I sympathize with indie authors and I try to be gentle with the galleys I'm given so kindly. But I'm appalled by this book: it's dysfunctional, it's sI sympathize with indie authors and I try to be gentle with the galleys I'm given so kindly. But I'm appalled by this book: it's dysfunctional, it's sick and, most of all, it's so dumb it hurts. Be warned that I read only 48% of it, so this review doesn't take into account all the wonderful and interesting things that I'm sure will happen in the second half.
Amy is a girl threatened by a mysterious menace. Her life is dictated by an unknown handler, who settles her in an apartment, gives her money and provides her with a job. And she finds nothing wrong with all that. Of course, being a dimwit, she enjoys being "handled" just fine. She's like a brainless switch: she can be either scared or sexually aroused. She's a literal "two-dimensional" character.
Enters Liam Stone, your stereotypical male protagonist of romance novels. He's terribly handsome, he's (supposedly) a genius, he has a stellar career (but apparently his success doesn't need actual working time to be accomplished), he's filthy rich and, of course, he's instantly smitten silly by the dimwit.
Of course, she's first scared by him, then sexually aroused by him, then scared again, then aroused, then scared, and so on. A brainless switch.
Their relationship starts off with a couple of heated stares, an inane chat on an airplane, and then BANG! Sex in her new apartment and "you-are-mine-forevah-and-evah-and-I'll-always-take-care-of-you". Seriously. Apparently, he is a controlling kind of guy, and she enjoys being told what to do, what to think and how to behave. That scares her. But then it arouses her. And she's scared, aroused, scared, scared, aroused… on, off, on, off.
The easy way he assumes control of my tiniest actions […] should bother me. For reasons I don’t have time to analyze, it only makes him more tantalizingly male.
Girl, it's not that you don't have the time, you don't have a brain. Get real.
Follow some instances of "oh, I can't accept that you are so rich (but I enjoy the hell out of your leather seats, your branded gifts and other crap)!". And then some instances of "I'm so dominant and sexy, no female being can resist me".
[…] as a man I’ve been taught that a woman never means ‘fine’ when she says ‘fine’
Gods! I'd carve out your nuts for a statement like that! But the dimwit is just slightly scared, and then, aroused.
Enters a gorgeous neighbour, a rough guy opposed to the refined Liam. And guess what? He's immediately interested in our dear dimwit. And guess again? She's scared by him. But aroused, too.
What with the mysterious menace? We don't know what that is but, you know, it scares her!
I think I lost half my brain cells reading this crap. As if that was not enough, this book has gifted me with precious pearls of ignorance.
I graduated in architecture, and I know for a fact that no one can single-handedly design a skyscraper or a huge building complex. The designing process doesn't work as clumsily described in this book: there's no "genius" who brings a sketch of his dream-building to a meeting and then everyone say "ok, let's build it".
And then, dulcis in fundo, some mangled italian stuff! Because how could an awful book like this one miss my favorite pet peeve? It can't!
“There’s a great Italian place next to the hotel, if you like Italian?” […] “I’m a pasta addict.” I’m about to add “mostly Ramen noodles”
So: let me say that pasta is a popular italian dish and ramen noodles… ARE SO NOT....more
ALERT: I'm in a ranting mode, and so I'm going to rant. A lot.
My mom sounded tired, so I decided not to bother her to
So many screwups in so few pages.
ALERT: I'm in a ranting mode, and so I'm going to rant. A lot.
My mom sounded tired, so I decided not to bother her tonight. “Love you, too,” I said, and hung up. I didn’t know then that this would be the last time I ever talked to her.
And that is the first major mistake: hindsights. Too many of them (read: more than zero). Hindsights are not allowed.
And here we go with the second huge mistake:
I’d already swapped my gym clothes for my usual sneakers and jeans. I’d also unzipped my purple hoodie and put it on over my T-shirt of Karma Girl, one of my favorite superheroines.
Oh no, you didn't. Tell me you just didn't. That's a SELF-QUOTE. What were you thinking when you wrote this!? Self-quotation is the lamest of all the lame things an author can do to sneakily force a good opinion of himself/herself on the reader. And it's one of the things that get me majorly mad. If you want your readers to have a good opinion of your work, just do a good work. Having one of your characters praise you (even in an underhanded way) is just... well, lame.
To my surprise, two people sat at the kitchen table—Grandma Frost and the woman she was drinking tea with. [...] “Hello, Gwen,” she said. “I’m Professor Metis.” [...] “Professor Metis is here to tell you about your new school, pumpkin.”
Is it just me or the scene with a teacher coming to your house and announcing your imminent subscription to a new special school sounds a little Harry Potter-like? That's the third mistake, by the way. There could be hundreds of other ways to introduce the protagonist to his/her new school. That one is just unoriginal.
“Because Mythos isn’t just any school, Gwen,” Metis said. “It’s for kids like you. Kids with magic.”
Crap, crap, crap. If that didn't sound like a Potter replica, I'm a pink fuzzy kitten.
“What kinds of kids go there?” I asked. “What kind of magic do they have? Are they Gypsies like me?” Metis looked at my grandma again. “It varies, depending on the student and her background. But the Vikings and Valkyries are very strong, while the Romans and Amazons are very quick.”
Let me rephrase that: “Zebras are striped and ducks walk on two legs.” As obviousnesses go, these are better. Much better.
Shelves and shelves and shelves of books stretched out into the farthest reaches of the domed room, along with a series of glass cases [...]. I squinted at the closest case, trying to figure out what was inside it. Was that a… sword?
Yes. And in case you were wondering, that's Godric Gryffindor's sword.
A man with ink-black hair, blue eyes, and pale skin sat in the largest office [...]. He smiled at Metis, but then his eyes flicked to me, and his expression completely changed. His eyes darkened, and his mouth pinched into a frown. If there was such a thing as hate at first sight, it seemed like Nickamedes had it for me, and I had no idea why.
And here's Severus Snape.
For God's sake, Jennifer! The liquid noise you're hearing is my brain spilling out from my ears and dripping to the floor.
He noticed me staring at him, and our eyes locked, his a brilliant blue and mine a confused violet.
I'm trying to imagine how does a "confused violet" look like. I must be short on imagination, because I just can't. Let's not point out that the two kids stay at about 20 meters from each other, so how she could distinguish his eye color is anyone's guess.
I have to throw something. Unfortunately, I can't trow this book because I paid nice money for my ebook reader and I'm not particularly fond of the idea of smashing it against a wall (that's the downside of ebooks, you can't really let out your violence on them).
I liked the Elemental Assassin series. I've never read the Bigtime series, and due to screwup #2 mentioned above, now I never will. But judging from what I've read so far of Jennifer Estep, I have to suppose that she usually can write decently. So what happened here!? I'm just hoping that she never meant for this short story to actually be published. Because let's say it plainly, you must be ashamed to have your name on its cover. I'd prefer to give away my grocery list rather than a manuscript like this.
Well, bottom-line time. If you like Harry Potter, just read Harry Potter. And if you've already read it, just read it again. It was good the first time and it's going to remain good the next ones. If you want to read a good series about a school of "gifted" kids, try the Dark Elite series by Chloe Neill. If you think that Jennifer Estep should never have laid hands on a keyboard, try her Elemental Assassin series, maybe you will change your mind (or maybe not, at this point I'm not sure of anything).
This is going straight to my blacklist of bad books....more
Everything that I've already said for the prequel still stands. And in this one we get a shitload of pumpkins, too. Seriously, I don't understand the puEverything that I've already said for the prequel still stands. And in this one we get a shitload of pumpkins, too. Seriously, I don't understand the pumpkins. I don't understand the fixation with the designer clothes, either. In every paragraph we are reminded that everyone in that school wears designer clothes. And that there are pumpkins. From now on, I'm going to cram pumpkins everywhere just to prove how annoying they are.
Well, I suppose now it's time to say something review-like. Our heroine (pumpkin! ) has the gift of being able to tell the history of every object by touching it (that works even for pumpkins!). So this could have been a story telling how this girl became a stellar detective, who solved every case just by touching some odd scrap of evidence. It could even have been the story of this girl becoming a famous historian, who unveiled weird events about weirder artifacts by simply touching them. Or a Doctor House wearing a skirt, diagnosing unknown exotic diseas (or curing sick pumpkins). I could go on for hours, but the sad truth is that this novel is none of the above. The girl uses her gift to retrieve stuff for her schoolmates, in exchange of petty cash. Just sad, isn't it? Even the pumpkins are sad for that:
So, this girl has this fantabulous gift. The author reminds us of it every single page, but sometimes the protagonist herself forgets (how could she! Call the avenging pumpkins!)
My dad, Tyr, had died from cancer when I was two, and the only memories I had of him were the faded photos my mom had shown me.
See? She FORGETS. She could just touch something and have full knowledge of everything concerning her father. This happens a lot, throughout the entire book. Bad editor, no cookie! But you can have a pumpkin, here it is:
Our girl then goes to a special school for magical kids. Think of Hogwarts, but without the medioeval stuff and full of mythological nonsense. There she finds a lot of other magical kids who all have some special superpower and wear designer clothes. That second one is important to highlight again, you know. And there are pumpkin fudges, pumpkin rolls and other pumpkins. All very interesting.
Do I have to go on? I think you can get the gist of it. There's some abs-staring and some oh-no-I-didnt-think-you-liked-me-even-though-you-tried-to-kiss-me. Quite uneventful. And boring. And don't forget the pumpkins. ...more
I was tired sick of people writing me lengthy comments about how I read too much realistic fiction (really?I removed my review (and all the comments).
I was tired sick of people writing me lengthy comments about how I read too much realistic fiction (really?), how I can't appreciate something fun and not overly brainy (do tell!) and, in general, all the ways I'm so obtuse for failing to appreciate this crap book.
Sorry trolls people, but my opinions are my own and I still think this book was lame, badly written, unoriginal and an overall neurons-killer....more
I don't think I'm going to go on with this series. It looks a lot like this heroine is going to end up like Anita Blake, because all the elements to gI don't think I'm going to go on with this series. It looks a lot like this heroine is going to end up like Anita Blake, because all the elements to go there are already in place in these first two books. I so do not want to see that happening. I'll chalk this up as "another author that's going to waste herself/himself writing soft porn and erotical drama"....more
If you enjoyed Twilight, this book is for you. Because it's almost an exact copy. I hated every page of Twilight, so I hated this book too.
The plot iIf you enjoyed Twilight, this book is for you. Because it's almost an exact copy. I hated every page of Twilight, so I hated this book too.
The plot is almost non-existent, the characters have no merits, no qualities, nothing of interest whatsoever. The entire book revolves around the fact that Eli is a hot guy and Riley really cares about her brother. So what!? When the author momentarily (MOMENTARILY) forgets about Eli's hotness, she delights us with endless descriptions of Riley's outfits. Really, dear Elle... who cares!? At least, Riley is a bit smarter than Twilight's Bella, who (let's say it sincerely) is quite dumb.
Well, bottom line: if you have even a single brain cell left, please don't waste time on this....more
This book exploits all the fantasies of a prepubescent girl. In doing so, it becomes just too easy and predictable, full of commonplaces and over-usedThis book exploits all the fantasies of a prepubescent girl. In doing so, it becomes just too easy and predictable, full of commonplaces and over-used images.
Fashion note: let me point out that baseball caps are sexy just for little girls of school age.
An advice to the author: "young adult" readings are meant to young people, not dumb people....more
UPDATE 7/12/2011: I've just finished The Hunger Games. I had to come back here to say again how awful Girl in the Arena is. AWFUL. If you are just thinUPDATE 7/12/2011: I've just finished The Hunger Games. I had to come back here to say again how awful Girl in the Arena is. AWFUL. If you are just thinking about reading/buying this, go immediately to a priest or a spiritual counselor (or just drop me a line): believe me, you are going to need some serious support.
I've picked up this book because I'm a sucker for tough female characters and, going by the cover and the synopsis, this novel looked like it would have fit the bill. Well, I've just turned page 100 and so far I'm bored out of my skull and beyond. Moreover, the story is written in first person and in present tense, in a sort of diary-style that I strongly dislike (lots and lots of indirect dialogues). Punctuation is not something standard, either; sometimes it's hard to understand when the spoken pieces end. I'm tempted to dump it.
Ok, I've just finished (yes, I'm a masochist): everything that I've already said still stands.
Authors usually make up rules to get their fictional worlds to work; no one says that they can't go for dragons, sentient robots and whatever they can come up with. But these rules have to be at least credible. Not in this book, apparently. And that's why I'm wondering what kind of brain damage the publisher was suffering. This is not writing, is retching nonsense on paper and calling it a book....more