I decided to do my first review on this book because, first, after almost two years since I read it, I still can't get ****May contain spoilers ****
I decided to do my first review on this book because, first, after almost two years since I read it, I still can't get rid of the sour taste it left in my mouth and, second, because I was recently notified that a second installment to this series is coming out... on the date of my birthday. Since the universe has decided to make a joke out of me adding insult to injury, I decided to share with the world my views on this book titled Swoon.
I bought this book because of its cover, a mistake, I assure you, will never happen again. The cover is mysterious and alluring and it is fortified by an interesting premise that promises a new supernatural concept in a very much abused genre and a compelling, doomed romance. Souls seeking revenge, an exorcism gone wrong, a gutsy protagonist with psychic abilities, and a boy with an evil agenda and no interest in hiding his nefarious intentions. What was not to like? I was hoping this would be the story that would bring a new edge to an over-exploited genre that always ends up being more of the same. Well, I was very disappointed.
This story was executed poorly, the characters were impossible to like or to relate to and there wasn’t anything truly engaging in this book. I practically had to threaten myself to finish it, not because there was nothing going on, trust me, there were a lot of things going on, just the wrong kind of things.
Meet Candice, our protagonist. Since the beginning of the book, she is given a lot of baggage. Her best friend died, she is part of a very dysfunctional family, she has an ability she can’t understand and she is forced to live in a town in the middle of nowhere where she doesn’t fit in and with relatives she can barely stand. Add to that a very complicated first love and you have all the tools to emotionally and psychologically develop a strong protagonist throughout the story. The thing is, Candice doesn’t grow or mature at all in the story. In 400+ pages, she doesn’t even grieve her friend’s death or confront any of her problems head on. She doesn’t take responsibility for any of her actions or learns anything from her horrifying experience. You can’t even hope for her to develop her “special abilities” into something she can control to eventually help in the saving of her own behind, because it just doesn’t happen. In fact, she spends an entire chapter describing her latent abilities, knowing that they are not epileptic seizures as she had been diagnosed, and how she is sure that they are her special power, to later never even mention them again. She is, like any other dense and flat young adult female protagonist out there, just too deeply in love with an undeserving, bipolar douche to care about anything else, not even how despicable he and his actions are. There is even one scene in which she allows him to spank her in front of everyone. While he is in a date with someone else. And enjoys it, like there is nothing wrong with that.
The only redeeming quality this character possessed was her confidence in her average looks, which are usually the source of insecurity and much ranting and complaining in other books. Still, that was shadowed by her immature and infuriating approach at life and her situation.
The other secondary characters were flat and don’t even deserve being mentioned since they have absolutely no importance in the story other than to serve as pawn to Sin’s (love interest) “evil master plan”.
I was really looking forward to the romance in this book and how it would evolve since Sin is, from the get-go, the bad guy of the story. Tired of the too-good-to-be-true, godsend, unrealistically righteous male love interest, I was really interested in how this relationship would bloom. Well, it goes a little something like this: girl meets dead boy through psychic powers, boy possessing the body of another girl tells girl his sad story and his unquenchable thirst for revenge, poof! True,everlasting, pure love. Candice simply decides she loves him. That’s it. For no reason that I can understand because Sin simply used and played with her selfishly, slept with her cousin/new best friend/almost sister turning her into a sex addict, killed elderly people and threw the entire population of teenagers in town into a wave of rampaging hormones willing to throw orgies in any random living room (I'm not kidding, for some reason that was part of his evil master plan). He comes two hundred years after he was accused and hanged for the murder of his own lover and unborn child to a town in which, obviously, the people who once condemned him are nothing but a pile of bones, without a clue on who really killed her, and hellbent on taking revenge upon the descendants of even the lawyer who failed to defend him well. And he is willing to even use and sacrifice Candice to do it. I couldn’t feel sorry for him or his tragic past because the way he was portrayed throughout the book makes him one of the most hateful characters I have ever encountered in my years of reading. He then comes along and declares Candice the only light in his life. And then sleeps with her. And then disappears.
The prose of this book is nice, almost poetic, but unnecessarily complicated to the point you might need a thesaurus to be able to read it, which is a terrible contrast to the language used for the dialogue. There is a recurrent use of drugs and sexual themes in the book that, despite having a realistic hold since teenagers do speak about those things, eventually crosses the line and becomes overwhelming. The pace is not slow, but the events in the story are boring, uninteresting and just plain ridiculous. I wouldn’t say this is the worst book I’ve read in my life, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. It is a shame because this book had the potential to be a truly engaging, powerful and memorable experience for the reader. It should have focused on how the protagonist solved her emotional problems, how she broke with bad habits and bad relationships and survived all the bad things life threw at her and how she stood up powerful and brave even against the guy she loved. I wanted the protagonist to learn something, to grow, to be better, but no dice. Instead, the story is just about a chick following an undeserving, manipulative idiot like a love sick puppy, and the sequel promises to be more of the same. ...more
The Hollow is over 500 pages of insipid, vapid and inane nothing, over 500 pages in which absolutely nothing of interest or even of relevance to the sThe Hollow is over 500 pages of insipid, vapid and inane nothing, over 500 pages in which absolutely nothing of interest or even of relevance to the story happens. The only events that actually mean something for whatever little plot was in there are concentrated in the last 50 pages of the novel, and even though they are ridiculously predictable, they still feel like they come out of nowhere because there is no build-up to it or connection with it in the rest of the novel. It's like we have 500 pages of ridiculous over dramatic and unbelievable whining, then a lot of moaning about a guy with the personality of a brick wall, and banal high school drama in which every single girl but the protagonist is a cruel, superficial idiot, and then, towards the end, it was suddenly remembered that novels are supposed to have some sort of point, especially if they want to be needlessly stretched into a trilogy, and some paranormal sub-plot was hurriedly added in there as a result. If it was so relevant to the plot and the story, why wasn't it added before? Why didn't it make an impact on the rest of the story and was instead use as a cheap cliff-hanger? There is no depth to this novel, the writing is tepid at best, the characterization is shallow, and what little plot is in there is ridiculous. Plus, the main character is self-centered and irritating, and the romance is so cheesy it is embarrassing. Finishing this novel was truly an exercise in patience for me. Even thinking about it irritates me, so it is safe to say I have no interest in continuing with the series. ...more