Before reading this book, I had mixed feeling. From the description it could be an epic, twisted dale of a girl escaping Death, or it could be an amat...moreBefore reading this book, I had mixed feeling. From the description it could be an epic, twisted dale of a girl escaping Death, or it could be an amateurish, choppy attempt at something cool. Sadly it was the latter. The writing was very basic, but at first dismissed this, saying the book was so short that it was just quick read. But one thing I will not dismiss is the plot and characters having absolutely no depth, with this very basic writing. One or the other can make up for each other, but basic writing + no depth = bad book.
I'm not saying it was all bad - I did give it two stars, after all. There were some interesting parts, just small moments that I thought redeemed it a little bit. Hercule, for one, was such a good character(really the only one I cared about). And then there was just some dialogue here and there that made me laugh(not out loud, but in my head at least).
When I had about thirty pages left, I still couldn't decide if I liked it or not. I knew the ending would make my final decision. An ending can make a bad book good and vice versa. Arntson almost had it, but then he went and ruined it. [spoiler]Gabby giving away her pardon at the end was amazing. I felt very unresolved that Sylvie's list didn't make sense, and when that happened I was ready for give this three stars(because too bad Goodreads doesn't have 2.5 stars). However, when Gabby figured out how to get her own Pardon, it just took the moment away. It was no longer a great moment a selflessness, but simply her wanting her own Pardon. I like to think that she would have given it away even if she didn't get her own, but how can I tell? And since they never explained why Deaths did this, I didn't know whether or not to feel bad for Hercule, my only loved character. Did they do it to be mean, or was there a higher reason? I see it as unfair that Hercule has to be punished for 50 years(and they made it sound like he got tortured or something) so that Gabby can live, if it wasn't even Hercule's fault that she had to go in the first place. [/spoiler]
There were many things in this book that went unexplained. For one, what was this war about? I was supposed to feel against it and like it was taking away people's lives for no reason, but I don't even know what it's for! Were we just trying to get more land? Were we defending ourselves against some crazy dictator? I have absolutely no idea, and that's why I don't care when these kids get drafted.
They also explained almost nothing about Deaths. Also, Deaths? Since when is there more than one Death? Shouldn't they have just been reapers? Because in essence, that's what they were, they just called themselves Deaths. Where did they come from? Where did they get their orders? Why can't they just not kill people? Who knows? Apparently Arntsonm doesn't, or just didn't feel like sharing with us.
So, in short, this could have been a great book, but it failed miserably.(less)
This was a nice, quick little read, but overall it was a little disappointing. Strike that - it was very disappointing. The plot is thin: a king's evi...moreThis was a nice, quick little read, but overall it was a little disappointing. Strike that - it was very disappointing. The plot is thin: a king's evil brother put him away in a dungeon, and now a farm boy and a crazy sword for hire are going to rescue him. Not original. However, I've seen many unoriginal plots turned into awesome books by the writing, characters, and dialogue. Unfortunately, this book had not very much of that, either. I'm very neutral on the writing; it wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. The characters had no depth, and the dialogue just made me roll my eyes.
The most pointless character in the whole thing had to be Melinda. Why, oh why, did this need to have that token helpless maiden? She did nothing except get abused by the king and then have to be saved by the heroes. Now, I'm not a crazy feminist, but come on. I see no point in a character that does absolutely nothing except get almost molested.
King Boonder was also a stale character that needed a lot of improvement. He was supposed to be funny with his random obsession with worms and greasy hair, but I just found it annoying, and like I said, random. He puts worms on his head? Huh?
It's sad that Will Allen died before he could properly edit this, because it needed a lot of work. I think if he had had more time to make it better it would have been good.(less)
**spoiler alert** As much as I hated the first book, I think this one was almost as bad.
In this book, Rafe tries to do what's right. For about less th...more**spoiler alert** As much as I hated the first book, I think this one was almost as bad.
In this book, Rafe tries to do what's right. For about less than half the book. After that he pretty much throws it all out the window. The first "friend" he makes at his new school, Matty, is a troublemaker who helps him get back at some bullies. Why Rafe, didn't you get expelled from school last year for getting in trouble? Shouldn't you not keep breaking the rules, then? This is what was going through my mind, but apparently Rafe doesn't care if he gets kicked out of this art school that he so badly wanted to get in.
And then there's the whole mess with his father. Why, oh why, did this happen? There was this whole storyline about his father being gone, but no one knows where he went. So throughout the book it's been kind of a side story to find his dad. After a humiliating situation at school, his mom finally tells him what really happened.
And takes him to a cemetery.
A cemetery!? At the end of the chapter where his mom takes him there's a part something along the lines of, "You already guessed it, probably. A cemetery." No, I didn't guess that. I didn't guess that your mother would be such a horrible woman that she would tell her son that his dad left them and making him seem like an awful person instead of telling him that he died saving his country. There's no point! Rafe even says himself that now he thinks better of his dad. That he's not just the guy who left, but the guy who was a hero. It was completely pointless and stupid.
The ultimate ending was pretty much the same as the first - his mom has a job, they live in Hills Valley, Rafe has to go to Summer School, and he's going to be entering his precious art school that is for some reason so much better than the one he's at. So in ways this book was better than the first, but considering how nothing changed, it may have been worse.(less)