Jenn's Reviews > Arson

Arson by Estevan Vega
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Aug 28, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: not-finishing-series
Read on August 28, 2011

***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***

Arson Gable isn’t like other seventeen year old boys, he lives with his abusive bipolar grandmother, has a past that haunts him and oh he can also start fires with his mind. His life is a story of social awkwardness and abuse. He doesn’t think anyone will ever accept him or understand him until he meets Emery, the girl with the mask. Emery was badly burned as a child and hides her scars behind a mask she almost never removes. She for the most part avoids people, but Arson is different. Or so she thinks until she meets Mandy the popular manipulative pretty girl. With her life falling apart around her as her parents’ marriage falls apart before her eyes is it really worth taking a risk on Arson when it’s someone like Mandy she’ll have to fight to do so? Will Arson’s past destroy what they might have before it even begins?

I don’t like rating books especially when I can’t bring myself to give a high rating, but the book just didn’t do it for me not even in a mild way. The few things I can say that the author has going for him is he’s very good at maintaining a mix of distant and close third person point of view. The mix between the two is done smoothly and isn’t awkward in any way. The book was free from typos, though it was filled with fragmented sentences otherwise the grammar was good. For the most part he’s very good at description and setting a scene. However the most action packed scenes were almost straight out of Carrie or Carrie 2 and therefore lacking originality, and those action packed scenes were minimal. Also I was pretty disappointed with the ending to put it mildly. The first half of the book is basically an introduction to characters with tons of back story obsessing from each of them. That portion of the book is mostly listening to people’s thoughts drone on and on. About sixty percent into the book it starts to turn into almost an awkward teenage love story, the plot starts almost becoming a plot instead of just a character study and I think okay this is what I’ve been waiting for – something to happen only to have that small amount of actual story I received just obliterated by a not so happy ending. Okay so it wasn’t just not happy, it was cruel, abrupt and almost open ended because what was being talked about versus what occurred seemed contradictory. I can’t really explain it without spoiling the story completely, but trust me if you’re a fan of a happy ending this isn’t the book for you. I know I’m in the minority on my opinion because I saw the lists upon lists of five star reviews on Goodreads. And I have to apologize because I couldn’t find a lot of redeeming qualities in this book and don’t really belong on a blog tour for the book but having waited until the last minute to read the book it was a little too late to tell them it might be best for someone else to review it. Other than the one dimensional secondary characters there wasn’t a single developed character that wasn’t angst ridden. While the book was missing the important back story, that would have made it easier to understand especially with the twist ending that I didn’t see coming (well I saw the Carrie scene coming but what came after was a complete shock to me) it was filled with pretty much irrelevant obsessing by every main character. Joel was a drunk who lost his position as a minister because of drinking on the job. He may still be a part of his family but due to all the time he put the church before his family he doesn’t really have their support. Aimee was disillusioned with her husband and her life, she can’t connect to her daughter, she still has feeling for her high school sweetheart who is her boss and she resents the destruction her husband’s alcoholism has caused in their lives. Emery’s face was burned in her youth and rather than have anyone see it she wears a mask pretty much all the time and seldom lets anyone close to her. Her own parents can’t seem to look at her without a sense of revulsion. Kay aka Grandma is off her rocker, she sees visions of herself as a girl stealing away her husband, she has a bipolar personality and hasn’t come to term with the fact her husband died a while ago. She in fact still has tea with the imaginary dead man. She blames her grandson for the death of his mother and is violently abusive toward him. Then there’s Stephen aka Arson Gable who starts fires with his mind and is somehow responsible for something fire related happing to a little girl seven years ago, he’s an awkward misfit who attempts to drown himself daily. Most of his time is spent thinking, he does little other than think and obsess over his past and his present. He’s depressed to say the least and he takes angst to an entirely new level. Why am I talking about characters before plot - because more than half the book is the characters thinking. There’s an awkward almost love story between Arson and Emery in the middle, some mean teenagers and an ending that doesn’t follow with anything before in the book. I only enjoyed about twenty percent of the book and that was during the love story section, the Carrie scene wasn’t too bad, it was exciting and well described but what came after made no sense since the character introduced then were never previously mentioned or explained. The book is mostly telling and not showing and I got really tired of listening to characters constantly obsess over things. I’m not even really sure what genre this fits in, at first I thought ok, it’s some sort of literary story of abuse and broken people, then I thought maybe a paranormal romance and then at the end I was thinking is this supposed to be a horror novel? The main horror was how awkward the poor main character was.

As I said beyond the characters listed above the secondary characters were flat and one dimensional. Mandy was outright stereotypical with nothing to separate her from every other mean girl portrayed in fiction or movies. While the characters listed above were somewhat well developed there wasn’t a lot of strengths to these characters and they were very difficult to relate to.

Overall, what can I say, a lot of people loved this book, check out Goodreads and you’ll see that I’m not wrong in that. However I wasn’t one of them and I personally couldn’t recommend it. However since I am in the minority in my opinion it could be worth picking it up to peruse so you can decide for yourself what you think.
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Reading Progress

08/28/2011
50.0% "I'm skimming all these great reviews and wondering if I'm reading the same book. I keep wondering when I'll stop just meeting characters and find the actual plot of this book. I'm also regretting waiting until the day before the review posts to read the book because boy do I need a break from it."

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