Rose's Reviews > Touched

Touched by Cyn Balog
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's review
Jul 12, 12

did not like it
bookshelves: young-adult, supernatural, paranormal, netgalley, fantasy, arc-or-galley
Read from July 09 to 10, 2012

Initial reaction: This is one of those times when the method with which a writer tells the story completely ruins the way the story comes across, along with harboring so many cliches in the genre, it's hard to read past them. Balog's "Touched" never managed to have a resonating character to connect with me. While the ability that Nick Cross comes from a compulsion that exists inside his mind - telling of his future, he's often too much inside his mind, and the narrative jumps back and forth without much flow.

Suffice to say, this was a disappointing story on more than one level.

Full review:

"Touched" is the first Cyn Balog book I've had the opportunity to read. I was initially intrigued by the cover and the concept of a boy who hears voices in his mind that will tell him of his future, and controls his life in such a way that it makes it difficult for him to live and cope if he deviates from it. Yet despite having a premise of due merit in the YA paranormal spectrum, "Touched" makes many pedestrian writing errors that prevented me from enjoying the novel in its entirety. This is going to be a tough review because I'm not one to say that any author should abide by a certain spectrum or set of standards to write his or her story - that's usually up to the technique and stylistic of the writer. There have been people who break a lot of writing tried and true rules and manage to tell a compelling story with doing so.

However, "Touched" is neither compelling nor original in its progressive story - it's an insta-love story that drops the ball on its premise quite hard, and leans away from what one would consider an interesting mystery/ability story with due conviction. Much of the tension established in this book was broken by too much telling of the narrative, and plot threads that seemed strewn every which way without much flow. Very jarring chapter transitions that felt choppy at best. Granted, there were moments of insight that I liked seeing about Nick Cross's life that were worth merit, but it felt so expository that I never gained a sense of intimacy with his character - I never knew who he was as a person nor did I get a sense of who the people were around him. I often felt annoyed that Nick was not only too much into his head and angst-ridden, but the other characters didn't really speak for themselves as much as Nick spoke for them, and he really doesn't sound like a strong, male protagonist of his due age. It annoyed me even that he kept referring to his former friend whom he had a falling out with as "Sphincter" when he could've just said Eric and allowed his frustration to show in other measures.

The way the story's told is an alternation between the first person narrative account of Nick as he deals with the voices in his mind, and second person with a bunch of "You Will" statements that showcase future things he would do, see, or feel. Nick would often try to fight against these voices, but when it results in the death of a girl, he's tormented over it. That would've had greater weight if it were presented in a way that was more sympathetic and not repeated over and over again to the point of overstatement. And while I wish I could've gotten to know Nick and Taryn more, the narrative kept me at arms length from their accounts for much of, if not all, the book. Nick was too much in his own head. While I can understand that being somewhat necessary for an introverted character tormented by problems within to focus internally - the way this story was told doesn't give a compelling enough narrative to keep me engaged with those particular problems and to understand where the character's coming from. I think a better balance of the internal and external dimensions could've made it stronger than what it was.

I honestly tried and wanted to like this story, I really wanted to, but there were so many issues with it that it was a miss - I didn't care for the characters, the love connection, the humor - quite much of it fell flat for me.

I don't know yet if I'll read more of Balog's work, but I firmly believe this could've been a stronger story with better technique and structuring of the actual story, with greater intimacy to the characters and their plights, particularly with Nick and his respective ability. Unfortunately, it fell apart at the seams and never recovered in its duration.

Overall score: 1/5

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Random House/Delacorte BYFR.
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Reading Progress

07/09 page 1
0.0% "I've never read any of Cyn Balog's books, so I don't really know what to expect from "Touched". I have this as an ARC, and it's about a month out from the release date, so I'm going to tackle it and see how it turns out. Here goes. *exhales slowly*"
07/09 page 14
4.0% "Lot of telling so far. I think that only has me at arms length with the story so far. I don't really even know who the protagonist is yet. I know things about him, but nothing as far as his goals, ambitions - things that would make me care about him. At the very least I know he has an odd ability, which I'm still following."
07/09 page 18
6.0% "I think Chapter 2 might be the true start of the story. First chapter was a bit of a throwaway - didn't really tell me much."
07/10 page 25
8.0% "I just realized something. I'm on the third chapter of this book and the character's name's only been mentioned once since this point, on the first page. That's not a good sign. A lot of what's going on is in his head and while that might be an accurate thing for an introverted character where a threat's inside, there still needs to be some dynamic and balance with the external. Still reading."
07/10 page 41
13.0% "Yes, Nick, I get the fact you're worried that you may have (or have) killed a girl, but I think you're overpressing the point a little into angst mode. And telling it too much."
03/22 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Best (new)

Best Whoa, this sounds bad. I'm sorry you didn't like it. :( I was really interested in this at first but my request got declined, so I didn't get a chance to read it. After reading your review, I guess there's no regret! Great review! :-)

message 2: by Rose (new) - rated it 1 star

Rose Thanks Best. :) I really do wish it'd had been a better story than it was.

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