on the plane to go to India, I thought we were never going to hear the end of all the luxurious details of the plane's interior and the food they ate. Don't get me wrong, I think that adding vivid description to your story is wonderful and sets the backdrop for all the action, but I also think there is a way to describe a scene while still leaving something up to the reader's imagination! I mean, do I *really* care what color hair ribbon Kelsey ties in her braids every day? And by the by, how many 18-year-olds do YOU know who tie hair ribbons in their braids? Or walk around with their blanket like they're freaking Linus from Charlie Brown?? JUST SAYING.
Besides plot pacing being off, many parts of the plot made ZERO SENSE. Tell me, how many foster parents do you know, who seem to be fairly sensible and, oh I don't know, **SANE** let their foster-daughter go off on a trip to INDIA with a strange older man and a tiger, after meeting said man ONE TIME?? This is basically how things played out:
1.) Kelsey works 2 weeks as a hired hand at a circus (WHICH she got from some super-shady work placement company)
2.) Kelsey reads Shakespeare to the tiger at said circus (Hmm yeah, that's totally normal) and then a strange Indian man shows up and tells Kelsey she is PERFECT for taking care of the tiger, if she can only GO TO INDIA to put tiger in a nature reserve (***RED FLAGS GOING OFF HERE***).
3.) Kelsey's parents AGREE TO LET HER GO TO INDIA with strange older man after meeting him once, and within a WEEK Kelsey has all her documentation, passports, vaccines, etc. taken care of and is on a plane to India to take care of a rare white tiger species because 2 weeks of sweeping up crap at a circus has turned her into an animal GENIUS.
**Insert dumb-founded expression HERE 0_o**
Also-- and this is something I didn't even fully realize until awhile after I finished reading it-- but this book is BEYOND RACIST. It basically portrays Indian people as pathetic simpletons with horrible broken English (Ummm guess what Colleen? Many Indian people know how to speak English, and those who don't aren't idiots who you can write about as though they're incoherent monkeys...) Mr. Kadam, the Indian man employed by Prince Ren, basically spends the entire book kissing the ground Kelsey Hayes walks on, waxing eloquent about how amazing she is. WHY?? What the flying you-know-what is so awesome about Kelsey Hayes?? She's a vapid, lazy and stuck-up wish fulfillment device who is glorified by everyone for no good reason. Pretty much everyone in this book who is NOT WHITE AMERICAN is ignorantly and disrespectfully portrayed like a cartoon, exaggerated to the point of being comical-- except that it ISN'T FUNNY because it's straight-up RACISM. Then we have Kelsey- the White Girl Who Saves the Day- someone with absolutely no qualifications or connection to Indian culture, who we find out is actually the "Chosen One" of the Indian goddess Durga. YEAH YOU HEARD ME RIGHT. Kelsey, the most ignorant and brain-dead character ever conceived for YA fiction, the lazy American white girl who acts like a spoiled whiny little brat for 400+ freaking pages- is the savior of the Indian people. Excuse me while I very loudly exclaim:
As far as the romance goes, well if you're a fan of train wrecks, you're going to be in 7th heaven because this was just about as dysfunctional as they come. It was like watching two cars heading for a straight-on collision, and not being able to do a damn thing about it, so you just sit there with the same horrified expression on your face that you'd have if you accidentally swallowed a mouthful of spoiled milk. Three-month-old spoiled milk. I've already described Kelsey's emotional constipation and total lack of ability to do anything remotely mature, but I also didn't like how possessive Ren got of Kelsey as the story went on. Protective tiger-- awesome, Possessive love interest-- HELL to the NO. Not a fan. I was also pretty annoyed at the good ol' YA ploy of presenting the main character as Ms. I'm-Totally-Average-But-Every-Guy-Who-Sees-Me-Falls-Inexplicably-Yet-Madly-In-Love-With-Me-Tee-Hee!-- because it's been done SO many times. In fact, it's gotten to be about as cliche as being Disney-Princess-Perfect. Which brings me to...
**************** My Brief Bookish Rant ****************
Yeah so after all that, you're probably wondering what the heck else I have to rant about. (Do not underestimate my ranting skills *whahahaha!*) So here is my totally random gripe-- and trust me, this is random-- that I have to get off my shoulders. And I'm not trying to pick on this book specifically, it's more of a general trend that I see again and again in YA books-- and my slightly annoyed question is this:
WHY do authors always make a POINT of telling us that their main female characters never or seldom wear makeup?
I know, I know, this is such a dumb thing to rant about, but for *some reason* it bothers me. I mean, is there something bad about wearing makeup or doing your hair on a regular basis? Do they think that makeup makes their protagonist seem stupid or fake? Do they assume that readers won't relate to a character who wears makeup because... I don't know, people who read don't wear makeup? Like why does it even need to be mentioned? It's like they expect me the reader to go, "Ohh, she doesn't wear makeup! Well I can respect her a lot more now!" And then on the other side of things, the "mean girl" or the bitchy back-stabber is often described as wearing makeup or being super tan or having the latest fashions. WHY?? Is it a given that if a girl cares about her appearance she must be less of a person? If the main character is a frumpy Plain-Jane who's never worn heels and who thinks at best she's "average," am I supposed to like her more? What exactly are you trying to convey to me the reader when you tell me that your main character doesn't wear makeup? I just don't see what the heck this has to do with the characterization of someone, and personally I couldn't care less whether the main character wears makeup or not, so stop bringing it up like it's a determining factor in whether or not I'll relate to/like/respect that character more!
(I will mention that Kelsey does get dolled up a few times in the book, but what irked me was her complete inability to see herself as being attractive, no matter what. This is not a good character trait. Insecurity and false modesty are NOT attractive in anyone-- it's extremely immature and I CAN'T STAND characters that constantly use self-pity and self-deprecation to excuse themselves from acting grown-up. SO STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!)
OK, rant over. I feel much better now!
Tiger's Curse is one of those books that I think appeals to a large group of people because it has a lot of great things going on-- romance, adventure, travel, mystery, an ancient curse-- I mean, what's not to love about that? BUT-- and this is a big but-- none of them, in my opinion, were executed well. The romance devolved into two spoiled teenagers acting like juvenile brats, the adventure and mystery were bogged down by way too much description, and honestly, by the end I was so fed up with the main characters that I really couldn't care less about where the story was going-- I just wanted it to end so I didn't have to constantly fight the temptation to throw the book out the window of a 50-story building.
So my final word with this one is- proceed with caution. While I can see the appeal for many readers, if you are like me and can't stand pointless drama, immature dialogue, and characters who act much younger than their years, you might want to think twice before picking this one up. On the other hand, the ratings overall for Tiger's Curse are extremely good, so this may very well be a case of me just personally not liking it. Read what other people had to say about this book, you might end up loving it-- I, unfortunately, was not one of those people.
~Lea @ LC's Adventures in Libraryland ...more
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Jan 28, 2013
Feb 05, 2013
Mar 29, 2012
Feb 12, 2013
Feb 12, 2013
Whyyyyyyyyyyy guys..... WHY did this happen??
So... yeah. I really don't even know where to begin with my review of this book because I'm just so dange Whyyyyyyyyyyy guys..... WHY did this happen??
So... yeah. I really don't even know where to begin with my review of this book because I'm just so danged confused. I mean, I LOVED Wither. Freakin' loved it, raved on and on about it, gave it 5 stars all the way which I hardly ever do. I also really enjoyed Fever- it wasn't quite as intriguing as the first book, but the plot was still there, the characters were still all likable for the most part, and Lauren's absolutely incredible and haunting way of describing scenes kept me totally hooked.
And then came Sever.
Also known as: "The Monotonous Train Wreck That Will Bore You to Tears Because This Series NEVER Should Have Been Made Into a Trilogy."
Clearly, I need to get a job making up ridiculously long titles for YA books...
Now I don't want to be mean here, especially since I do think that Lauren D. is an incredibly talented writer, but I just wasn't impressed with this last book. Like, at all. For me this series started out as a 5-star knock-out and ended up as a washed-out flop that I could barely bother to finish. I actually had to FORCE myself to get through this book, and it took me about three weeks, I kid you not. And here are my reasons why:
1.) Rhine. Honestly I don't have much to say about her because she just fell totally flat for me- as in, devoid of anything close to resembling a personality. Not to mention, she literally does NOTHING throughout the whole book. I really can't understand why Rhine was portrayed as being so utterly vapid and useless, because LD proves that she can master characterization with Cecily-- Cecily was an AMAZING character and honestly, she's the only one who managed to somewhat redeem the story for me. Full of life yet still flawed, she was lovable, annoying, and endearing all at the same time. I loved Cecily because she had depth and she was multi-dimensional. In fact, she's getting one out of the two stars I gave this book because without her it would've been a total disaster. However, Rhine- the MAIN PROTAG OF THE BOOK- was just one big wishy-washy smudge on the page. She was an empty shell who we observe things from, but never get to know in any particular way. None of her emotions seemed real, and she acted like an apathetic lump of oatmeal throughout the entire book. She had no intensity, no spark, no... nothing. She comes across as being weak and powerless to do anything, and her internal thought process was extremely dull and lacked any kind of passion. And because the whole freaking book is written through her boring perspective, I was snoozing before I even made it halfway through.
2.) Linden. It takes talent to conceive of a character as limp, washed-out and mind-numbingly boring as Linden. Talk about a wuss. Sorry, that's really the best word I can think of to describe him because he had no backbone whatsoever and just came across as being totally pathetic. I could not for the life of me take him seriously and forgot about him completely whenever he wasn't being specifically mentioned in the story. So there are our two main characters, who were so gosh-dang dull that I could barely keep my eyes open to find out what happens to them. The secondary characters stole the show- I just don't understand how Rhine and Linden ended up being so lifeless and boring!
3.) Rowen. We've been waiting in suspense for TWO books to see this long-lost brother of Rhine's. Well guess what? He turns out to be a total jerk-wad who doesn't give a crap about anything but himself and blowing shit up. FAIL.
4.) Gabriel. If you're a fan of Gabriel, you're about to be sorely disappointed- the guy is randomly tossed into the last 5 pages of the book and the ending with him is so convenient, it's laughable.
5.) That whole thing where Rhine never had sex. OK. So. This actually was a point made by awesome reviewer Christina from A Reader of Fictions (and by the way you should read her reviews for this series because they are effing BRILLIANT) but I had to make mention of it because it is just SO TRUE. And the question is: HOW is it that Lauren D. created this ENTIRE WORLD around the horrific concept of girls being sold into sex slavery and becoming breeding machines, but then NEVER gave any remotely believable explanation for how Rhine ends up still a virgin at the end of the book after placing her in situations where she OBVIOUSLY would have lost it?? Let's look at this: In Book 1 Rhine becomes a sister wife to Linden and is expected to give him a child. It was totally OK to mention in the book that a bunch of girls were SHOT TO DEATH in the back of a truck because they didn't meet the right qualifications to become wives, but somehow Rhine is chosen and is now supposed to become a baby-maker for Vaughn's son. But nope! Apparently mass murder is OK to put in a YA book, but **God forbid** our main character become tainted by having sex-- Linden says that he wants Rhine to fall in love with him before he makes any moves, so Rhine stays virgo intacta. Alrighty, I can *sort of* buy that, especially since we know he was already banging Cecily and Jenna anyways, and let's be serious here, Linden isn't exactly any Don Juan. But then in Book 2 things get super-duper ridiculous. Rhine is actually captured by a PROSTITUTION CIRCUS (Yeah, those exist) and is drugged out of her mind by the crazy "madame" who owns the joint to-- ZOMG-- make out with her boyfriend!! YEAH. RIGHT. Are you kidding me? You've got to be kidding me. This is supposedly a world where girls are treated like sex objects and baby makers, Rhine is in a whore house on drugs-- and all the customers want to pay for is to watch her make out with Gabriel? I DON'T THINK SO!! And of course by the end of Book 3, Rhine is still the model of pure virginity, after everything she want through. Sorry, I'm not buying it, this is completely unbelievable given the premise of this story. Look authors: Either write a YA book that's PG, or write an edgy dystopian with adult themes. YOU CAN'T DO BOTH. Not unless you want to leave out totally obvious plot points and have your story end up making ZERO sense. If you're writing a dystopian world like this one, you have to follow through with it and make it believable, even if that means having shitty things happen to your main character-- otherwise, it ends up failing completely. And it did because Lauren, or the editors, or whoever, didn't take it all the way to make it real for the reader. Fail, fail, fail- dystopian fail.
6.) Plot holes galore. And discontinuity in characterization. For example, Rhine has never been on a plane before and there are no airports left in her destroyed world for normal people to use- yet when she gets on Vaughn's plane at one point in the story, she very casually refers to the tarmac. How, pray tell, does she even know what a tarmac is? Yes, the author does, but Rhine would not. Then there are convenient plot points that make no sense even in fiction, and especially not in a dystopia, which is supposed to at least *somewhat* connect back to the real world as it is, and make a statement about actual society. Example: When Vaughn is explaining how things got to be the way they are in Rhine's world, he says that at one point the government deactivated everyone's cell phones and prohibited access to the internet-- he then breezes by the fact that there were some "hiccups of protest." Umm OK, I don't know what planet LD is trying to describe here, but if this actually happened in real life, do you really think there would only be some "hiccups" of protest? Eff no, there would be another American Revolution for crying out loud! I'm sorry, but you can't just conveniently brush aside major details like this and expect your story or world-building to come across as being even remotely believable to your reader. I would go on about some of the other ridiculously HUGE plot points that are revealed but make no sense and are never explained, but I don't want to give away any spoilers. I'll just say that these things made the overall plot seem sloppy, shoved together, and not well thought-out at all.
7.) The title of the series. I can count on one hand how many times the "Chemical Gardens" are actually mentioned- and they aren't even adequately explained. So... why the heck is the entire trilogy named after them?? Answer: it sounds cool.
8.) The Cover. Once again, I'm going to have to voice a very strong and resounding "meh." Wait, scratch that- the cover of Sever is just a total and complete mess. First, that shade of green is absolutely horrendous (Seriously whose decision was that?!) Second, the garish lighting on the model makes her look terrible. The model on the first cover looked gorgeous, and I'm not sure whether this is the same model or not, but she looks positively dreadful. And then the rest of the cover design looks like some cheesy still life that was thrown together by an intern or something at the last minute. Like the story, this cover is at best lackluster and uninspired, and at worst a contrived and sloppy disaster. It's almost like it's forcing itself to try and achieve the greatness of the first gorgeous cover, but fails pretty bad at even coming close.
So all in all, I just feel like LD lost steam with this last installment of the Chemical Garden series. And it really is a shame because she IS an extremely talented writer. But I think that some YA stories are being forced into becoming trilogies because they make more money that way, but not ALL stories were meant to be told in three books. I think one or two could have sufficed for this series, instead of aimlessly drawing the plot out for three books, because by the time I got to the third one, a lot of what I had loved about the first had unfortunately been lost. What started out as an amazing story with awesome characterization and incredible world-building ended on a tired and uninspired note. It's hard to say that about a series you originally fell in love with, but the sad truth is that marketing-- and failing to take your world-building to its logical conclusions-- killed an otherwise good story. ...more
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Mar 29, 2013
Jun 12, 2013
Mar 09, 2012
Jan 01, 2012
Apr 24, 2012
[**NOTE: This review was not affected by online drama or controversy. Everything I have to say here is based on my own personal opinion about the boo .
[**NOTE: This review was not affected by online drama or controversy. Everything I have to say here is based on my own personal opinion about the book itself, even though I definitely think Cass needs a new publicist.]
[**NOTE #2: All the captions in the non-animated picture memes were made by me-- because, you know, I'm just THAT brilliantly witty. So please don't use them without asking my permission first. Thanks :)]
35 GIRLS. 1 CROWN. THE COMPETITION OF A LIFETIME.
Now with a story premise like that, honestly I thought it would take a lot to ruin this book for me. 35 girls all competing for one crown and the heart of one handsome prince? Sign me up and bring on the popcorn! However, The Selection turned out to be one of those unfortunate books that had about twenty-dozen little things in it that just aggravated the crap out of me, with the end result being that I was entertained by it for all the wrong reasons.
So first, a word about love triangles. I honestly don't mind them IF they are done well. But in this case, the love triangle was SO freaking forced, cliche, and angsty, I was ready to tear my hair out strand by strand. The whole thing between America, Aspen, and Maxon was just completely ridiculous (ALMOST as ridiculous as those names), and the motivations behind their actions made absolutely no sense whatsoever. There were so many instances of juvenile misunderstanding, miscommunication, etc. that I'm not even going to bother going into specifics. All I have to say is: STOP TRYING TO MAKE THE LOVE TRIANGLE HAPPEN.
Moving on, America as a main character was just about two steps away from being completely intolerable. She was-- to put it simply-- extremely annoying (Highlight, underline, and bold extremely). I *might* have been able to stand her if all the little things that were supposed to make her seem like a fun and feisty redhead hadn't come across as painfully redundant and irritating (Oh and by the way- I'm a genuine redhead, so I can tell you right now, we don't act like America Singer). So yeah, by the end, I was pretty much incredibly offended that my redheaded-ness was portrayed in such a pathetic and crappy light. For example, she denies ad nauseum that she's beautiful even though she clearly is. (Please note, America: False modesty does not make you more attractive-- it makes people want to punch you in the face.) She makes constant quips and remarks about the stuffy life that Maxon leads and he finds it to be cute (it's not). She's got the whole cliche tom-boy thing going on while every other girl is a Stepford clone-- It was just like, OK, I get it, she's one of those totally-gorgeous-but-she's-the-only-one-who-thinks-she's-not girls. And ironically? She stands out in the story because she's so "different" from the other girls, while simultaneously being about as cliche as they come.
As for the rest of the girls in the book? Well, let's just say that added to the exasperating America Singer, this book just made me hate girls. For real. Even more than ANTM.
And the guys weren't any better. Probably because they were about as manly as:
Prince Maxon was seriously one of the most awkward characters I've ever encountered-- and not in that adorable, hott kind of way either. In typical Disney prince fashion, he was so perfect and nice that I couldn't even take him seriously. He bored me to tears and was overly-sheltered to the point of being pathetic. And his behavior? It made NO SENSE. Let's review: America wrongly assumes that Maxon is about to rape her-- then she proceeds to knee him in the royal jewels-- then he pretty much brushes it off like a day later and goes back to let's-be-best-friends-because-I-don't-have-any mode. Seriously dude? I've never watched The Bachelor, but I'm thinking that if some strange girl told the guy that she had zero interest in him, that she was in love with somebody else, that she was only there for the food (no I'm not making this up) AND THEN wrongly accused him of being a rapist, I'm going to take a **wild guess** that he would've kicked her out of the mansion on the spot. I mean, that's a pretty serious way to offend someone, no?
But then when America tries to explain to him that Celeste the Biotch is sabotaging the rest of the girls, he throws a hissy fit being all like, "YOU WILL RESPECT MAH AUTHORATAH!" -- and almost sends her home. Whhhhhaaaatttt???
However, Prince Maxon wasn't nearly as douche-baggy as Aspen, the chauvinistic jerk-wad who gets his panties all in a bunch when America tries to make him dinner and then immediately bails on her because he can't handle the helpless, little woman being the one providing for him. This guy seriously needed to grow a pair.
Another beef I had with this book was that I couldn't find any context for the kind of society that America Singer lives in. HOW did Illea come to be the way it is? What major events led up to the creation of a society where there's a monarchy, an eight-tiered caste system, and two different groups of rebel forces trying to bring it down? And why again was The Selection created?? (Vague explanation: it creates hope. okaaayyyy...) And don't even get me started on "The History Lesson" that was randomly thrown in, because it made absolutely NO SENSE (The American State of China? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA). Apparently there was a Third and Fourth World War where the US was invaded by China and then Russia because it couldn't pay off its massive debt. Riiiiiiiiiiight... Explain that one to me, please-- last time I checked, major international superpowers don't behave like 4th graders trying to steal someone's lunch money by giving them a massive wedgie. So, in a nutshell, the "history lesson" that attempted to establish the world of Illea explained nothing.
So for me, it was difficult to find a connection to this world because it wasn't built on any solid foundation that would have made it remotely believable. And I'm sorry, but if a book can't manage to adequately explain how a society came to be and what the motivation is behind the ones leading it or trying to tear it down (**cough, cough** Matched! **cough, cough**), that for me is a major dystopian FAIL. In the end, I just had to take Illea for what it was-- a make-believe fairy-tale kind of setting that had no plausible explanation for why it exists or how it came to be.
Now if the long-awaited, delicious drama of a 35-girl competition had actually happened, I really wouldn't have cared about the absence of a thought-provoking dystopia. But where the heck was the crazy competition part of the story?? That whole Bachelor spin-off was the number one reason I was looking forward to reading this book in the first place! And the entire thing ended up being one big snoozefest. There were some random acts of cattiness and backstabbing, a few girls got kicked off, a few dresses got ruined, but hardly anything was explained and there was little to no build-up. What happened to--
Not only was there no drama, but I honestly couldn't have cared less about who got kicked off and who stayed. Note to the author: If you aren't going to even bother telling your readers WHO your characters are, WE AREN'T GOING TO GIVE A CRAP WHEN THEY GET BUMPED OFF. We have ZERO investment in them. So faceless, never-before-mentioned Girls #1, 2 and 3 got the ax? Umm, yeah don't care. No shock value. And Celeste the spoiled little rich girl? C'mon now, she was one big glaring stereotype and had about as much personality as a thumbtack. It was boring!! And one of the girls was named Tiny. I'm sorry, but how can I take a book seriously with character names like Tiny, Tuesday, King Clarkson, and Maxon Schreave? (Answer: I can't.) And when the only thing in your dystopia that comes across as being even slightly disturbing is the prospect that one day we will be moronic enough to name our kids "Tiny" and "America," well, you've messed up something pretty badly. Just sayin'.
So for me, the only thing that this book had going for it was that it was *mildly* entertaining in a mindless kind of way, and there was nothing about it that made me want to seriously punch a hole in the wall. But the rest was either very confusing or highly predictable. Everything from the characters, to the love triangle, to most of the outcomes of The Selection were all very easy to see coming from miles away. I'm sorry, but I really couldn't find anything about this book that was terribly exceptional or interesting and overall, I just wasn't impressed.
After this, I think I'll be picking up a book about killer dragons. Or bioengineered war beasts. That really sounds like a good idea right about now...
~Lea @ LC's Adventures in Libraryland ...more
Notes are private!
May 14, 2012
May 17, 2012
Sep 19, 2011
Jul 26, 2011
Jul 26, 2011
Yep, so in a nutshell, I was not a fan of this book. Like, at all.
My main issue with Wildefire was that I didn't like the main character.
Wait, scrat .
Yep, so in a nutshell, I was not a fan of this book. Like, at all.
My main issue with Wildefire was that I didn't like the main character.
Wait, scratch that-- I could not stand the main character.
Wait, scratch that again-- I wish the main character had taken a running dive off of a cliff and spontaneously combusted in mid-free fall, or met any other catastrophe a la Wile E. Coyote.
Yes, that's how much I detested Ashline Wilde-- I had to whip out some visuals of her cartoon-ish demise.
Why you ask? Well, first of all she was violent and abusive, and walked all over everyone and treated them like crap. She was super-aggressive and mean and made me wish someone would slap her into next week. Because of this, she was impossible to relate to or sympathize with.
Not to mention, she was absolutely, positively crazy. Let me elaborate on this point by saying that, in the prologue, Ashline beats up some girl that supposedly "stole" her boyfriend-- she actually punches the girl so hard that she's knocked unconscious and loses a tooth. Now, this begs the question, why didn't Ashline confront her unfaithful, loser boyfriend first instead of taking out her rage on the girl? And second, um hello! She just committed serious physical assault! And you now want me to be on this girl's side?! She's a psycho! I'm not on her side, she should be headed to a JV detention center for crying out loud! Not cool.
Her craziness continued throughout the book with many random outbursts, leaving me thinking, "um... ok?" And finally, she just wasn't girly. If her name wasn't Ashline, I would've sworn she was a dude. Which made me wonder, why didn't Karsten Knight just make his protagonist a boy? Since he is a guy himself, he would have been able to create a much more believable protag. All in all, Ashline just came across as both unbelievable as a character and really nasty as a person, so I never felt any connection to her in the story. In fact, I was sort of rooting against her.
I wish I could say that the secondary characters made up for Ashline's complete douche-baggery, but they were equally nasty, annoying and immature. The only one I liked somewhat was Colt, but I still couldn't understand for the life of me why he was so smitten with Ashline, who was beyond obnoxious and belittled him every chance she got. The guy doted on her like a love-sick puppy. Really?! Nope, not buying it. Ashline was a real you-know-what. In real life, he would've ditched her without a second thought.
Call me a wimp, but I also wasn't a big fan of all the gratuitous violence thrown into the story, much of which seemed pretty unnecessary, especially the prologue and the whole fiasco with Lizzie Jacobs (Which, by the by, sounds like such a fake name). Maybe that's just me, but really, you are going to be pretty hard-pressed getting me to like a character who commits serious physical assault within the first few pages of the book. Yeah. Major turn off.
Next on the list: The dialogue between the characters was positively dripping with sarcasm and undisguised venom, also for no apparent reason. Now I don't mind a little snark here and there, that livens up the interactions between the characters, but having every line be some biting comment or come back? Nobody talks like that first of all, at least not anyone that I know, and second it comes across as very forced and artificial. It was like the author was thinking as he wrote: how cruddy and mean can I make these characters without them actually killing each other off? So yeah, I definitely got annoyed with the heavy-handed sarcasm after awhile.
Finally, and I've heard other people say this too but I had the same experience-- it took me a long time to really get into this story. There just wasn't a whole lot to keep me interested until a little over halfway through the book. Unfortunately by that point, I was so fed up with the characters that I didn't really care anymore anyways.
So altogether, this book was a fail for me. Not only wasn't I invested in any of the characters, I couldn't stand them. The sarcastic dialogue got really old about half-way through the story and finally, I didn't think that the graphic violence did anything for the plot. The one redeeming aspect of this book was the ending-- not just because it meant I could stop reading, but it was admittedly quite the cliffhanger. I think that for anyone who did enjoy this book and the characters, it was the perfect ending to entice them into reading the next book.
Unfortunately-- and this probably won't come as a big surprise-- I won't be reading the sequel.
Lea @ LC's Adventures in Libraryland ...more
Notes are private!
Nov 19, 2011
Nov 22, 2011
Aug 11, 2011
Sep 20, 2011
Sep 20, 2011
[NOTE: I gave this book 1 1/2 stars on my blog...]
Hmmmm... OK, so... I wasn't a huge fan of this book. Cold Kiss tells the story of Wren, a high schoo [NOTE: I gave this book 1 1/2 stars on my blog...]
Hmmmm... OK, so... I wasn't a huge fan of this book. Cold Kiss tells the story of Wren, a high school girl, who happens to have magic powers that her mom has kept a secret from her all her life-- until her boyfriend Danny dies in a car accident, and Wren finds out that she can use her powers to bring him back to life. The problem is that once she does, Danny isn't the same...
When I first read the premise for this book, I was thinking to myself alright, this could either go one way and be really awesome, or it could just fall flat as a pancake. Unfortunately, I felt like it did the second of those two. I had numerous problems with it almost from the beginning, and even though I kept hoping the story and characters were going to get better, it all just kept getting worse.
So my first and biggest problem with this book was the main character Wren. She was completely unlikable. Wait, scratch that-- she was a miserable, stuck-up, ungrateful little toerag who I just wanted to slap into next week for being so incredibly selfish, mean, and bratty. And what really ground my gears about her, besides her insufferable and immature attitude, was her delusional belief that after raising her dead boyfriend back to life and basically turning him into a brain-dead zombie who lives in an abandoned garage, she still somehow thought that she had everything under control and refused to let anyone help her! Gah! So frustrating!
Alright, I will give the girl a little credit-- Wren does understand the horrible consequences of her decisions and she knows that she has to fix things somehow-- I just didn't like the way she went about it. I also get that Wren was incredibly frustrated because she has these crazy powers and no one-- not even her own mother-- will explain them to her. So I guess in a way it's no wonder that she ended up using them in one of the worst ways possible. But despite all of this? She still came across to me as a really crappy person.
Danny, Wren's undead boyfriend, was not much better. Honestly, he was laughable-- and not in a good way, because I feel like the author was trying to make him seem like this super-tragic, sexy undead guy, but instead he just came across as ridiculous and pathetic. I didn't feel sorry for him, which I know as the reader, I was supposed to. And this made me feel like a big, unsympathetic jerk.
Then we have Gabriel, the new hott guy in town who wants to help Wren out of her situation. He annoyed the crap out of me too-- why? Because he's only known Wren for what, like a couple weeks? And he's inexplicably bending over backwards to help out a girl who only responds to him with venomous retorts and ice-queen attitude. Why the heck is he even attracted to her? She treats him like complete and utter crap! This is not realistic at all, and I hate when books portray these totally unrealistic relationships that make zero sense. Almost every interaction was Gab acting like a love-sick puppy towards Wren, who only threw bitchy comments at him if he so much as looked at her the wrong way, and then Wren wondering why Gab likes her so much (a question I also had). It just baffled me that Gab continually took Wren's abuse and was so willing to help her out of a situation that she had selfishly gotten herself into in the first place.
Besides the annoying main characters whom I either hated or couldn't stop laughing at, the ideas in the story were very vague and wishy-washy. Based on the fact that Wren brought Danny back from the dead and that she has had some kind of "power" ever since she became a teenager, the reader would assume that she's a witch, right? But this was only hinted at throughout the book with a few mentions of spells and magic, and nothing was ever really developed too deeply. I don't think Wren even mentioned being an actual "witch" until Chapter 21! This made the whole paranormal aspect of the story really confusing for me.
Finally, I think that this book just took itself too seriously-- it tried to make some deep, meaningful, romantic story out of a premise that is to begin with pretty ridiculous. I would have liked it so much better if it was a comic, light-hearted story about some teenage witch and her undead zombie boyfriend getting into all kinds of shenanigans (love that word) and ending with a touching, happy ending. Unfortunately, any humor that was in the story seemed like it was just awkwardly thrown in as an afterthought, so it didn't come across as actually being funny. (Fail.)
So I don't know, Cold Kiss was readable, it's not like I ever felt like I wasn't going to be able to finish it, but it was one of those unfortunate cases where I just didn't like or wasn't interested in the characters-- and if I'm not invested in the characters, the rest of the story isn't going to do much for me. Let me also state however, that there are many readers out there who did like this book and thought that the characters were really well-done and multi-dimensional. Even though I wasn't a fan, you might want to check out some positive reviews on it because you might end up really liking it!
Lea @ LC's Adventures in Libraryland ...more
Notes are private!
Jan 22, 2012
Jan 25, 2012
Jul 20, 2011
Jun 14, 2011
Sigh... OK, ready for this?
So, as you may know, the Fallen series is definitely not one of my favorites-- but I am inexplicably draw **SOME SPOILERS**
Sigh... OK, ready for this?
So, as you may know, the Fallen series is definitely not one of my favorites-- but I am inexplicably drawn to them like a moth to a flame, or a fat guy to a doughnut-- and I keep reading, in the vain hope that someday, somehow I will finally understand what was going through LK's head when she wrote these books...
so, here we go:
At the end of the last book, Luce had had enough of absolutely no one telling her what the heck was going on with the curse between her and Daniel (OK, we were ALL fed up with not knowing what was going on) so at the last moment she peaced-out by stepping into an Announcer and back into her past lives to figure things out on her own. Passion follows Luce's "Quest" to find out why she and Daniel are cursed, so that she can break it. Along the way, she meets her new little Disney-sidekick Bill, who helps her while adding comic relief throughout. Luce and Bill travel from Moscow during WWII to England in the mid-1800's, to Versailles, to the Globe Theater during Shakespeare's time, to the Mayan civilization, all the way back to ancient Egypt. Meanwhile, Daniel goes back in time to try and find Luce and make sure she doesn't
When I started getting into Passion, I was thinking, hey! So far, this isn't so bad! Not nearly as painful and cringe-inducing as Torment! The plot was moving along, there was a fun, new secondary character, we finally got to see Daniel's point of view and he wasn't such a tremendous butt-face, and even 2-D, cardboard Luce seemed to take on some life... and THEN there was the ending.
Oh good lord, the ending.
But before I get all down on the Fallen books again, let me say what I did like about Passion. And also, let me just state for the record, that this is definitely the best book in the series so far. (Not sure that's saying much, but whatevs.)
Alrighty, let's do this in good old-fashioned bullet points, shall we?
* First, the prologue was mysterious and downright creepy. We realize that the Elders still exist (even though they fell out of the plot in the second book and then disappear again for the rest of this book) and they are now teaming up with the Outcasts to get their hands on Luce.
* Second, LK has FINALLY picked up the pace. The story line, while not heart-stoppingly amazing, was at least not as painfully put-you-in-a-coma slow as the first two books.
* Third, we finally get to see things from Daniel's point of view. Up to this point he's been a self-centered, irritating, nasty, chauvinistic jerk-wad who you want to give a nice, swift kick in the crotch. Here we get to see another side of him-- awesome! Now he has two sides ;)
* I personally liked snarky, fun, quirky, potentially gay, admittedly cheesy Bill-- um, that is, until the end. Don't worry-- that's not really a spoiler-- if you have half a teaspoon of brains, you have a pretty good idea from the get-go who "Bill" actually is... unless you're Luce Price. Yeeeah, she's definitely not known for her ability to put two and two together...
But let's not get TOO carried away: there were definitely things about this book that left me with an unpleasant eye-twitch and something reminiscent of a bad hangover-- such as:
* We are still no closer to understanding WHY Luce and Daniel "love" each other-- or WHY they fell in love in the first place. Classic case here of telling and not showing-- we're told a bazillion times that Luce loves Daniel and Daniel loves Luce, but gosh darn it, we sure haven't seen anything yet beyond a bunch of goo-goo eyed stares and passionate lip-locking. Sorry, but if you want Me the Reader to believe in this magical, eternal bond of love between the two main characters, you need to give me something more to base it on than teenage sighs and making out. FAIL #1.
* To elaborate on my last point, when a "CERTAIN SOMEONE" asks Luce exactly why she loves Daniel so much, here is the response we get: "A million reasons. I just do." (p. 388) I just do?? REALLY?? So... you're telling me that after 1200+ PAGES this is the best explanation we get for why Luce loves Daniel?? She just does? So basically... they love each other-- because they love each other. **slaps forehead in TOTAL frustration** FAIL #2.
* As if the plot wasn't confusing enough, now we have TIME TRAVEL thrown into the mix. And multiple versions of the main characters. AND other major characters and plot elements that have just completely disappeared altogether with no explanation for why they're no longer there. But the time travel was the worst-- it was just one big, inconsistent mess that leaves you staring blankly into the space-time continuum. Now, I'm no Stephen Hawking, but I'm pretty darned sure this isn't how time travel goes down. Seriously, by the last few chapters I was so freaking confused I had to pop a couple Tylenol PM just so that I wasn't up all night racking my brains over what the hell had just happened. And considering that this series already has more plot holes than I can count on fingers and toes, time travel just didn't seem like a really smart move to me. FAIL #3.
* Let's talk about Luce Price for a minute. Will Luce EVER learn that she has zero instinct or ability to read people? How many times now has her gullible butt been duped because she blindly skips after the bad guy like he's the freaking Pied Piper? She can pass quantum physics but she thinks following a creepy gargoyle who won't let anyone but her see him is a GOOD idea?? EARTH TO LUCE!! Stay away from strangers trying to lure you to your death! They're bad-news bears, K?? Really, if she's going to be THIS stupid over and over again, do I really even care at this point what happens to her? Not to mention that, up to this point, Luce's sole existence is based on being head-over-heels in love with Daniel. That's it. End of story. The girl has no other purpose. Luce Price= FAIL #4.
* The writing style, while somewhat better, is still pretty sloppy, confusing, and all over the place. (I SWEAR I'm trying to not be a total jerk here! It IS better than the first two! There IS improvement!!) But still, the transitions between each chapter and each new time period visited are about as graceful as falling down a flight of stairs. Also, maybe an OUTLINE would have helped before just taking the "write-as-you-go" approach and then conveniently taking the easy way out with pretty much EVERY aspect of the plot. I'm not expecting this to be Shakespeare, but I would appreciate at least being able to follow some remotely logical series of events... FAIL #5.
* Speaking of which! Did you know that Luce knew SHAKESPEARE in another lifetime and SHE'S the reason why the Globe Theater burned down?? Hey! Neither did I!! Oh Lord, the history re-writing in this book just cracks me up... Slightly Amusing FAIL #6.
* Back to that "CERTAIN SOMEONE," all I can say is-- Wow. Congrats LK, on managing to take the evilest being of all time and turn him into a cliche villain about as scary and intimidating as one of those 1920's silent-film guys-- you know, the one with the monocle and top hat? He's all, MUAHAHAHA!!! Then cue a lot of eeveell pacing back and forth as he
* At the end of this book-- guess what? We STILL have NO IDEA what the EFF is going on. No joke! NOTHING is ever explained, and the ending contained about 297 plot holes. NO ONE has a motive in this series, NOTHING is ever given a logical explanation, and everything is all chalked up to DESTINY. Isn't this what we call a cop-out? Why yes, yes it is! The worst of it is, the book was set up to make it sound like we would FINALLY get some answers to major questions, and then the last few chapters just made no sense at all. Is this some kind of joke Ms. Kate?? Because after a thousand plus pages it just isn't funny anymore. What exactly was the POINT of Luce's "Quest"? What was she trying to find? So far, the whole plot is completely meaningless to the reader. I went back and tried to re-read whole sections thinking I must have missed something, and I'm STILL totally lost. I honestly want to believe that there is more to this plot and these characters than meets the eye-- but at this point, I'm not holding my breath. FAIL #8.
* This was literally my favorite line in the whole book: "Finally, things were beginning to make sense." (p. 400) Really? They ARE?? Could've fooled me! I'm seriously going to have a brain aneurism if I spend one more minute trying to make sense of this story. This is honest-to-goodness THE most convoluted mess of a plot I have ever read! Does the author even know what's going on here?? But yeah, I LOVED that line. It made me chuckle. FAIL #9.
* Random question: Does the kiss you've been dreaming about your whole life include knocking your teeth into somebody else's? No? Huh, me neither. Just wondering. FAIL #10.
* We honestly can't get though a Fallen book without someone "waggling" or "wagging" their eyebrows-- seriously LK, why? How many people actually "waggle" their eyebrows on a regular basis? Are people going to look at me all crazy if I attempt this? Why is eyebrow-waggling so necessary to this story? I am so dang confused. FAIL #11.
* What the hell happened to Trevor? Remember, the poor sap who spontaneously-combusted thanks to Luce back in Book 1? Like, shouldn't someone in the story sort of, you know, care that some kid ended up as a human tiki torch?? If LK thought we were all just going to conveniently forget about Trevor's tragic demise as quickly as brain-dead Luce just because heart-throb Daniel steps onto the scene, she was sorely mistaken. Way to totally ignore the fact that your main character caused someone to burst into flames Lauren, might've been a good idea to tie up loose ends with that unfortunate event instead of conveniently dropping it out of the plot altogether... FAIL #12
So, all in all, another utterly confusing masterpiece! Maybe it's just me, but there is precious little that makes sense in this series. If you have read these books and have figured out what the heck is going on, please let me know. I would greatly appreciate it. Otherwise, I'm still entertained. AND this book was, despite everything, still better than the first two. Sorry, that's all I've got.
**LIKE THIS REVIEW??**
See more excessive ranting for Rapture , the finale to the Fallen series! :D
~Lea @ LC's Adventures in Libraryland ...more
Notes are private!
Jun 25, 2011
Jun 29, 2011
Jun 16, 2011
Dec 08, 2011
Dec 08, 2011
Warning: If you don't like reading rants about books, especially for ones that you liked or think you're going to like, then you aren't going to like Warning: If you don't like reading rants about books, especially for ones that you liked or think you're going to like, then you aren't going to like this review, because I've honestly never been more pissed off at a YA book before. If you do like reading rants about books, well then, this should probably be pretty darned entertaining...
OK, so let me start off by just saying, I really tried to like this book, honestly I did.
I tried up until the very last page to have hope that something was going to happen that would redeem the entire thing for me.
But it just.
[Insert sad face here.]
Maybe I should blame my OCD tendency to finish a book no matter what. Because even when I absolutely can't stand a book, I have to finish it. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I really did consider DNF-ing this book about halfway through because I just could not take much more of Lenzi's weak character-- she was literally making me sad and angry at the same time-- but then, I thought well, maaayyybeeee she'll get better, maybe she'll have some kind of major revelation and turn into this super awesome character, transforming into a strong, confident, kick-butt kinda gal who can stand on her own two feet without a man to validate her entire existence.
But alas! It was not to be.
And I can honestly say, probably more than I can for any other book I've read, that I quite literally HATED this one. It was absolute torture to read, and the only thing that got me through to the end was knowing that I'd get to write this outraged and rant-astic review afterwards.
Lenzi's dad has recently died-- committed suicide-- because he couldn't get rid of the voices in his head. Now 16, Lenzi is starting to not only hear voices, but see things too. Her musician boyfriend Zac can't help her. Alden, the strange guy she meets in a graveyard one night, tells Lenzi that she is a Speaker-- she can speak to lost souls and help them to find rest in death by freeing them from the problems that keep them bound to Earth. Alden is her Protector-- he protects her from Malevolents, violent spirits who don't want to be helped, but who could potentially possess Lenzi's body, using it to take out their rage or revenge. But Lenzi has no recollection about her past lives as a Speaker, and now there is a really dangerous Malevolent who wants revenge on her for something Lenzi can't even remember...
Now, seriously, with a plot synopsis like that, I really thought this book was going to knock my socks off. Well, read below before you make the same mistake that I did.
So the number one reason why I could not stand this book was because I could NOT stand Lenzi. The girl absolutely annoyed the living crap out of me, and it was downright painful having to read from her whiny, immature point of view. Yes, I can understand her frustration and fear after finding out that she's supposed to talk to the dead and help them out of Earthly purgatory, but really? If I had just found out that I could talk to dead people AND it was up to me to save them from eternal damnation, I'm pretty darned sure my number one concern wouldn't be which boy I'm currently dating. For real.
Now, this seriously drove me crazy, because all Lenzi ever did was: A.) Drool over how gorgeous and beautiful Zak and Alden were, or B.) whine and complain about how sucky her life was.
That's it, the girl had no other thoughts.
Oh, but she can fold origami-- lots of origameeee!
(Because, you know, the main character has to have a "hobby" to make her seem "smart" and "interesting.")
Meanwhile, the immaturity levels reached astronomical proportions-- I'm talking whining and complaining galore. And when she does finally try to be the mature adult? She gets about as far as donning a pair of "tan slacks and cream-colored turtleneck"-- yes, that is an actual description of what she wears, I'm not making this up-- because clearly you have to dress like a flipping geriatric to appear "grown up." Slap on a pair of Velcro Easy Strides and Lenzi is good to go. Terrific!
OK, so on a more serious note, my main beef is that I thought the message Lenzi sends out to readers was absolutely horrible-- I found nothing about this character that was respectable, admirable or worth emulating: she was lazy, whiny, vapid, annoying, willingly ignorant, and worst of all, completely and desperately dependent on the acceptance of a guy-- no matter how controlling or abusive-- to validate her existence and her sense of self-worth.
I'm sorry, but that is a crap-tastic way to present a character.
If you're going to write about a self-deprecating girl who constantly belittles and demeans herself, you need to at least let her eventually come to the realization that she doesn't have to debase herself, and that she really is worthy of respect and healthy male attention. But if this never happens? If the main character never learns to respect herself? How am I the reader supposed to respect her? I honestly wish that Lenzi had developed into a strong and confident character. But this never happened. And it made me sad. Really, it did.
And then there's Reason Number Two why I didn't like this book-- Zak.
Whom I affectionately like to call Zak the Asshat.
Where do I even begin with how much I loathed this crappy excuse for a love interest?
Zak (the Asshat) was hands down the biggest jerk-wad I think I have ever read about. And what's worse, he was passed off as actually being in the running for Lenzi's heart! I mean if this is any indicator of what a cruddy little weasel he was-- the guy got drunk on page 40, tried to feel up Lenzi at her father's GRAVE and then abandoned her in a cemetery at night, in a bad neighborhood, on her freaking BIRTHDAY.
Oh, you heard me right.
Which brings me to what I hated most about this book-- the dysfunctional, abusive and completely NOT romantic relationship between Lenzi and Zak. So after everything that Zak puts her through, Lenzi goes right back to him so she can appease her mountain of insecurity, essentially turning into a total doormat and making out with the ground he walks on for the next 20-something chapters.
Because, you know, God forbid she lose this absolutely perfect specimen of male chivalry.
Yes, I know she goes off with Alden to do her whole Ghost-Speaker thing, but here's what grinds my gears: Lenzi never gets a clue about what a dirt bag this guy really was-- and what really scared me was that the author never seemed to have a clue either, because even by the very end, Lenzi was still spouting about how Zak was such a "cool guy" and her only "real friend."
Well, NO, no he wasn't.
Actually, he was a controlling, possessive, alcoholic, and even dangerous and abusive psycho. And I'm not OK with that never being addressed. I'm NOT OK with that kind of a person being passed off to potentially young and impressionable readers as being romantic or attractive.
To hammer home my point, there is even one point at the end of the book where Lenzi gets into a car with drunk Zak (told you she's not the brightest crayon in the box), and tells him it's all her fault that their relationship failed and that she's a freak who isn't good enough for him-- this is the same guy, I'll mention one more time, who abandoned her in a bad neighborhood at night on her birthday, and possessively stalked her to the point where the police should have been involved! Umm, NOT OK!!
[Side Note: If I had to hear Zak say "babe" at the end of one more sentence, the book would have gotten hurled across Starbucks. (Not really, it was a library book-- and I wouldn't want to knock over anyone's triple venti macchiato-- but you know, in theory). Seriously, give me a fa-reaking break.]
Oh but wait ladies and gentlemen-- there's more douche-baggery ahead!
Let me introduce you to Alden, Lenzi's second love interest, whom I affectionately like to refer to as Asshat #2. Alden is Lenzi's Protector who keeps her safe from all the big, bad Malevolents. Except for the fact that he never tells her anything, keeps her completely in the dark, and did I mention that he is TURNED ON by Lenzi's fear and pain? Yes, I kid you not, it actually says in the book that Alden Asshat #2 is turned on by Lenzi's fear and pain.
I'm sorry, but isn't that the definition of sadism? Why yes, yes it is! And how lovely-- it's being passed off as hott, sexy and romantic!
[This is the part where I take a long, deep breath and try not to FLIP THE CRAP OUT.]
Alrighty, so added to all this wonderfully disturbing twistedness, the book was also full of some of the most bizarre and ridiculous one-liners that I've ever read, which illicited reactions running the gamut from bursting out laughing hysterically to slapping my forehead in total frustration to looking up from the pages like someone had just run across my yard wearing nothing but a thong and a cowboy hat.
Oh, I know you're curious now! Well here are a few little gems that I couldn't resist mentioning:
"Even lifeless, he was hot." ~p.80 (OooooooK, that's a little creepy...)
"I wasn't addicted to Xanax, but I could certainly become addicted to Alden." ~p.116 (I literally burst out laughing for a good 5 minutes after reading this.)
"Should I shake his hand or kiss him good night on the cheek? Maybe I should act like Spook and just lick his face." ~p.138 (No comment-- I'll just let you soak in the sheer awkwardness of this quote.)
We also have a wonderful villain in the story, named Smith. Smith is a crazed lunatic from the 19th century who is out to whack Lenzi due to a century-old grudge he has because Lenzi jilted him in some past lifetime. (Totally by coincidence, Smith was the only character in the book I liked.)
Finally-- and this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine in YA literature-- I HATE when the protagonist comes across as mind-numbingly vapid and completely useless.
Now I don't want to beat a dead horse because I've already ranted about Lenzi, but I'm still not quite over her character and how she came across as being 115 pounds of pure dead-weight. Throughout the whole book, Lenzi is just thrown around by events outside her control and by the people (in this case, the boys) around her, and she reacts-- no real thought or action on her part changes the plot all that much, so she's basically a pretty- albeit whiny- little puppet.
And what's worse? It comes across as though Lenzi's entire sense of identity is wrapped up in whether she has a guy to fawn over. This bothers me big time, because not only is it annoying for me to have to read about; I think it sends a really bad message to readers in general. I mean, if you look at this story, Lenzi basically lets herself be a doormat for Zac to wipe his dirty boots on for the first half of the book, and the second half of the book is Lenzi pathetically trying to be a good Speaker just so she can impress Alden and live up to his expectations. AND she's also cheating on Zak, who yes, does win Asshat of the Year, but still, I was not at all impressed with our girl Lenzi throwing herself at Alden when *technically* she was still with Asshat-- I mean, Zak.
So yeah, I don't like any of that. Why couldn't she have wanted to be a kick-ass Speaker to make herself happy, to increase her own self-confidence, based on what she's capable of and not what some dude thinks of her? Not to stand on a feminist soap-box, but I'm just saying, I would have liked to see Lenzi be more independent, strong-willed and confident, without the whole "I'm nothing without a man" attitude.
In the end, Lenzi made Bella look like a combo between Einstein and Daenerys Targaryen in comparison-- yes, THAT is how awful and pathetic she was.
Sigh... OK, so after that tirade, it's now time to say something positive about this book. It's a policy of mine that no matter how much I disliked a book, I won't leave a review without stating at least ONE thing that I did like about it. So I will say that the action scenes in this book were really well done, and the concept of the Speakers and Protectors freeing the Hindered and fighting the Malevolents was a really good one-- I thought it was interesting and creative.
Honestly, I did, I'm not just saying that to avoid getting the stink-eye numerous times for being a total jerk about this book...
So to wrap up this really long review, I will just say that there were lots of readers out there who adored Shattered Souls. I totally respect their opinions, and know that my review is only one of many. And even though I didn't like it, that doesn't mean that you won't! I can't recommend this book myself, but I would suggest checking out other reviewer's opinions of it to see whether it's something you want to get into.
[**NOTE: Also, read what my girl Jennifer had to say in her review -- I really couldn't agree with her more, and I'm actually confounded that out of 280+ reviews, no one has really bothered to mention this disturbing aspect of the book that she so accurately points out.]
[FINAL NOTE: To fully appreciate my feelings and reactions to this book, it's best to read my Goodreads status updates-- in fact, if I didn't get all of this off my chest while I was reading the book, I'm pretty sure I would've had an aneurysm, no joke. So a big thank-you to Goodreads for helping me to maintain my sanity.]
Lea @ LC's Adventures in Libraryland ...more
Notes are private!
Feb 20, 2012
Feb 22, 2012
Jun 09, 2011
Jun 12, 2007
Jun 12, 2007
Sigh... OK, so I really, really wanted to like this book-- I had been so excited to get into the Wicked Lovely series! But honestly-- for whatever rea Sigh... OK, so I really, really wanted to like this book-- I had been so excited to get into the Wicked Lovely series! But honestly-- for whatever reason-- I just could not get hooked.
When I first picked up Wicked Lovely I was pretty excited-- the cover is gorgeous and I'd never read a book focusing exclusively on fairies. However, I have to admit that I had some difficulties with it from the very beginning, simply because it starts right in the middle of the action with very little explanation for what the heck is going on: there's a girl named Aislynn and she's pretty freaked out because she sees faeries everywhere, but she can't tell anyone so she just tries to run away where they can't find her. (Ummm... OK.) Maybe it was so hard to follow because it felt like the author assumed the reader knows all about faeries, or "fey." Well, I don't know anything about faeries so I felt pretty out-of-the-loop for the first 100 pages or so. (They have "glamours?" There are fey courts? They're deathly allergic to iron or something?? Yeeeah, I felt clueless!)
For this reason, I found it kind of difficult to connect with the characters or get into the plot because I had no idea what was going on. The author seems to know a lot about faery lore, but the way she goes about telling the story leaves someone like me totally confused. The writing seemed very clunky to me, and this made it hard to read quickly because I just couldn't stay focused. And to be completely honest, this just made me kind of bored with the whole book. I mean, if you don't get what's going on, how are you going to maintain interest in it??
My review will continue in a couple days when I post it @ LC's Adventures in Libraryland --there were a few things I DID like about this book, which I will mention in the full review! :) ...more
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May 11, 2011
May 11, 2011
Sep 28, 2010
**spoiler alert** Torment took me a little while to get into, simply because I had long forgotten pretty much everything that had happened in the firs **spoiler alert** Torment took me a little while to get into, simply because I had long forgotten pretty much everything that had happened in the first book, Fallen. To refresh your memory (and mine) Luce is the main character and she has been haunted her whole life by what she calls "the Shadows." She is caught between two guys that she meets at Sword & Cross reform school: Daniel and Cam. Daniel is an angel and Cam is a demon-- but it was never really made clear who was distinctly good or evil. Book One ended with a lot of unanswered questions-- and **spoiler** so does Book Two.
We quickly learn that there is some new evil trying to kill Luce besides the Elders from Book One, called the Outcasts, and they are the very worst kind of angels. Caught between Heaven and Hell, they control the deadliest weapon known to angels and demons alike. To protect Luce from the Outcasts, Daniel and Cam form a Truce that will last 18 days. Meanwhile, Luce is sent to another school in California called "Shoreline," where the students are made up of celestial beings called "Nephilim"-- the offspring of angels and humans. Luce then spends the whole book trying to figure out her past lives with Daniel and why he has left her at this new school...
I need to preface this review by saying that, even though I do have major issues with the Fallen series (and this book in particular), I still for some unknown reason enjoy reading these books. (And even more, I love reading what people have to say about them.) The whole human-girl-falls-for-fallen-angel-and-now-celestial-beings-are-trying-to-destroy-her plot line is intriguing, even though poorly done. That being said, Torment was an obnoxious repeat of the first book. So... let the ranting begin!
1.) It felt like Luce did nothing but pine away after Daniel-- Yes, she missed him while she was at the new school, but holy crap, did we have to be reminded every other paragraph? You're going to see him in 18 days! It got real old real quick, having to listen to Luce go on and on (and on and on) about how much she misses Daniel, she wishes Daniel was there, she can't stop thinking about Daniel, Daniel is so beautiful, oh my god, Daniel! Really, it's like, get a grip already.
2.) While we're on the subject, seriously don't even get me started on brooding, chauvinistic
3.) Why did the author have to make Luce such a clueless, dimwitted airhead? Like when she fell for the obviously shady fake note supposedly written by Daniel to lure her outside of school grounds-- um, hello, he just warned you like 5 pages back NOT to leave the school, and then you immediately catch a bus into town after finding a TYPED note at your door telling you to leave the school, and almost die! WAY TO GO. I get that the author wanted to set up a situation where Luce runs into Cam again and learns about the Outcasts, but did she have to do it at the expense of making Luce seem like the biggest idiot ever? If you are going to throw your heroine into dangerous, life-threatening situations where she has to be rescued again and again, can't you at least give her a little credit and not make everything the result of her own stupidity?
4.) I wish I could describe Luce's character without using the term "Mary Sue" but gosh darn it, I just can't. She's a Mary Sue, through and through. I mean she and Bella could be twin sisters for crying out loud. She thinks she isn't good-looking, yet she has every stinking guy drooling over her, she's continually in trouble and needs to be rescued, she has a mind-numbingly vapid personality, and she's also continually psycho-obsessive over her uber-controlling boyfriend. And speaking of Twilight references, Torment is also full of insanely unnecessary details (literally, there are like 2 pages dedicated to what Luce and her friends order to eat at an IHOP in Las Vegas. I swear I'm not making this up.)
5.) Speaking of unnecessary, did we really need yet another jealous guy falling all over Luce? Isn't Miles just another version of Cam? A guy to distract Luce from Daniel? Now we have three guys vying for Luce's love and attention. Seriously guys, this is getting out of control.
6.) And here is one of the biggest issues that I have with this series thus far: The titles, the cover art, the summaries-- all of these things market the Fallen series as being serious, dark, and Gothic. But when you read the actual books they're... how do I put this... corny as all get out? The characters are just so unbelievable and their dialog and actions are so ridiculously dorky to me, that I just couldn't take them or the story seriously. (LK: How does one "waggle" their eyebrows? PLEASE explain to me what on earth you mean when you say this because it's driving me insane!)I must have rolled my eyes a couple hundred different times throughout the book, due to the fact that it was such an enormous cheese-fest. And I'm sorry, but it takes more than insanely gorgeous cover art to make a good series. I'm over the cover art already.
So at this point you may be asking yourself: If you weren't all that pumped about Fallen, why the heck did you pick up Torment? Well, despite my rants, I am still entertained by this series, and might take just the slightest of guilty pleasures in saying what irks me about them. I know, it's horrible to take pleasure in writing ranting reviews, but I do it with the disclaimer that I am still ultimately and inexplicably attracted to these books. Even though it's a total hot mess, I just can't look away. I will probably still read both Passion and Rapture when they come out, even though my expectations are about 2 millimeters above my toes, and there's pretty much no way I can take these books seriously in any sense of the word. This series is truly epic for all the wrong reasons.
Lea @ LC's Adventures in Libraryland ...more
Notes are private!
Jun 11, 2011
Jun 16, 2011
Mar 22, 2011
Sep 21, 2010
Sep 21, 2010
So to put it simply, I was not a fan of this book.
Like, at all.
Actually, I kind of hated it.
I'm really not sure what I was expecting it to be, but So to put it simply, I was not a fan of this book.
Like, at all.
Actually, I kind of hated it.
I'm really not sure what I was expecting it to be, but I definitely wasn't thinking it would be a lame high school drama mixed with painfully dull characters and even more painfully boring and lackluster writing. I guess the cover is what attracted me to read this book in the first place, but honestly, great packaging and poor content does not equal a good book.
First, there were the thoroughly unlikable characters: Tate was an angry stalker full of contempt towards Mackie, Roswell was a total perv who treated women like pieces of meat, Mackie's parents were typical and stereotyped and completely unwilling to do anything useful, and everyone else was easily forgettable.
I didn't like these characters, therefore I didn't care what happened to them.
Then there was Mackie Doyle, the "tortured soul" main character. Usually I love reading from a guy's point of view (Ship Breaker, Leviathan-- amazing.) but I could not connect with him at all.
All Mackie seemed to do was
a.) be pale and emo
b.) get nauseous or faint every time he was around metal or blood or loud noises or strong smells or slight air currents
c.) lust after Alice the slutty hot girl in school, or
d.) talk about how incredibly fake everyone is in town.
It got old very quickly. I have a difficult time sympathizing with a character who does nothing but whine and complain all the time, even if it's for a legitimate reason. In the end, Mackie was just a male version of Bella Swan-- empty, dull, bland, vapid-- and I couldn't bring myself to care about what happened to him either.
Speaking of tortured, the writing was just awful. It was serious work just trying to slog through each chapter. To give you some idea of what I'm talking about, imagine reading something like this for 340 pages, and you'll get the picture very quickly:
"I yanked off my T-shirt and pulled the shades down. Then I lay down with my face to the wall and pulled the covers over my head. I woke up with a jolt. It was dark. My phone was buzzing on my bedside table, and I rolled over.... I wanted to go to sleep. The phone just kept buzzing."
Soooo... have you fallen asleep yet? I don't know, but for me, this kind of writing is incredibly bland and formulaic: I woke up and did a. It was b and c. Then I did d. I felt e. Then... blah, blah,blah. I just can't stay focused on writing like this! It's almost as exciting as watching paint dry.
how about character dialogues like this?
"Come on, you don't want to miss this. 'Tis the season for girls to dress like hookers. We'll catch up with the twins, get a little socially lubricated. I have this feeling that Alice is particularly looking forward to your company."
Are you kidding me?
First off Brenna, nobody talks like this. In my 4 years of high school and 6 years of college, I've not once heard anyone use the term "socially lubricated."
Second of all, no one is going to like characters who either are hookers or who label girls as being hookers or obsess over girls because they dress like hookers. Maybe people do this, but that doesn't make me want to read about them, and it sure doesn't lead me to care about what happens to them.
Furthermore, I would not recommend a book that makes women out to be hoes or treats sex so casually. I'm not being unrealistic or a prude-- I just find it to be completely unnecessary when it has nothing to do with the plot or the characterization. If you have an awesome story and brilliant writing, you don't need to waste your time or the reader's with cheap add-ins about getting trashed and banging the popular girls at school.
Another aspect of the writing that drove me crazy were all of the contradicting statements. I'm guessing they were intentional, but I didn't understand the point of them, except to make me really confused:
"She looked strange and fantastical and startling and normal." (How do you look strange and normal at the same time?)
"...when I glanced in the mirror again, I recognized myself, and I didn't."(So... did you or didn't you?)
"As soon as I reached the bottom of the ravine, I felt desperately relieved. And much, much worse." (Umm... relief means alleviation and the removal of pain, so... how would you feel worse if you were relieved??)
Finally, I hate obvious plot holes-- even little ones. I consider myself to be a halfway intelligent person, and I don't appreciate books that try to breeze over contradictions like I'm too stupid to notice. So, if I'm reading along and something clearly makes no logical sense based on what the author has already laid out, it drives me right up the wall. For example:
Mackie is supposed to act like a "normal kid" and not get noticed. Yet some days he has completely black eyes-- don't you think that someone would maybe, just maybe, notice something that freaky?
Mackie is hypersensitive to loud noises, like doors that close too fast-- and yet he can go to heavy metal rock concerts with mosh pits and be just fine. WHAT??
So, Mackie can drink beer out of a can, huh?? I thought he was deathly allergic to metal in any form.
Every seven years the town gives one of their children to the underworld demon-creatures and they, in turn, make the town "prosper." So I was picturing something like out of the Stepford Wives-- beautiful mansions, manicured lawns, everything perfect to cover-up something ugly. But not once is the town described as perfect or prospering-- in fact, it's run-down and poor. So I don't get it-- what was the point of sacrificing a kid every seven years???
And on a completely different note, WHAT was UP with the rock concerts? The Morigan and her crew had to put on heavy metal rock concerts.... to appease the people of Gentry.... so that... they would still sacrifice their babies??
I am so confused about that part. ALSO, Brenna-- I am sorry-- but I had NO CLUE what bands you were talking about, besides maybe Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson-- who I don't listen to, and have zero interest in. What the heck was this about anyways? And then after that,it's never mentioned in the book again.
If you have any idea what was going on during this part, where Mackie was playing his bass guitar along with the other demon-people, PLEASE let me know, because I am totally LOST.
I will end by just saying that this book wasn't for me. That doesn't mean it isn't for anyone, but I personally disliked it to no end. The writing was stale and stilted, the characters were completely unlikable, the dialogue was fake and cheesy, and the premise-- while intriguing-- was never able to reach its full potential. I did finish this book, trying to give it a chance, but in the end, there really was nothing about this book that I liked.
Lea @ LC's Adventures in Libraryland ...more
Notes are private!
Jul 14, 2011
Jul 17, 2011
Mar 22, 2011
Dec 01, 2009
Dec 22, 2009
No, no, a thousand flipping times NO.
I just don't get it. Like, how do books like this even make it to publishing when they are two steps away from
No, no, a thousand flipping times NO.
I just don't get it. Like, how do books like this even make it to publishing when they are two steps away from being misogynistic/religious propaganda at worst and brain-numbing fluff at best? And yet once again, I was totally and completely struck silly by the ZOMG GORGEOUS COVER and thought hey, with a cover like that, how could it be *that* bad?
I really need to start learning.
So, here is basically what The Dark Divine is about, since having not done too much research on it beforehand, I was sort of clueless myself. When I first started reading, I actually thought this was going to be a fallen angel book, , mainly because the religious overtones are so heavy-handed that they left me with bruises. But I digress...
Grace Divine is the local pastor's daughter, in her junior year of high school, whose world is turned upside down when Daniel Kalbi steps back into her life. Daniel is Grace's old childhood friend-- except that he mysteriously disappeared years ago after some horrible incident that happened with her older brother Jude. Now Grace's entire family basically pretends that Daniel no longer exists because of whatever terrible thing he did in the past. Obviously, our young heroine cannot stay away from this dark, brooding, and sardonic piece of man candy, and so begins our nearly 400-page whine-and-pine-fest between Grace Divine and Daniel Kalbi. The plot thickens when we later learn that Daniel is actually an Urbat, or "Dog of Death," cursed for past sins by God to be-- for lack of a better term-- a werewolf.
OK, werewolves, sweet, so this is a book about werewolves-- sounds pretty awesome! Except that it's not. Let me explain why:
Grace Divine. Where do I even begin with Grace Divine...
Well, for starters, she has one of THE most stuck-up and pretentious POV's I've ever had to suffer reading through. Now you would think that-- being the pastor's daughter-- we could maybe get some really interesting, super-cool and edgy character who likes to rebel against the system. But no. True to her name, Grace is a walking, talking Bible in knee-length skirt and loafers who never bothers to even question the rules her dogmatic parents lay down. Her day consists of trying her very best to be perfect and the rest of the time feeling guilty for not being absolutely perfect. Her religious thought process is enough to make you want to hurl your breakfast, while she reminds us ad nauseam of what a good little Christian girl she is, and by the way, you'd better be too, or you're going to BURN IN HELL.
No, I'm not making this up-- the entire book reads like a freaking fire-and-brimstone church sermon.
As if this wasn't enough to make me want to slap her silly, Grace also treats her friends like minions. I mean, she compares her best friend April to a dog in the very first paragraph of the book, and then compares her to a dog again about 30 pages later. Hmm, that's not very nice, is it? In fact, she spends the ENTIRE BOOK comparing her so-called best friend to various dogs. Not only is this really weird, this is pretty freaking terrible if you ask me. And yes, thank you Bree, I understood all the dog references, but really you didn't need to shove them down our throats JUST because your book is about werewolves. This whole dog comparison thing just made Grace look like an asshole. I honestly felt so bad for April. Who cares that she's sort of ditzy and clueless? Why does that give Grace the right to sit there in total disdain, comparing her to a dog? Screw that: April rocks, Grace is a stuck-up bitch who doesn't deserve to have friends because she doesn't give a crap about anyone but herself.
Grace also likes to repeatedly tell us how "smart" she is. After all, she has a 3.8 GPA, but unfortunately this doesn't give her the brains to stay away from someone as dangerously abusive as Daniel Kalbi. Everything she thinks, does and says makes you wonder how anyone can, in fact, be that big of a dumbass. Oh, and she also thinks that people who cry are weak. Yeah. I'm sorry, but you are going to be hard-pressed getting me to a like a main character who has a pole this far up her rear-end.
Bottom line- this is not a character I want to read about. This is a character I want to punch in the face for being so unbelievably stuck-up, self-absorbed, and let's not forget: totally moronic.
Hey there, boys and girls, how about another abusive and controlling relationship with a domineering male lead who keeps his cowering, brow-beaten woman on a leash? Alrighty then, fantastic!
Enter: Daniel Kalbi. Prime specimen of a condescending, ass-face love interest if I ever did see one, who treats our doe-eyed virginal Grace Divine as though she were a pile of dog poo he accidentally stepped in. Oh, Daniel, how I want to kick you in the crotch. Repeatedly.
Let me give you a prime example of what a tool bag Daniel is: At one point in the story, Grace's car breaks down in a really bad section of town at night, and Pete (the required third wheel in the YA love triangle who is two steps away from being completely brain-dead), leaves her in the car because she'll be "safer" there. Alone in the car, Grace hears scratching outside- and then something starts rattling the car. Understandably scared shitless, she's relieved when she looks out the window and sees Daniel. Now get this: Frightened half to death, Grace asks Daniel if he saw anything that could have made the noises she heard-- She's trying to figure out what's going on after being in a potentially threatening situation that has left her shaken and upset... His reply? "Maybe."
Congratulations Daniel, you have officially been inaugurated into my YA Douchebag Hall of Fame.
Oh, and did I mention that any time Grace asks something from Daniel, he says "Kiss me"? Yeah, so.. basically if Grace wants anything from Daniel she is asked to essentially whore herself out to get it. Of course, Grace being Grace, she acts all disoriented and confused whenever he says this, instead of doing the logical thing and telling him to go light himself on fire and jump off a cliff.
I'm going to take a deep breath at this point, so that I don't once again hurl this book across my room, or suffer from a massive brain implosion. The level of disrespect and disgusting apathy shown by this pathetic excuse for a human being is not even worth my time. I just. I can't even. I'm done.
(OH. And also- about half-way through the book we're given reasons that try to excuse Daniel for his awful behavior. I'm sorry, but this is BS. I don't care about your troubled past, or your dumb curse, you don't treat people like this. EVER. END OF STORY.)
Blatant push of Christian agenda in a YA book
Oh sweet baby Jesus, the religious overtones in this book. If you enjoy being whacked over the head with the New Testament until you're semi-unconscious, then this is the book for you. Grace Divine's dad-- a pastor, go figure-- was one big judgmental and pretentious douchebag who everyone calls "an angel of the Lord." OK, can I just say something here? If you want to write a book where your main characters are Christians, fine. But don't make those main characters Puritanical religious-as-fudge jerk-wads in an attempt to sneak in some kind of hidden agenda and then put that ish into a YA book. Also, I know Christians. They don't effing talk like they just stepped out of 17th century Salem, alrighty? And not all of them think and act like they have heavenly beams shining out of their bums. The way Bree writes about them just perpetuates the idea that all Christians are supposed to be self-important pricks with delusions of being "holier than thou," and even more messed up, that this is actually a GOOD thing. Welp, that is absolute B.S. and I'm calling it out as being such.
Useless facts that have nothing to do with anything
Here is a prime example of the inconsequential and totally boring pieces of info the reader has to suffer through in this book:
"Got any more of that tea?" Dad asked...
"Um, yeah." I mopped up the puddle I'd spilled on the counter. "It's chamomile though."
Dad crinkled his Rodulph nose.
"I think I saw some peppermint in the cupboard. I'll get it for you."
OK, so you probably don't want to listen to me nitpick, but gosh darn it, I'm gonna nitpick. Why? Because this entire book is chock FULL of completely mindless/useless interactions like this one.
I'm sorry Bree, but what the flying fig newton does Grace's dad not liking chamomile have to do with, oh I don't know... ANYTHING?? It has nothing to do with the plot, it adds nada to any character development, and it's not even remotely interesting. Please tell me why I should care that Grace's dad doesn't like chamomile tea? No reason? OK, so what is the POINT of putting it in the book?? Answer: There IS none, it's just there as empty-- not to mention seriously boring-- filler to an already shallow story. So.... yeah, Grace's dad doesn't like chamomile, Maryanne Duke makes the best rhubarb pie EVER, Carolyn Bordeaux has something to do with the angel memorial... I have a pretty high threshold for pointless filler, but this is just getting stupid.
Can I have some cheese with that dialogue?
Speaking of things that make me want to gauge my eyes out with a rusty spoon, we also have some of the most atrocious dialogue ever. Lord have mercy, the dialogue. It was painful. Basically, it reads like a bunch of teenagers talking the way a 40-year old woman thinks youngins talk-- If they were in a squeaky-clean Christian production of Get Thee to the Church Unless Ye Longeth to Burn in Hell. I'd give examples, but at this point I'm just too over it to even bother. All I have to say for these characters and their ridiculous way of talking is:
Cringe-worthy, horrible writing.
Want some examples?
"Dead bodies started popping up like daisies." p.37
Really, Bree. Like daisies? This is the best word you could think of to compare the appearance of corpses with?
"My frustration fired like a pottery kiln." p. 46
Because Grace is so OMG totally into art, obviously her frustration fires up like a pottery kiln. DUH.
"My head felt like I'd been standing over an open bottle of oil solvent too long." p.70
Yeah, you probably shouldn't be standing over open bottles of oil solvent. No bueno. However, this does help to explain why Grace is so brain-dead. And maybe also how this book came into being.
And let's not forget, the ending "action" scenes that were composed of 738 short, choppy sentences that were thrown together and damn-near impossible to follow, and went on for about five pages-- I skimmed through most of what was supposed to be the "climax" of the story because it was beyond boring. Total. Fail.
Treating your readers like sheltered and brain-dead idiots (WARNING: Some profanity ahead, proceed with caution...)
Question: Why is it totally OK to talk about "ripping out throats" in highly graphic/violent terms in YA books but when it comes to swearing or anything sexual we need to talk in secret code?
Because that's what this book does and it pisses me off to no end. What makes it fine and dandy to write about gory murder and mutilation, but sex and swearing are taboo? Do you really think that teens can't handle reading a few choice swear words? Do you think that mentioning sex or your main character- heaven forbid!-- having sexual thoughts is positively sinful?? THEN DON'T EVEN WRITE IT INTO YOUR BOOK.
But no- Bree takes the very creative cop-out of having her characters swear and have sexual thoughts, without ever having to actually say specifically what's going on. Because, you know, us readers might just have a brain aneurysm if perfect little Grace hears a swear. So the author chickens out with lines like this:
"The other guy said something vile that I will not repeat, and then he made an even more disgusting gesture. Daniel told him to go do something to himself and then took my arm and led me to the door." p.67
I'm sorry. What?? So... some guy just said something and made some gesture and then Daniel said something about doing something to himself-- for the love of God, JUST TELL US WHAT YOUR CHARACTERS ARE SAYING! Daniel told the other guy to go fuck himself? Is that what you're trying to say?? Then SAY IT! We aren't going to shatter into a million pieces, Bree, I promise! If you really think your readers are so immature, delicate and sheltered that they can't handle the occasional cuss-word then DON'T even bother implying that your characters swear, because skirting around every "dirty" thing that's being said not only sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it comes across as though you think your readers are total imbeciles. Also, having your main character emphatically refuse to tell me the reader what was just said makes her sound like a stuck-up, self-righteous little toe-rag. ALSO, Daniel grabbing Grace by the arm and dragging her out the door? Yeah, the ENTIRE story reads like Grace is Daniel's pretty piece of property to shove around however he wants. So seriously Ms. Despaine, congratulations on achieving that much epic fail in the span of two sentences. Well-fucking-DONE.
Abusive relationship being passed off as romantic
You really don't want to get me effing started with this.
OK, I'm getting started, since I'm already revved up from my last rant.
You want to know what's not alright with me? Writing lines like THIS into a book being targeted at young women:
"Daniel had a way about him that could shut me down in an instant." p. 41
"How did he always do that-- make me completely forget I was mad at him so easily?" p.43
Let me be very clear here: This way of thinking is dangerous shit. This is NOT an OK way for girls to think about guys who are emotionally and possibly physically abusive, and no I don't give a rat's patoot that it's only in a fictional book and it's "just a story," so don't even try that with me. This "relationship" between Grace and Daniel is beyond effed up. GOT THAT, Bree?? This is NOT. OK. Portraying women who are so desperately and pathetically controlled by men that they are totally powerless to stop their bullying, threats and domination, and just bend over and take it because they can't help it-- NO, that is effing CRAP! This main character you've created is not a heroine, she's a helpless victim-- and Daniel is not a sexy love interest, he's a disgusting representation of misogyny and violence towards women. The fact that you are passing these kinds of characters off to teen girls as being someone worth emulating or fawning over is highly, highly disturbing. Because yes-- if you look on Goodreads, you'll see young girls saying how "hot" Daniel is-- this chauvinist pig who repeatedly humiliates and chastises the female protag, who can only sit there pathetically worshiping the ground he walks on.
But it gets even better-- because after Daniel's horrible behavior towards Grace, Grace then comes up with the fantastic idea-- wait for it-- that it's her duty and responsibility to save him. Like, she is actually convicted by this belief that it's her mission to save Daniel who, up to this point, has treated her like pool scum. OMG, someone take this book away from me before I light it on fire. This is seriously some of the most messed up crap I've ever read about in a YA book. Please explain to me again why men are constantly being glorified in YA "literature" as predators and being passed off as romantic and sexy because they treat women like less than poop and could potentially kill them? And then it's up to the female to save them from being assholes? Girls, if you are reading this review, PLEASE realize that guys like this, in books or real life, are NOT hot/sexy/attractive! This is NOT how anyone should be treated! Furthermore, it is absolutely NOT your responsibility to try and turn a "bad guy" around, which is exactly what Grace thinks she should be doing with this crazy, abusive psycho.
About three-quarters of the way through The Dark Divine, Grace and Daniel did start to become *marginally* more tolerable. The story *ever-so-slightly* did become more interesting. But unfortunately, by this point the book had been completely ruined by the obnoxious and crappy behavior of the main characters, the dangerous messages about abusive relationships, and the insufferable religious overtones that came across as a blatant moral agenda. So altogether, this just wasn't for me. You might end up loving it as many other readers have, but I just can't recommend it.
Pretty much, in a nutshell, it blew.
Notes are private!
Jul 07, 2013
Jul 23, 2013
Mar 22, 2011
Jan 01, 2009
Dec 08, 2009
I'm new to YA fiction but I have to say, I really liked this book, despite all the bad reviews it's gotten and accusations that it's a bad knock-off o I'm new to YA fiction but I have to say, I really liked this book, despite all the bad reviews it's gotten and accusations that it's a bad knock-off of Twilight. Twilight is the only other YA I've read recently (about a month ago) and I thought that this book was WAY better.
Here are some things I liked:
* The story unfolds in mid-19th century England and from the beginning draws you in—there is something intriguing and mysterious that keeps you reading
* Luce's character is portrayed well- she is an actual living, breathing, thinking human being—vulnerable, innocent… she has some depth to her and her thoughts and reactions very often echo those of the reader (ex: “Why is everyone at this school so weird?” p.52). I could relate to a lot of the things she goes through at the reform school and her reactions generally make sense.
* The scenes of Luce being thrown into the hellish world of Sword & Cross reform school reminded me slightly of Mr. Brocklehurst’s school in Jane Eyre-- and Kate does a really good job at painting vivid pictures that are dark, brooding- and at times pretty sexual/erotic-- the perfect mix for a Gothic story of doomed lovers. But there is nothing cheap or trashy with the way Kate describes the interactions between Luce and Cam/Daniel- they are heavy and deep, pained and other-worldly, all at the same time.
* The book cover is freaking gorgeous.
Here's what turned me off about Fallen:
* The dialogue was at times very forced- and forced dialogue always winds up sounding incredibly cheesy…(phrases like “nice digs,” “capiche,” “He has the hots for you,” “absolute lame-o’s”-- Who talks like that???)
* Daniel was a bit too Edward-esque-- too perfect and a super a-hole. But Kate does a pretty good job at giving a reason for why he's such a jerk to Luce towards the end of the story-- and it makes sense. (Well, it did to me anyways). He redeems himself.
* Luce’s parents are clueless, apathetic, unloving and fake—not to mention bordering on sadistic in their absolute negligence of their daughter. I kinda wish they had spontaneously combusted to be honest…
Still, despite the negative things, I'm more ready to give this 4 stars than 3 stars. I thought the ending was really good, I couldn't put the book down-- and for me, that's what redeemed this book, despite some pretty cliche and cheesy parts in the beginning and middle... a good Gothic read overall :)
Looking forward to reading Torment...
Check out my full book review! http://lcsadventuresinlibraryland.blo... ...more
Notes are private!
Mar 21, 2011
Mar 24, 2011
Mar 21, 2011
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