I have mixed feelings about this book. There are some things I rather like. There are some things I find intriguing. There are some things that drive...moreI have mixed feelings about this book. There are some things I rather like. There are some things I find intriguing. There are some things that drive me crazy. It's been a week since I finished it, and I'm still not sure how I really feel about it.
Let's just get this out of the way . . . Spelling and punctuation is often a disgusting mess. It's not the worst I've seen this year, but it's downright lamentable.
The plot is sloooooooooow. Aside from the introductory parts, you really don't have anything happen until maybe fifty pages form the end. However. Once that plot starts, it's actually quite interesting. Sure, it's a take on Harry Potter, but the environment works. And the premise that's finally explained is interesting enough that I'm considering reading the second book. (I don't see it listed online, though the third book is.)
The characters are conceived well. I think the author has done a good job of taking stock characters and tweaking them just enough that they're clear and interesting individuals.
The point where I'm most befuddled about my feelings is the voice. To preface, the publisher is the same as produced the Choose Your Own Adventure books that I dearly loved in my youth. They were fun and empowering for a reader. This book, as were those, is told in the second person. I find the novelty of that to be intriguing, and so when the publisher sent me the book, I was anxious to read it and see how it worked.
I'm not sure if it does. You see, second person more directly places the reader in the protagonist's body. With the CYOA books, this worked because the reader was able to make decisions that affected the plot that he or she was reading. This book, though, is a straight narrative told in that voice. I personally found myself conflicted because this character was now imposing her values on me. And there were decisions she made that I strongly disagreed with, but I had no choice but to go through with them. She was much more passive than I, and she withheld information from others when I wouldn't have. As a reader, this left me with a bit of anxiety. It's one thing to identify with a character, but it's quite another to be a character.
When all is said and done, I'm left feeling that this story might have been better told in first person. I think it would have flowed more naturally and been more compelling.
Even so, as I said, I'm mixed on my review. I think I'll give the second book a chance to see how it fairs.(less)
I enjoy novellas that complement a series. It's nice to get little stories that are part of the character makeup but that aren't essential to the plot...moreI enjoy novellas that complement a series. It's nice to get little stories that are part of the character makeup but that aren't essential to the plot at hand.
It was nice to get the background in this story, though I'm still not sure how all the pieces fit in. Perhaps after I've read more in the series, it will all make sense. Even though this is a prequel of sorts, I do recommend reading it after My Soul to Take, the first book in the series. I don't think the events will make much sense otherwise.
Writing quality is fair in this story, almost a bit rushed.(less)
I liked this book far more than I thought I would, which was a pleasant surprise. I'm sure the price point helped, as I think I sampled it a while ago...moreI liked this book far more than I thought I would, which was a pleasant surprise. I'm sure the price point helped, as I think I sampled it a while ago and wasn't enthralled enough to continue on. The characters were better rounded than I had anticipated. I imagine the world could have been developed a little more fully on the page, but perhaps not as so much of the plot relies on lack of knowledge. I'm strongly considering reading the sequel.(less)
I've been marginally interested in this novel since I first saw it on bookshelves a few years ago, but it never interested me enough to actually buy i...moreI've been marginally interested in this novel since I first saw it on bookshelves a few years ago, but it never interested me enough to actually buy it. It was available on Kindle at a really cheap price, so I figured I would give it a shot.
The plot idea is really interesting. Unfortunately, the writing was a bit subpar. The characters you're supposed to like were still rather unlikeable in their passivity. And there are far too many POV shifts. Ultimately, I'm unimpressed and won't be continuing the series.(less)
I got this as a free sample on kindle (because they're promoting the sequel) and started reading it because I was in the airport and there was nothing...moreI got this as a free sample on kindle (because they're promoting the sequel) and started reading it because I was in the airport and there was nothing else on my kindle that I was dying to read and I was tired of reading samples. I'm glad I read it because it was, overall, rather enjoyable. It took a little bit of time to create momentum and get me to like the protagonist, but as she warmed up and began to change, I began to like her more. The journey of the novel was nice and varied, and many of the secondary characters were pleasant to run into.
I do have an issue with how much the protagonist drinks. I realize that she's traveling across Europe and there are different notions about alcohol consumption outside the US, but that doesn't make the main character any less of a seventeen year old. And the nonchalance with which she drinks is, well, a bit disconcerting.
Regardless, with the resolution of the novel and the twist added in the sample for the sequel, chances are good I may actually read the second one.(less)
Because of how this shows up in my kindle, I thought it was a sample. Instead, it's a short story that explains the background of one of the character...moreBecause of how this shows up in my kindle, I thought it was a sample. Instead, it's a short story that explains the background of one of the characters involved in the series. I believe I came across this story because the author was trying to generate interest in the series. All I can say at this point is that I like the characters and the mythos behind them. And I like the writing. I'm likely to try the first book in the series because of this.(less)
I don't remember where exactly the recommendation for this book came from. In looking through my records, I see that I got it when it was free, so tha...moreI don't remember where exactly the recommendation for this book came from. In looking through my records, I see that I got it when it was free, so that must have ultimately been the deciding factor in getting the book.
In looking it up, I see nothing but giddy, glowing reviews talking about how wonderful and compelling and blah blah blah. But that's just not the case. Most of the book feels like something I've read before. The heroine is not enchanting but merely a Bella Swan with a bit more moxy (not that this is a difficult achievement). I would not classify consistency in setting as one of the author's strong suits.
In terms of style, this book ought to have been about two-thirds of its length, considering how many paragraphs were an exercise in How Many Sentences Can I Write that Say the Exact Same Thing? That got old.
Technicalities were lacking, especially in the spelling and punctuation department.
In the end, it was a quick Friday night read, but I wouldn't recommend anyone else subject themselves to it.(less)
I like that Hale has released a series of stories to introduce the characters in her new book. I think this is a good way to create buzz for the serie...moreI like that Hale has released a series of stories to introduce the characters in her new book. I think this is a good way to create buzz for the series and start putting some of the backdrop in place. I just don't know if I'm entirely sold on this character. I realize that I'll have to wait until she's placed in the context of the larger story to truly see how she works, but my gut isn't responding favorably yet.
I'm also concerned because everything in this story seemed so . . . superficial. And since I'm used to depth from Hale, this throws me off kilter.(less)