Owen's Reviews > Wayward

Wayward by Ashley Girardi
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's review
Jun 16, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy

In compliance with FTC guidelines, I disclose that I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

From first impressions this book has everything about it that make for an awful fantasy/romance trash novel. It starts out with a female protagonist with a constant negative attitude whose clearly hiding a dark and terrible secret. That doesn't bode well. At least there's no stew being served.

Despite the rocky start, the entertainment value of the novel picks up pretty quickly. While almost all of Hex's family and 'friends' are 1-dimensional caricatures, it works fairly well in the context of the setting, a rebellious teen returned to her family and sent back to high school, magical powers and related side plots notwithstanding. I might have enjoyed parts of this book for the wrong reasons. I found amusement in the Hex's constant struggle to simply live her life with the gorgeous atypical band member heartthrob but grappling with her real and figurative demons; mostly because I found that whole thing cliche and idiotic, but still fun to read.

While trying to crystallize how much I dislike this book, the more I reflected on it, the more I felt that there were so many missed opportunities to really flesh the world out, add more detail, and develop the characters more, the end result being to make something far more captivating. Hex's new best friend Sam is defined only by her nerdiness, obsession with magical things(unaware of the reality of it) and naivete. At one point a demon is summoned by Hex's faux friends; a demon that does nothing, says nothing and is taken care of off screen. Somehow, after being raised in an exceptionally privileged society, and running away for about a year, Hex at some point picks up mechanic skill enough to build a motorcycle from scratch (unrealistic, but not too bad in a book about magic). There's not much action to speak off, 2-3 fights maybe, and no vivid descriptions of magic at all. Its ironic that there is an army of killers to keep the secrets from getting out, and yet there is so little magic to speak of in the novel. I could nitpick a dozen more things, but they're not dealbreakers.

All in all, still a fun, quick read for me. The cover is a little silly, the prose not exactly literature standard, but it manages to avoid the 'perfect' female protagonist having the world falling at her feet. What cliches do exist are not overdone, and even though almost every other female character is described in a dim light, it works in this setting.

It seems that this book was self-published; and there were a few formatting and writing errors, more then I'd expect, but overall, a pretty decent read. Given how much YA fantasy I've read in my life I think I have a good feel for the genre. This book has a lot of potential and would benefit dramatically from an experienced editor.

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