Jean's Reviews > Kin

Kin by Holly Black
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's review
May 29, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: borrowed, comics, contemporary-fantasy
Recommended for: die-hard Holly Black fans
Read from May 26 to 30, 2010 , read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** In short, I'm glad I got this from the library instead of spending money on it, as I had been tempted. It has a good premise and a lot of problems. And for the intriguing, complex premises it starts with there is hardly any substance at all, and plenty of filler.

WRITING - The story starts off quite well, and I really enjoyed it on a overall level. But it's on the macro level that things start to fall apart - pacing is inconsistent, focus is lacking, and there is little to no struggle/challenge. The main character goes from being a normal human to controlling plants at will and mastering invisibility within an apparent day or so of time. Not just that, but we weren't even given a -hint- that invisibility was even possible until the character pulled it out, deus-ex-machina style, to forward the plot.

Then, towards the end, Rue(the main character)'s mother show up again. Rue, being suspicious of this turn of events after the Heavy Foreshadowing(seriously, this is mentioned two or three times in two chapters, including a whole flashback/mini-story thing) that the Fae will replace people with fakes, questions her mother and discovers that she's a fake. She completely forgets this shocking revelation within a few pages, just in time to be shocked all over again when she and her friends dig up her mother's grave and -gasp- discover that her mother was fake! And there the book ends. By telling us something we already knew twenty pages ago, and guessed twenty pages before that.

I suppose the book really lost me during the swan-maiden subplot. The main character is a jerk for not even really considering helping the swan-boy - go out of your way to help others is like the first rule of dealing with fairies, right up with not making promises.

ART - to be frank, the art is unappealing. It's far to dark - at times the page seems washed in black ink - and seems to go out of its way to break narrative flow and confuse what is going on. The mood is set on relentless monotone grim, and with no variation it gets physically exhausting to read.

The art does have some truly beautiful and striking moments - mostly when depicting the truly well-designed Fae, and long shots of architecture or nature. Up close the humans appear to have crawled back up out of the uncanny valley after being beaten with the ugly stick. Except for the main character, her dad, and the family friend the character designs tend to blend together. And what's up with Rue's dress? It looks like something out of Little House on the Prairie, and she wears it everywhere - it's hardly practical clothing, and does not mesh with the circles she hangs in at all.

Perhaps if I spot book two on the shelves I'll pick it up, but I don't think I'll be searching it out. This is my first experience with Holly Black's writing, and it's really a shame that it left a bad taste in my mouth, because I know after this that even though I know better I'm going to be hesitant to read any of her writing.

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