While the premise of the story was great, I found the Camden's writing style extremely distracting. There was great potential for this book, but it al...moreWhile the premise of the story was great, I found the Camden's writing style extremely distracting. There was great potential for this book, but it all went to waste.
Most historical romance novels are pretty predictable in that you can guess the happy ending, but it is how the authors write the journey to it that makes the novels interesting. In this case, it all seemed barely patched together, and the characters were flat and had nothing that made me really root for them.
In addition, the whole (view spoiler)["yay, you can change a man through religion and Jesus Christ!" thing was a huge turn-off for me. If I had known that this was going to be that sort of book, I would not have started it at all; it was made into that much more of a struggle to wade through by the preachiness of it. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This is the worst book of the year that I've read so far, and definitely one of the worst of all time. I was less than a quarter into the book and I a...moreThis is the worst book of the year that I've read so far, and definitely one of the worst of all time. I was less than a quarter into the book and I already started to skim through it, signifying just how bland it is.
The characters are bland, flat, and boring. Their names (America, Aspen, etc. Could you get more unoriginal?) border on ridiculous. The heroine, America, is one of the most irritating and whiny protagonists you will ever encounter.
This is clearly another book trying to cash in on the Hunger Games dystopian wave. In fact, the author calls it “Hunger Games meets the Bachelor”. *gag* There are clearly lots of attempts to make it Hunger Games and bleakly dystopian. People are hungry, there’s a caste system that’s VERY similar to the Hunger Games districts (instead of coal, fishing, and mining, you have artists, farming, and royalty).
But there’s really no attempt by the author to build on this caste system and make it truly something that flows and fits with the world, like Suzanne Collins did so well in The Hunger Games. Why do some people seem to think that caste = dystopian?
There is also an attempt at a Caesar Flickerman-esque host for the broadcast of the competition, makeovers for the girls, and 'yay cameras zooming around'.
30-something girls competing for the hand in marriage of a prince doesn’t really scream dying and fighting, to be quite frank. The proper description for this is “Bachelor meets a wannabe Hunger Games”.
I don't get why so many YA authors right now seem to think that a love triangle is one of the key formulas to their books? It's getting a bit ridiculous.
Most disturbing is the rampant misogyny all over the place. Girls are supposed to remain virgins before they get married in this world. However, they sign a contract when they enter the competition to marry the prince that says that he can do ANYTHING HE WANTS WITH THEM, despite this rule. The prince is portrayed as completely oblivious of all that goes on, portraying just how great he is when he finds this out.
There's a part early on in the book which features Aspenlosing his temper at America because she gave him food (he’s from a lower caste level and is constantly hungry), literally saying something like “I’m the guy, I’m supposed to be the provider, you’re shaming me.” Really?!
And we wonder why exactly this book is so terrible. Hmm.
In conclusion: don't read this book, it's utter rubbish. You'll save yourself a lot of hair-pulling and eyebrow raising at the pages. I'm completely put off by it and don't intend to read any of the author's other things (maybe for trolling purposes, but that's a bit of a stretch, too.) (less)
This book went from alright to weird to downright terrible. I did my best not to judge it by previous adaptations of the "East of Sun, West of Moon" f...moreThis book went from alright to weird to downright terrible. I did my best not to judge it by previous adaptations of the "East of Sun, West of Moon" fairytale, East and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, both of which I'd liked enormously. Unfortunately, East frequently just oozed that "trying too hard" flavor. The main character, Cassie, was supposedly portrayed as an ~independent and kickass speshul snowflake, but the choices she made frequently came off as bizarre and were extremely off-putting to me as a reader, and depicted her instead as a confused and immature young adult.
In addition, the whole bestiality factor was just creepy. I know, I know, this fairy tale has the girl going off with a giant polar bear and having a human body come into her bed every night, but the way that the original tale and other adaptations dealt with it have been much better. At least in those versions, the girl at least SEES HIS FACE and INTERACTS WITH HIM IN HIS HUMAN FORM frequently (even if, bedside-candle-and-face-revealing scene aside, it is in the latter half in the troll kingdom). This is not the case here, where Cassie barely even sees him in his human form, with the exception of when he holds her from behind (and she can't even see him) and when she turns on the light. I don't know, man, the thought of having sex with a huge polar bear doesn't squick her out, especially since the only thing she calls him is "Bear" the entire book? I guess she's just into that stuff, but it's super creepy and squicktastic. Let's not forget the fact that when she goes to the troll kingdom, he's IN HIS POLAR BEAR FORM and IS IN IT THE ENTIRE TIME and when she DECLARES HIS LOVE FOR HIM AND HE LOOKS AT THEIR BABY HE'S STILL A POLAR BEAR? Good gods.
Let's not even talk about how this ~grand love story involves him messing up her biological clock AGAINST HER WILL, WITHOUT HER PERMISSION, like when he doesn't even care that she doesn't want to get pregnant, so he "fixes" the fact that she's on the pill and makes sure she's impregnated with his baby? I don't even want to talk about how disgusting and problematic that is and how Cassie seems to be over it in twenty minutes.
As for the plot: ... no. I think Durst tried too hard to create something unique and different, and it just turned out to be kind of boring. Truth be told, I was suffering from second-hand embarrassment from how awful it was. The mythology and lore she attempted to make was bland at best, and the entire plot went from bad to just downright awful. The second half of the book literally made no sense, and the whole introduction of Father Forest and that plot-line was just weird and felt very out of place.
Overall, a huge disappointment and a letdown adaptation of one of the most interesting fairy tales. (less)