Vanessa's Reviews > Fade

Fade by A.K. Morgen
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Oct 18, 12

bookshelves: fiction, reviewed
Read on September 29, 2012

Imagine you are an aspiring author with a book deal under your belt. In lieu of actually writing something interesting and mould-breaking, you go for the same old bog of ideas that the YA genre seems to have gotten itself stuck into. Paranormal setting/characters? Check. Instant love (just add water)? Check. Love triangle? Check.

So, please excuse me for this tired old pun: Fade, the first volume in the Ragnarök Prophesies series is so bad that I'm quite surprised Heimdall hasn't tooted the Gjallarhorn and Jormungandr hasn't let go of his tail.

If there's one thing I'm getting pretty sick of seeing in YA novels, it's lack of research. I don't claim to have encyclopaedic knowledge of Norse myth, but I do know when it's done badly. In this novel, the main romantic interest Dace is supposedly a descendant of a Berserker. Berserkers who apparently have the ability to transform into wolves and bears in a battle rage, much like how Final Fantasy characters have Limit Breaks. ...Nope. Can't find any real source for that. Most sites and translations I've seen of the edda state that the only lupine thing about Berserkers were the wolfskin pelts they wore into battle. And even if there is a myth about Berserkers turning into wolves, it's a really flimsy thing to make an entire werewolf/shape-shifter plot out of.

I know there's more of a plot later on, but I really could not bring myself to care. The writing style is juvenile and abuses similes more often than a certain Cassandra Clare. (A particular highlight was somebody looking tired, 'as if he'd been running toward home for years only to realize home lay in the opposite direction.') It also suffers a lot from the 'what in seven hells is going on?' syndrome, where one can precisely explain what is going on in a scene, but whilst reading it, is utterly baffled at the writing.

The biggest problem for me was the myopic focus on our two main characters. And only our two main characters. Arionna is our main heroine. Her mother dies, and we get over 50 pages of Arionna going: 'I am sad. So very, very sad.' and talking about how much her heart aches. She feels just like post-fall Humpty Dumpty! Get it? Because all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put poor Humpty back together again. Excuse me while I play a song on the world's tiniest violin.

Anyway, that all changes in... 15-20 pages. Because the moment Dace comes into the picture, Arionna DOES NOT SHUT UP ABOUT HIM. AT ALL. I've got proof!

A thousand different sensations whispered through me like a summer breeze, freezing me in place. Joy, fear, loss, hope, sorrow... I couldn't separate one emotion from the other. Before I even had the chance to try, a current of energy washed through me. (Page 17)

When the fog of pain cleared, I had no answer to that question. But I did know one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt: My life had just gone from complicated to impossible, because the gorgeous boy wasn't human, and we belonged together. Somehow. (Page 19)

I wanted to cry. Not because he was a total jerk, but because I'd only imagined our weird connection. That hurt for reasons I couldn't even begin to understand. (Page 32)

My obsession with him had grown by leaps and bounds. He didn't make any sense. Hell, nothing made any sense anymore. Yet again, I tried to convince myself to forget about him, but couldn't. The fact that part of me, a big part, didn't want to stop didn't help the situation. I still hurt, but I felt better. Stronger. And I owed that to him. (Page 39)

"The wolf did," I said, "but you didn't. Besides-" I started walking again "-maybe we are soul mates, like you said." (Page 46)

I wasn't big on puzzles or on scary, but apparently I was big on Dace Matthews. Especially since Dace Matthews came wrapped in one heck of an interesting package. (Page 46)

My mind had inevitably turned to Dace. My thoughts were always with Dace these days. That fact irritated me. I wanted to yell at myself that I'd been a normal, rational person once upon a time. I hadn't obsessed about anything, let alone about a guy I barely knew. (Page 64)

I wanted to lean into him and the strength he offered. I wanted to bury myself in him and stay there, let him be strong and brave for both of us. (Page 85)

I don't really understand how this could have happened. I want more than one character for the story to revolve around. Other characters do come into the story, but they're so one-note and boring that I just did not give a rat's arse when they died or had other terrible things happen to them.

Maybe it's my threshold for boredom, but I am way past the point where I care about teenagers falling in love. And not being able to be together due to society or some supernatural quandary.

Speaking of supernatural quandary, Dace being a shape-shifter, and it having to do with Norse mythology... ugh. It was terrible. You'd expect it to come into the story a lot more than a couple of scenes ripped straight out of Twilight. (You know, the old: 'I love you, but I'm dangerous' schtick that aged as well as a bottle of milk.) Arionna is supposedly special, and Dace offers to help her through this part of her life, and honestly, I found no reason to care about these two characters.

I mean, Arionna is a girl who shares one glance with Dace, yet feels a spark almost immediately. To the point of completely zoning out and allowing Dace to probe her mind.

And of course, we the readers are privy to all these amazing psychic experiences she shares with Dace. You'd think she would be a little bit confused about these new telepathic powers she seems to have, or at least invest in a good-quality tinfoil hat. But no, that's just as natural as the changing of the seasons to Arionna. What the hell?

This novel was not a purring motor when it came to story progression. It was a sputtering old engine. Arionna spends most of her time at home, going to school, walking through the forest, looking for Dace, or talking about how sad she is. I wouldn't mind any of this, but for goodness' sake, please make it interesting! I don't care for the 'oh, real life ISN'T always full of twists and turns' rebuttal. Reading should be a form of escapism. Not some teenage girl's daily routine and how much her lip wibbles when she sees a boy she likes.

In all, this novel has poor writing, an awful plot where not very much happens, the focus of the novel sticking way too much on the two main leads, boring side-characters, poorly-done mythology that deserved much better, and the hated old chestnut that is insta-love (just add water). I may sound like I'm being a bit too harsh, but I'm at a loss for any redeeming qualities. At least I didn't have to spend any money on it...? Sorry. 1/5.

(This review is also available on my blog: http://book-wyrm.blogspot.co.uk/2012/...)

(Thanks to NetGalley for providing the ARC.)
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Reading Progress

09/29/2012 "I'm in a bit of a bad mood today. It's time to get all snarkalicious up in this joint." 2 comments
09/29/2012 page 7
2.0% "First question: why are they burying this girl's mother during a storm? Surely that makes burial a lot more difficult?" 4 comments
09/29/2012 page 8
2.0% "Ah, the good old 'I feel like Humpty Dumpty' analogy. For those of you who can't get the message:

All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put poor Humpty back together again.
"
09/29/2012 page 8
2.0% "Being strong and brave hurt. Especially when I just wanted to hit my knees and scream until I passed out.

I understand screaming until you pass out, but hitting your knees? What the eff?" 1 comment
09/29/2012 page 8
2.0% "So... is our main character the only person able to see that wolf? You'd think a wolf sitting in the distance and howling would earn a few stares."
09/29/2012 page 10
3.0% "I figured if I told myself that often enough, eventually I'd start coming to terms with her death. So far, I hadn't come anywhere close to acceptance. I still hovered somewhere between shock and denial. Kübler-Ross would have been so proud.

I really hate when authors do this. It really alienates people and makes them have to put down the book and use Google or something. orz"
09/29/2012 page 10
3.0% "So far it's just... BOO HOO HOO HOO I AM GRIEVING I WILL MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THAT YOU KNOW I AM SEVERELY SADDENED BY MY MOTHER'S DEATH. BOO HOO. BOO HOO HOO HOO HOO."
09/29/2012 page 17
5.0% "A thousand different sensations whispered through me like a summer breeze, freezing me in place. Joy, fear, loss, hope, sorrow... I couldn't separate one emotion from the other. Before I even had the chance to try, a current of energy washed through me.

She and this guy just shared a glance. Whut."
09/29/2012 page 17
5.0% "Huh. Did you know that somebody who's been bereaved can be cured of their depression by looking into the smouldering eyes of their soulmate? Who knew!"
09/29/2012 page 17
5.0% "His eyes widened. Shock rippled through me. His eyes really were blazing emerald and as familiar to me as my own. I saw my hazel eyes in the mirror every single day, but his were seared into me as if I'd memorized them over the course of years and had simply forgotten them until that moment.

ARGH! NEVER EVER WRITE OVERLY LONG DESCRIPTIONS OF EYES. FIRST RULE OF WRITING."
09/29/2012 page 19
5.0% "My hands shook. What's happening to me?

Mine, he said in my head as if in response to my question. You belong to me.

The words were little more than a growl, but they shot through me like an arrow. Starbursts exploded in my mind in a flurry of little pops. I didn't know him from Adam, but I believed him.


Oy vey..."
09/29/2012 page 19
5.0% "When the fog of pain cleared, I had no answer to that question. But I did know one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt: My life had just gone from complicated to impossible, because the gorgeous boy wasn't human, and we belonged together. Somehow.

[insert gif of Dobby bashing his head against the desk here...]" 1 comment
09/29/2012 page 22
6.0% "22 pages in, and I have no fucking clue how her mother died except for some throwaway statement that a police officer showed up on her doorstep a few weeks ago with the bad news. :/"
09/29/2012 page 22
6.0% "Right now: ERMAHGERD HIZ EYEZ ARE SERRR GRIN. AH LERV HEM."
09/29/2012 page 22
6.0% "YOU SHARED A GLANCE! YOU SHARED A GLANCE! YOU AREN'T GODDAMN SOULMATES! YOU AREN'T!!!" 2 comments
09/29/2012 page 22
6.0% ""What did he look like?" Beth asked, refusing to drop the subject. "Maybe we know him."

"Um, tall, messy blonde hair, green eyes, really-"

"Flipping gorgeous?" Mandy finished for me.


Okay, is Mandy British, or something? I have never, ever heard any American saying 'flipping' as a pre-modifier." 7 comments
09/29/2012 page 28
8.0% ""Everyone knows him," Beth said with a dreamy little sigh. "He's sexy as hell, and gay."

"Gay?" I blinked.

"Gay," Mandy confirmed with a serious little nod. "His name is Dace Matthews."

I'd stake my life on the fact that he wasn't gay.


Oh, really? How the fuck would you know, Little Miss Our Only Interaction Has Been A Glance At Each Other?"
09/29/2012 page 28
8.0% ""What makes you think so?" I asked, rabid with curiosity as to how they'd come to that conclusion. Maybe they knew something I didn't, but I seriously doubted he was gay. He wouldn't have said I belonged to him if he had no interest in girls. Right?

"He moved here about four years ago and has never had a girlfriend," Dani said.

"Never," Beth repeated.


Or, y'know. He could be asexual or demisexual."
09/29/2012 page 28
8.0% ""He's good friends with my boyfriend, Gage Carter. You'll get along with him great."

Gage? How do you pronounce that? Like gauge? No offence, I just find it a little bit odd. XD" 1 comment
09/29/2012 page 31
9.0% "She's just climbed up a six feet tall clump of rickety old bricks in the middle of the forest. Countdown until she gets injured and rescued by her new beau..."
09/29/2012 page 31
9.0% "Hm, she's in a creepy old ruined brickhouse in the forest, and she feels the presence of something behind her?

Oh, don't worry. That's probably Slenderman."
09/29/2012 page 31
9.0% "A shiver rolled up my spine.

I opened my eyes and turned.


NO, DON'T! THAT'S HOW SLENDERMAN KILLS YOU, YOU STUPID GIRL!"
09/29/2012 page 31
9.0% "This girl is in a relationship with Slenderman. Whoo~"
09/29/2012 page 32
10.0% "Oh noes, the object of your affections is a bit of an arsehole? Who knew!"
09/29/2012 page 32
10.0% "I wanted to cry. Not because he was a total jerk, but because I'd only imagined our weird connection. That hurt for reasons I couldn't even begin to understand."
09/29/2012 page 32
10.0% "How in the name of hell is Arionna sensing the 'animal' inside of Dace? Shouldn't she be more questioning of this new psychic power?

Also, Dace is basically Edward Cullen. Y'know. "I love you but it's taking all my self control not to tear you limb from limb." Ugh." 2 comments
09/29/2012 page 39
12.0% "I prowled around the house for a little while. Took my new laptop out of the box and set everything up on the desk. Without access to the network, my interest quickly fizzled.

The network? Don't you mean the Internet?"
09/29/2012 page 39
12.0% "My thoughts quickly returned to Dace and our bizarre meeting.

My obsession with him had grown by leaps and bounds. He didn't make any sense. Hell, nothing made any sense anymore. Yet again, I tried to convince myself to forget about him, but couldn't. The fact that part of me, a big part, didn't want to stop didn't help the situation. I still hurt, but I felt better. Stronger. And I owed that to him.


:/"
09/29/2012 page 39
12.0% "I braided my hair Pocahontas fashion.

Because Lord knows, saying you braided your hair into pigtails/twin tails is far too mainstream." 4 comments
09/29/2012 page 40
12.0% "Seriously? You're going back to that old brick house in the vain hope Dace will be there?"
09/29/2012 page 40
12.0% "Okay, of course Dace has to protect her from a wolf for no reason. And why the hell was that black Labrador there? I think Arionna would have been able to see the wolf without Fido growling at something."
09/29/2012 page 44
13.0% ""Who are you?" The question came out more breathless and awed than I intended.

"You already know who I am, Arionna." His tone teased and appeased at once. "I'm Dace Matthews, annoying, won't go away guy, remember?"

His reply irritated me. He knew that wasn't what I meant.

"That doesn't explain the wolf, Dace. Or your eyes. Or-" I lifted my chin and faced him squarely "-your thoughts in my head."
"
09/29/2012 page 44
13.0% "He looked tired, as if he'd been running toward home for years only to realize home lay in the opposite direction.

Stupidest simile I have ever seen.

HURRR DURR WHAT AM I DOING IN CALIFORNYUH I LIVE IN NEW YORK" 6 comments
09/29/2012 page 46
14.0% "Okay, uh. When a pack of wolves shows up in an area they haven't been sighted in for years... that's normally cause for a lot of concern. Not just a shrugging of the shoulders. >_>"
09/29/2012 page 46
14.0% ""Did it scare you?" Dace called out from behind me.

I stopped and looked back over my shoulder. "The wolf, or you?"

"The wolf. Me. Both." He tilted his head from side to side.

"The wolf did," I said, "but you didn't. Besides-" I started walking again "-maybe we are soul mates, like you said."


YOU ARE NOT SOUL MATES ASFJHASKSHFGKJDWHFKJSHFKJHDSFJKHFKJHDSKVBDKJBVKDJSBFDHFBHSJDBQAJHDSFBHSDBGF"
09/29/2012 page 46
14.0% "I stood there staring at the ground, trying to work through the problem. I didn't even know where to begin. He could talk to me in my mind. There was something dangerous about him. Hell, he had something inhuman in him.

How the fuck would you know!? Hell, I could look at somebody and assume they're an arsehole by the body language/vibes they give off, but that doesn't make them an arsehole. Ugh."
09/29/2012 page 46
14.0% "I wasn't big on puzzles or on scary, but apparently I was big on Dace Matthews. Especially since Dace Matthews came wrapped in one heck of an interesting package.

*flips table!*"
09/29/2012 page 46
14.0% "Okay, just come across an entire PARAGRAPH or so that pissed me off. I'll put it in the comments section." 2 comments
09/29/2012 page 54
16.0% ""Nineteen," he murmured, and then, "God save me." He sighed, but said nothing more.

"How old are you?" I asked after another minute.

"Too old to be kissing teenagers in the middle of the woods."


Looky-looky, they're having a romantic confession in the woods! And he's calling himself dangerous, and implying he's immortal!

Also, how in the hell is 2 years such an enormous age gap, Mr. Matthews?"
09/29/2012 page 54
16.0% "I doubted telling him [my dad] that Dace could talk to me in my head would go over any better. I'd end up in a straitjacket, swallowing little cups of pills, and sleeping all the live-long day, and I found that possibility less appealing every time I considered it.

Um, no, you wouldn't. Institutionalisation protocol is ten times more stringent than it was decades back. You'd likely just get a strange look."
09/29/2012 page 59
18.0% "We ate in silence for another few minutes and then Dad cleared his throat.

I looked over at him.

"You didn't notice anything unusual about him?" he asked. Was he kidding me? Everything about Dace was unusual, and gorgeous, and...

"Unusual?" I asked innocently. "What do you mean?"


I feel like throwing a bucket on this girl's head and shaking her."
09/29/2012 page 62
19.0% "Basically everyone Arionna has met so far has told her to be careful around Dace. Pfft."
09/29/2012 page 62
19.0% "Arionna is going to a rave?

I think she just hit a loophole and wound up in the 1990s."
09/29/2012 page 64
20.0% ""What's the standard rave attire around here?"

Wait, rave attire changes depending on area? Or are you confusing it with club wear?"
09/29/2012 page 64
20.0% "Ooh, Morgen is doing an Adornetto. I.e., constantly reminding us that Arionna has hazel eyes, and Dace has sparkly magic green eyes!"
09/29/2012 page 64
20.0% "My mind had inevitably turned to Dace. My thoughts were always with Dace these days. That fact irritated me. I wanted to yell at myself that I'd been a normal, rational person once upon a time. I hadn't obsessed about anything, let alone about a guy I barely knew.

Oh, really? All you've been so far is an obsessive angst-muffin."
09/29/2012 page 66
20.0% "We have to wait until page 66 to find out how Arionna's mother died. Ugh."
09/29/2012 page 66
20.0% "Loud rock music poured out of the structure and bounced off the cars crammed into the gravel lot surrounding the building.

I'm quite sure they still play EDM at raves, NOT rock."
09/29/2012 page 66
20.0% "How are Arionna and Chelle able to hold a conversation about how small-town parents hire professional bartenders and give out non-alcoholic drinks for free? They're in the middle of a freaking rave!"
09/29/2012 page 75
23.0% ""Of course she's in shock," Mandy said, bouncing in place. "Dace Matthews, the Dace Matthews, stopped by to see you-" she pointed at Chelle in accusation "-before we left the house.""
09/29/2012 page 75
23.0% "New character time!

His name is Ronan Lacrosse.

RONAN LACROSSE."
09/29/2012 page 85
26.0% "The corner of his mouth twitched, like he found me amusing. His gaze didn't leave my face, and that creepy, invasive feeling didn't recede.

"This is Ronan Lacrosse," Chelle introduced me, her voice still flat. "Ronan, this is Arionna."

"Hello, Arionna Jacobs." He said my name like he was getting the shape of it.

I wanted to vomit. "Hello, Ronan," I said instead, as coldly as possible.


...Wha?" 4 comments
09/29/2012 page 85
26.0% "Uh-oh, Ronan can also probe minds like our darling Dace! Whatever shall our heroine do? Wait around for Dace to rescue her, of course!"
09/29/2012 page 85
26.0% "Dace wasn't someone you messed with. He wasn't cruel or unkind, but he would rip you apart without hesitation if you gave him reason. He was in charge, and he knew it.

I wanted to lean into him and the strength he offered. I wanted to bury myself in him and stay there, let him be strong and brave for both of us.


GROW A FUCKING BACKBONE, LADY."
09/29/2012 page 85
26.0% "Why is she not questioning this newfound psychic power?

Plus, if I knew guys like Dace and Ronan, I think I'd invest in a tin foil hat."
09/29/2012 page 89
27.0% "I wanted to cower behind Dace and hide from what those words implied. Whatever was coming seemed vast, endless, and incomprehensible, and it bore down on me, Dace, and Ronan. Didn't matter if we were ready or not, danger was coming, and it was going to mow us down. We couldn't run or hide. Nothing we could do would stop it. Nothing.

Could we, the audience, be privy to these words, dear author?"
09/29/2012 page 91
28.0% "Honestly, this book is confusing as fuck. Confusing because it's badly written. I should be able to get a shapeshifter wolf guy with a psychic link to a girl, and his rival trying to taunt him and get the girl for himself... But this fight scene is so badly written. e_e

Anyone else have that? You know precisely what's going on, but the way the author writes it turns it into the realm of the confusing and banal."
09/29/2012 page 91
28.0% "This makes no goddamn sense." 3 comments
09/29/2012 page 91
28.0% ""Are you a werewolf?" I looked up at him, the word quivering uncertainly between us.

"No, I'm a shifter. A shapeshifter."

"A shapeshifter." I tried out the word, feeling the shape of it on my lips. The word felt right, more right than werewolf had. I looked up at him, trying to understand, to make sense of this new world and his place in it. "Is there a difference?"


Yes there is. This isn't Twilight."
09/29/2012 page 102
31.0% "So... I guess I'm just getting older or whatever (YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!), but I really cannot fucking stand reading about two star-crossed teens falling in love anymore." 4 comments
09/29/2012 page 105
32.0% "On the one hand, you could say that Arionna actively recognises this weird attraction she has for Dace, and doesn't spend the majority of her time questioning it.

Yeah, well. It's still awful and unhealthy and this is so badly written, I just... argh."
09/29/2012 page 105
32.0% "Uh... huh. Dace believes he is the reincarnation of a Berserker warrior. The same berserkers who were said to be able to transform into wolves or bears in times of battle rage. (History's first reported Limit Break. *cough*)

I'm not an expert on Norse mythology, but if I remember correctly, the only lupine thing about Berserkers was that they wore wolf-skin pelts into battle. They didn't turn into wolves." 1 comment
09/29/2012 page 105
32.0% "It's quite clear to me now that this novel is going to be ridiculously myopic in its focus...

Our supporting characters are only ever going to orbit around our main couple. When the antagonist DOES rear his head and do something other than creep out our heroine, he'll just be swatted like a pesky mosquito.

THIS. IS. NOT. GOOD. WRITING.

"
09/29/2012 page 115
35.0% "My heart began to splinter along already jagged cracks.

" 2 comments
09/29/2012 page 117
36.0% "My heart physically ached at the sight of her trembling with fear.

Yeah, of course. Her heart positively ACHES. You told me that LAST FUCKING PAGE, dear author."
09/29/2012 page 124
38.0% "Little ripples of heartbreak waved through the room until every surface in the kitchen seemed covered in a palpable film of sorrow.

*to the tune of Golden Brown by The Stranglers*

Never morose
With purple prose..."
09/29/2012 page 124
38.0% "No matter where I saw Dace, he had an aura of power surrounding him.

Why is this chick not questioning her sudden latent psychic abilities? And an 'aura of power'? Seriously? What colour was it? Where was did it glow brightest on the chakra structure? Huh?"
09/29/2012 page 126
39.0% "Bluh bluh bluh bored."
09/29/2012 page 126
39.0% "He smiled a feral, dangerous smile that sent shards of ice deep into my heart.

This author is a little bit obsessed by the concept of the heart, isn't she? Seriously, check through my status updates from this book. You'll find a fair few of 'em." 1 comment
09/29/2012 page 130
40.0% ""I'm dangerous, Arionna."

Oh, here we go again. This bloody exchange."
09/29/2012 page 140
43.0% "Sorry, DNF'd. Can't be arsed with this poorly-written shit. At least Alexandra Adornetto books have moments of unintentional hilarity."

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

oceana You're totally going to steal my review from the top with all the likes you're going to get. xDDD.

Good luck!


message 2: by Sapphire (new)

Sapphire Pyro Based on your recent status updates, I think that's gonna give me headaches if ever I thought of reading that book ;_;


message 3: by Kay (new)

Kay Your updates had me laughing.

I read some reviews, and my mind just automatically said, "NOPE."

This story line seems to have been done to death. They need to come up with someone new.


oceana Awwww, you didn't even get to the infamous picnic scene!

xD.


message 5: by Alicia (last edited Sep 29, 2012 07:48PM) (new)

Alicia Great review! YA PNR frustrates me so much sometimes. I see so much potential in that genre. Give me a real love story with supernatural characters. Why do they have to fall in love instantly? Why can't they have issues I can relate to? Why can't they behave like rational beings? YA PNR should be like contemporary romance 2.0, but it's not!


Zuleeza "'I am sad. So very, very sad.' and talking about how much her heart aches. She feels just like post-fall Humpty Dumpty! Get it? Because all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put poor Humpty back together again. Excuse me while I play a song on the world's tiniest violin."

WIN. Enough said.


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