Well, for starters, it is indeed very VERY creepy. The characters are almost all anti-heroes with a false sense ofWhat can I say about The Merciless?
Well, for starters, it is indeed very VERY creepy. The characters are almost all anti-heroes with a false sense of purpose. While there may or may not be paranormal forces in this novel (must...not...spoil...this...book), the fact that HUMANS are capable of such horrendous things, is terrifying in itself. We're constantly asking which character is the bad guy and if they're all bad guys in their own twisted way.
The pacing is very quick once it gets into the heart of the novel (young girl, tied up, and covered in blood--it's in the synopsis!), and it's very hard to put it down.
The concept is terrifying because it plays on such a huge societal (and controversial) theme: religion. I'm not much of a religious person, but even I can see how terrifying the quote on the back of the novel is: "Forgive us, Father, for WE have sinned." It forces the reader to question if humans are as bad as demons, or if demons are a creation of negative human mentality. When all else fails in our world, why not say that the person we see as slighting us is possessed? Atheists may have a field day with this one, while other religious readers might feel terrified because of the idea that the very thing they fear may be coming to life within these pages.
The ending is definitely one of those endings that doesn't sugarcoat everything, which is perfect. If the rest of the novel is a dark and chaotic tale of sins and damnation, why does the ending have to be happy and peaceful?
While I wouldn't exactly call this a horror novel, I would definitely label it as a psychological thriller, or suspense. This is only horror to those who allow it to be terrifying, and this is suspenseful for those who see that humanity might just be as dark as demons.
The minor issues I had with this were editing, some small issues with continuity, and missed opportunities with some of the characters. At the beginning of the novel, it felt like things were being rushed, just so we could get through the whole introductory part of the novel. If the characters were drawn out a bit more, then this story could have been truly horrifying.
I recommend this to anyone who's into young adult novels with a darker theme. If you're looking for that next gory, heart-pounding, stomach turning story you've been craving, then check this one out.
I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Indelible is Dawn Metcalf's second yReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Indelible is Dawn Metcalf's second young adult novel and while the ideas behind her novels are incredibly original, I fail to connect with her story telling. I won't lie, I was super enthusiastic to read this one--I mean, look at that cover and that description! Who wouldn't want to read something that both looks and sounds so appealing? And while Indelible will definitely be loved by many readers, I unfortunately found Metcalf's novel to be disappointing and weakly written.
The beginning shows a lot of promise, what with the mysteriously handsome and dangerous boy, the fun and youthful setting, and the idea of magic within the folds of reality.
Joy, the protagonist, starts off as an interesting character who has gone through some seriously dark stuff. At first I felt compassion for her--after all, here's this girl who is terrified, but has no one believing her. But then, I started to get annoyed. Not just with her character, but with nearly every character in the book. First you have the meddlers, then the naggy characters, then you have the very frustrating and slightly creepy love interest and protagonist. Let's just say that after a while, every character got on my nerve.
Okay, I understand where some of the characters are coming from, and perhaps my reaction to how they acted towards Joy might be biased, since my personality would never allow for people to treat me the way they treat Joy, but come on. If a girl doesn't want to talk about something, that's her business. This felt like a huge issue in the novel, as if Joy was fending off people telling her to tell them this or that, which drove me nuts and was a total turn-off. I find it very hard to connect with characters who are either very indecisive throughout a novel, or who let others push them around (without speaking up by the end of the novel).
Like I said before, the beginning of the novel is the redeeming quality, so naturally I enjoyed almost every aspect of it. The pacing was well done, since we're immediately brought into the heart of the situation where Joy's life changes forever. I like that Metcalf doesn't dwell on the mundane at the beginning, since her novel is full of creepy and fast-paced moments. She also creates a dark and uncomfortable tone by using effective descriptions and metaphors.
But as the novel progresses, the story begins to unravel like a badly knitted sweater. The pacing, once comfortable, becomes jerky, the storyline starts to take a few too many twists, A LOT of new information is introduced, which is very overwhelming.
Joy is frustrating because she never quite knows what she wants, the romance in the novel feels forced and lacks that raw power that is usually evident in great romantic novels, and everything just feels like one big mess.
Honestly, I don't know what to make of the novel. The beginning shows a lot of promise, but from the middle to the conclusion, it's almost like Metcalf is trying to make her story more original and more complex, so as to have a reason to write a sequel.
If you like original stories and very stubborn characters, then give this one a read. I may not have enjoyed it, but I know that others certainly will--mainly because of the magic, romance, and adventure. I wasn't a huge fan of her first book, but those who were, might end up loving this one....more
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Alex Flinn's Towering is very obvioReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Alex Flinn's Towering is very obviously a retelling of Rapunzel with a twist--it wouldn't be a Flinn novel otherwise. Towering is an original adaptation of a tale that has become increasingly popular and it was refreshing seeing it brought to life in a new light. A fun and surprisingly quick read, Towering is a cute story to be read on a quiet afternoon. Though it is at times cheesy (as fairy tales often are), Flinn's new novel includes a surprise twist and an ending fit for a fairy tale.
The story begins with Rachel and Wyatt, the co-narrators. Wyatt hints that something dark happened in his past, while Rachel alludes to the fact that she is lonely. By having the two characters introduced this way, Flinn is setting up the obvious "Hero and maiden in distress" situation we are very familiar with in recent novels. And though she challenges this notion with Rachel being more than just a chick in need of rescue, we still see the co-dependency featured in fairy tales.
The pacing is very quick, almost to the point of lacking believability. While I loved that these two characters seem to save each other in their darkest times, I find it so awkward that it is an "insta-love" kind of romance. I mean, before Wyatt meets Rachel, he has other women on the brain. But then--BOOM! There is Rachel in all her blond, blue-eyed beauty. Oh, and she's very innocent, naive, and old-fashioned. I just find the whole situation a little forced. I mean, at least let the characters grow to like each other! Give them some time to fall in love, don't just shove it in my face.
Okay, putting that issue aside.
I liked the mystery aspect and the intertextuality, which was very intelligent and unexpected. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (coincidentally one of my favourite novels) is featured in Towering as a key to understanding what is happening to Wyatt. I love that Flinn adopts ideas from another classic novel portraying madness, and the ghostly spell of the past, to retell such an admittedly sad fairy tale. I think it's fitting and a fun little twist.
The mystery, though not completely surprising, is great. We are given clues and red herrings, and it allows you to be an active reader in the story, rather than just an observer. I like that Flinn doesn't truly start dropping hints until just after the middle of the novel, because then we can still go along with Wyatt's search for the truth.
I don't know how I feel about Rachel. It's like her old fashionedness rubs off on Wyatt. I get that she is locked away from society in some small town that barely even registers on the map, but come on. I'd expect for Wyatt's vernacular to rub off on her, not the other way around. Also, though she is told (various times) of the dangers in the real world, she easily falls for Wyatt.
Wouldn't she at least put up a fight?
I understand that she is lonely, and I more than understand Wyatt's quick taking to her, but I find these characters to be a little unreliable.
Okay, okay, I'm being mean and hard on these two poor lovebirds. I know. But I honestly did enjoy Towering. Once I got into it, it was a surprisingly quick read. I felt satisfied by the events that took place, and I knew I'd read another enjoyable Flinn novel. I just didn't think it was something that would change my life for forever. It was just a light and magical read.
I recommend Towering to lovers of fairy tale adaptations in young adult fiction, quick romance, adventure, and fun mysteries. If you like ghosts, there're a few of those too. Even if you don't end up liking the characters, you might like the storyline.
Though they're not perfect, you can always count on Alex Flinn for an entertaining read!...more
I'm a fan of Sherry Soule because of how captivating her story lines areReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy for review
I'm a fan of Sherry Soule because of how captivating her story lines are.
She has these immense ideas that, if put successfully onto paper, will steal the reader's attention for hours. The difference between Moonlight Mayhem and Beautifully Broken is extreme.
Beautifully Broken, the first in the Spellbound series, has a protagonist, Shiloh, that was a bit too emotionally unattached. In Moonlight Mayhem, the sequel, Shiloh is too emotionally attached to her father's death, but barely mentions her other friends.
Moonlight Mayhem will make an entertaining read for readers. However, my focus was occasionally stolen by misused words. I did enjoy, however, how the characters surpassed the high school cliches to work together on the problem at hand.
Seeing as this is a sequel, there's not much I can say without causing huge spoilers. So, read at your own risk.
(view spoiler)[What irked me was Shiloh's lack of mention or emotional response to the deaths of her friends in Beautifully Broken. It was like they had never even existed. I tried very hard to get past these issues and focus on the plot, which was quite good.
The mystery is exciting and, like her previous book, creepy as hell. I could relate to Shiloh's pain over losing her father, so that was a nice little moment. (hide spoiler)]
Would I recommend this book? Sure. The action is fast-paced and the emotional connection that Shiloh shares with her (still alive) best friend, Ari, is realistic. The story is riddled with creepiness and Soule strives to go beyond the cliches of the supernatural. ...more
I'm very conflicted after reading Superheroes Wear Faded DReview first posted on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received a copy from the author for review
I'm very conflicted after reading Superheroes Wear Faded Denim by Law Reigns. Though it grabbed my attention, it wasn't in my usual way. I gave the novel two out of five stars because the story was original, but I wavered between a one and a two because the writing was too archaic and lacked editing, while the characters, mainly the protagonist, Blissany Cherry, were so weak and annoying, that I almost put the book down out of frustration.
This book dripped with the sexual tension Blissany carried with her while on her adventures. Unnecessary metaphors including sexual innuendo appeared here and there, while religion also made a very frequent visit to the storyline.
Blissany was very weak. She was naive and stubborn to the point of stupidity. Seriously, if everyone is telling you the same thing, why are you still not believing them? Sure, the storyline picks up after a while, but Blissany's character still drove me insane.
I'm sorry guys, I really wish I could have enjoyed this one more, I really do. The story has so much potential and while others may enjoy this ten times more than me, I couldn't get into the writing. An example of something that really had me on edge is the word "upon". Reigns loved that word in her novel. Here are two examples: when a character placed something on a table, it wasn't "on a table", it was upon a table. When it rained, it wasn't "Rain fell on leaves", it was "Rain fell upon leaves". "Upon" is archaic and stilts the rhythm of the prose. It drove me nuts.
I would recommend Superheroes Wear Faded Denim to readers who want a slightly sexy read about angels and magical beings. If you like quirky stories with potential, then I would suggest this.
I wouldn't suggest it, however, to those who are like me and can't get past the flaws and archaic writing in a novel. ...more
I came across Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani, the first in the Viola series, a year or so agReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I came across Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani, the first in the Viola series, a year or so ago and finally got around to reading it while on my trip. This was a surprisingly quick read, yet it lacked a few qualities that would normally make a book stand out for me. What I surmised as I concluded Trigiani's novel is that yes, this book can be read in one sitting, but not because the book is fascinating, original, or gripping--it is simply an easy read.
While Viola in Reel Life is aimed at a teen audience, the prose feels like it is written for a much younger audience. While I love Viola's friends and the relationships she forms while she is at boarding school, Viola herself is hard to connect with, thanks to her unnatural prose. She is naive beyond comprehension and her narrative is at times redundant.
Viola's relationship with her first boyfriend lacks the emotions that one would equate to first love. This observation leads me to believe that Trigiani tells her readers what her characters are feeling, rather than show them the building emotions as her characters grow.
Though the ending is abrupt, I was somewhat sad to see the book finish. Personally, I think Viola has a lot more growth in store for her. I just hope that Trigiani manages it in a less unattached fashion.
There is a fun twist to this novel, however, and that is the short-lived mystery that literally haunts Viola until the conclusion. Though the story reads more as an angst-ridden novel, Viola in Reel Life does teach valuable lessons to readers caught in similar situations. Trigiani teaches us that not everything is as it appears to be, and to have faith during times where life isn't going the way we plan.
Though it is nowhere near perfect, I would recommend this book to younger readers. The writing might connect with younger teens and pre-teens, since it isn't anywhere near the maturity calibre of recently published young adult novels. Trigiani captures the difficulties of growing up and the importance of just letting go and accepting whatever life throws at you. ...more
If We Kiss by Rachel Vail is a light young adult novel that deals with the difficulties of first lovReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
If We Kiss by Rachel Vail is a light young adult novel that deals with the difficulties of first love and the sometimes unexpected consequences of first kisses. Vail also challenges her young protagonist to mature as her thought-to-be perfect home life changes when her mother falls in love with a man that isn't her father.
Charlotte, the protagonist, is a good girl whose first kiss comes from a very unexpected source. What ensues is a novel full of questions regarding loyalty, love, and a new way of life.
The writing is very fast paced and straightforward. If We Kiss can be easily read in one sitting. Despite Charlotte's less than stellar behavior, one can't help but want to finish the story and see what happens next.
Though the story is a fun and quirky read, it is a little hard to take it all seriously, especially since Charlotte is a bit whiny and very naive. Her best friend, the supposedly experienced one in the group, is increasingly annoying because she is incredibly condescending. Her remarks towards Charlotte reminds me of just how catty us women can be.
When Charlotte's mother meets a man, Charlotte is quick to dismiss the fact that her mother has a life beyond her motherly duties. While I understand that she is a younger teenager, it is very unfair and stubborn for her to assume her mother would not live a life beyond their home. There is one particularly disturbing scene where Charlotte is less than civil with her mother.
We expect character growth, since that's what this kind of novel calls for: the character will learn from his/her failed/successful love experience, and s/he will learn to accept that his/her parent is happier. But what actually happens is momentary acceptance, which turns into a sequel that sounds to be a repetition of the same issues.
One of the most important lessons I believe the reader can learn from Vail's novel is the difference between lust and love, and how this can cloud our judgement. It makes you question how many of your first crushes were just a result of lust and not love. Some may find this message inappropriate, especially for the age group, but it teaches us to not take things at face value, and to not drop everything just because we are romantically inclined towards a person.
And simply because I can't end this review without mentioning it: the possibility of a step-brother romance. While some may be turned off from the novel because of this topic, it isn't a huge issue in the novel. Charlotte mainly focuses on how to face her feelings and how to be true to herself and those around her.
I recommend If We Kiss to readers who want a light read to pass the time. Vail's novel, though not the most substantial novel I've ever read, teaches its readers to think before reacting. ...more
Crushed by K.C. Blake is a surprisingly dark yThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I received this novel from the author for review.
Crushed by K.C. Blake is a surprisingly dark young adult supernatural romance that follows a young witch and her twin sisters as they discover and play with their magical abilities. When I first started reading this novel, I expected a cutesy story of a young witch and a reluctant teen boy. Instead, Blake's story explores the dark side of magic and death in a fast-paced and slightly addicting tale.
The romance in the story is quickly paced and cliched. One of the issues I have with Blake's romance is that it happens so suddenly that it leaves the reader confused. Characters should not change their emotions as quickly as Blake changed hers because it is unrealistic. To make it worse, these changes occur over a short amount of time. Though her story is a fun one, I find Blake's technique of introducing romance into the story weak. I wish that the introduction to these new emotions was smoother and less confusing.
Though the characters appear to lack realistic emotions (vows of love are questionable due to the lack of action, for example), the storyline is fun and suspenseful. I was gripped as the story progressed and the mystery within the pages thickened.
I recommend this book to anyone seeking a quick, no-frills read that uses the plot to move the story along rather than the characters. If you're seeking an emotional, romantic read then perhaps this isn't for you....more
What attracted me to The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann was the synopsis and how fun it sounded. I'mThis review first appeared on my blog:Book Addict 24-7
What attracted me to The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann was the synopsis and how fun it sounded. I'm not going to lie, I didn't go into this novel expecting a Harry Potter story or something FANTASTIC.
The Unwanteds is a middle-grade level novel that follows the life of twins Aaron and Alex after they've been separated at the "Purge" that Quill, a city which punishes those who are artistic and celebrates (in unemotional ways) intelligence and drive, hosts every year. There, the children are separated into three categories: The Wanteds (which is the highest honour), the Necessaries, and The Unwanteds (which are the artistically inclined). While Aaron seeks out a higher position in the government in the world of Quill, Alex is sent to be executed for being artistic, only to find that he is actually going to a hidden world that helps the "Unwanteds" master their artistic skills using magic. What follows is a fun adventure that seems to run its course a bit rapidly, but leaves enough questions at the end for a sequel.
While McMann's novel was a fun read, it did have its issues (both minor and major).
1. When I bought this book the first thing that I noticed was the headline that is sprawled above the title: "The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter". I've seen this so many times before and not just with these successful series, but with others (another perfect example is the comparisons that publishers make to Stieg Larsson's Millennium series). I find that using just the name of a successful series is a serious ploy to get you, as a consumer, to a) Spend your money in hopes of attaining the same joy you felt when reading a popular series for the first time, and b) To sell the book via word of mouth, i.e. "OMG this book really IS like The Hunger Games!" When deep down, you really know it's not. While I did enjoy McMann's novel, I found it irritating to see that this story is associated with what some may consider classics just so that readers will buy it.
2. One of the really frustrating things about this book is the way that time passed. I know that not everything should be told in detail, but McMann should have at least included SOME details instead of just saying "weeks passed". For example, we're already at the six month mark by page 114 (the chapter that's titled: "A Big Mistake") out of 390 pages. I think that the poor character development (another point) can be partially traced to the usage of too much time gone by without any real explanation.
3. Ah, the character development. I think that some authors believe that just because s/he is writing for kids that s/he get a freebie on character development. While yes, a lot of kids these days are more into television and what-not than reading, it doesn't mean they're ignorant. This generation and the future generations have the ability to gain knowledge in so many more ways than just school. So, with this in mind, why aren't some middle school literature authors treating them as intelligently as they should be treated? The character development in this novel was slightly irksome. This goes back to McMann's poor use of time. Sure, Alex goes through emotional issues with his friends, brother, and himself, but he doesn't really learn anything by the end, as you'd expect of a character who has gone through so much. If McMann would have described Alex's actions more in depth in the time that he spends in this hidden world, then maybe we would see some character development.
4. The other characters felt unrealistic. I know that these are young teens, but I wish that McMann gave more information about them. Little facts about their personalities and more insights into what these minor characters are feeling are given at the end of the novel. So, imagine that all you see is this one character and his moody, growing pains and only catch glimpses of the other characters. Let me make this a little clearer, imagine reading about Harry Potter during his moody phase in Order of the Phoenix, but not knowing anything about Hermione or Ron.
5. Sheri Radford on Goodreads commented on how this was just a mish-mash of all the popular series and story-lines put together. I agree, because there is so much going on in this book. It felt like everything that was written for teenagers 14 and over, was made "age appropriate" for kids 13 and under. I file this as a negative because it's such a cop out! I know that "originality" is a rare thing nowadays, but this was just beyond overkill.
6. The categories: Wanted, Unwanted, Necessary. They mean exactly what they imply. But what message is McMann sending to children who are artistically inclined as opposed to the ones who are scientifically, mathematically, or otherwise inclined? How about those who don't fit either categories? Think about it.
1. This is a fun, light read. Something that should just be taken for what it is, despite its flaws.
2. Seeing what the kids can do with magic and how the world emphasizes the use of artistic skill as a form of power.
3. The writing, though flawed in character development and in other forms, was fluid, which made the reading quite fast. 4. If McMann intended for me to feel disgust towards Aaron, she succeeded.
Despite everything, McMann wrote a story that can be enjoyable if it isn't taken too seriously. Will I read the sequel? Most likely, just for kicks. If you want to read this one, then I suggest you go in just for the sake of enjoying a book that regurgitates what you loved about The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and many other series. The Unwanteds is a fun read, but it shouldn't be thought of as the next innovative novel.
The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines is the first in The Vincent Boys series and it is the kind of ride tReview first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines is the first in The Vincent Boys series and it is the kind of ride that a reader needs to have a metaphorical helmet for. Between the sexual tension the characters harbor for each other, the mistakes made, and decisions taken, the reader will be left raw and lost.
Beau and Ashton are two characters that have a very cliched story to tell, but Glines still manages to draw the reader in. This story is reminiscent of the very popular Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire and if you've read it, then you might understand what the negatives and positives of this review will be. Though I loved the moments they were together, I found the time Ashton and Beau spent apart were so angst-ridden, I ended up finishing Glines's novel much later than I'd anticipated. Also, the way they handled their situation just reeked of future problems and unwanted attention.
Ashton, the female protagonist and one of the narrators, is, in my opinion, a weak character. She is sweet and obviously confused, but the way she deals with her problems is weak--despite the strong character she is supposed to possess beneath the layers of her faux perfection.
Beau, on the other hand, is a more gusto-filled narrator. I love his spunk and how honest he is, but I dislike his temper and possessiveness. Sometimes I wonder if authors have forgotten that women are not items, but people with the ability to choose.
For example, if a character decides to leave another character because s/he thinks it is the right decision, does the male character have the right to control the other character and tell him/her that, "No," you can't leave because, "you are mine,"?
Don't get me wrong, I know it is for romantic purposes. Hell, I swooned and wanted a Beau of my own, but then I sat here and thought about it all--then I thought about it some more today. I've noticed this trend and though it may appear romantic, do you want someone to not let you make your own decisions simply because you "belong to him/her?"
Of course, this doesn't simply involve Beau. This extends to Ashton as well. She is such a scaredy cat. Not only is the clearly right decision in front of her, but when it comes to her finally revealing her true self, she falls back on her facade. Her character jumps so much that I don't know what to think. She is unreliable and frankly, quite annoying. I kind of wanted Beau to have more of a narrative presence than her, simply because he at least lives without restrictions, even if he acts like a caveman when thinking about Ashton as "his".
With all that being said, I did enjoy the first half of the book and maybe the last chapter of the novel. Once the proverbial shit hit the fan, I think the story fell to pieces. As a result, the once enjoyable and sexy novel turned into a sordid affair full of weak characters and cattiness that is never really explained.
This dramafest is enjoyable if you read this for the pure pleasure of it, which can be done. But as I write this review, I find that Glines did such a good job in starting up a romantic story that it took me a day or so to see the flaws. Also, the preview for the sequel in the series prompted me to thinking that this trend of "you must be mine, no matter what" in older young adult romance novels is not going anywhere, any time soon. ...more
James Patterson’s 1st to Die is the first installment in the Women’s Murder Club series. This mystery thriller follows homicide inspector Lindsay Boxer, a member of the Women's Murder Club, and her search for the elusive murderer of newlywed couples.
Lindsay is difficult to find believable at times because of how Patterson portrays her. Though he does a marvelous job of creating her world and introducing her to his readers, Patterson’s male voice sometimes sneaks into Lindsay’s behavior, making her hard to connect with as a female reader. However, Lindsay’s medical struggles with Negli's aplastic anemia, the body's inability to produce red blood cells, and her growing love affair, adds depth to the novel.
The other women in the Women's Murder Club: Claire, Cindy, and Jill, all represent a faction in the world of law and I looked forward to the chapters where I could learn more about them, but I was left disappointed. If these three women are a big influence on how the grisly murders are solved, then why does Patterson bypass their backstory? And why does Jill, the assistant D.A. prosecuting the suspect, make an appearance much later in the book?
Another issue I encountered was the blatant attack on men. Patterson’s struggle to write from the viewpoint of a female character resulted in bitter women. The Women’s Murder Club is created for the sole purpose of proving that women can solve a mystery without male influences. Interestingly enough, a contrasting situation is witnessed between the suspect and his relationships with other women. As a result, Patterson’s novel is an exploration of the hindrances of gender in a book that investigates sexual murders.
The plot is masterfully written. Patterson surprises his reader with nearly every cliffhanger, creating an almost unimaginable and disturbing conclusion. His writing style welcomes the reader to join the investigation, since Lindsay is also learning as the novel progresses.
The chapters written from the murderer's point of view are disturbing as he offers the reader clues about his identity and the final minutes in the victims' lives. From the killer's reaction to his first kill, to the haunting murders themselves, Patterson's world promises to enthrall the reader with his intriguing, but nauseatingly realistic writing.
Well researched and an eerie insight into the world of serial killers, 1st to Die is a mystery thriller that will keep the reader guessing up until the final sentence of the epilogue....more
I finally read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan after having friends recommend it anThis review first appeared on my blog:Book Addict 24-7
I finally read The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan after having friends recommend it and urging me to read it. Even though I devoured it, I felt on the fence about whether I liked the novel or not.
While well written stylistically, the content had me frowning at various points. This was definitely a strong story that was fraught with plot holes and weak character development, especially with the protagonist Mary.
"In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?"
Before I give the impression that I disliked this novel, let me make something clear: Novels with protagonists who blindly follow their own selfish desires in a world that has many greater problems, despite the characters around them, drive me insane. Sure, the concept was cool and I enjoyed the terror that the characters experienced, but it wasn't anywhere near a perfect book for me.
1. I don't mean to be fickle, but this novel needed a bit more editing. I usually don't mention editing issues if it isn't so blatant that it disturbs my reading, but this novel had it enough times to make me comment on it. I know some editing errors are little mistakes that become nearly invisible in a novel of three hundred or more pages, but yeah, these errors occurred everywhere. Grammatical errors, typos--ugh.
Another point under the whole "editing" thing: awkwardly phrased sentences. When this occurred it would disrupt my reading and I would actually try to rearrange the words until they made sense. I shouldn't have to do that with a published book!
2. I really, really disliked Mary. She was naive, selfish, immature, indecisive and annoying. What kind of person risks the lives of those she loves just so she can see the ocean? Yeah, I get that the ocean is a metaphor for hope and for faith, but come on. It was so drawn out, I wanted to pull my hair out.
Since I'm talking about Mary, why don't I bring in the other characters as well? The only character that I really cared for was the protagonist's love interest, Travis. He was, in my opinion, well developed, but his relationship with Mary fell flat. In fact, many relationships with Mary fell flat. Why? Because she was a weak protagonist. The other characters tried to be developed, but most of them failed.
3. There are so many things that left me confused at the end! Some questions were left so open-ended that it is very difficult for me to come to a conclusion. I know there is a sequel, but I don't know if I'll be reading it.
4. By the way, how can a village in the middle of ass-crack nowhere know what salt tastes like? I've always been curious about that with certain books. If you are so far away from the ocean and you have no way of going into the outside world, how can you procure salt, let alone know what it would taste or smell like?
5. The romance wasn't as strong as it could have been because of Mary's constant whining and unhappiness.
6. The beginning was slow! I was expecting some great adventure with zombies, but didn't get my wish until well into the novel.
1. Ryan's book had some creepy moments, effectively scaring me and making me curious. Ryan is also gifted at eerily describing surroundings.
2. When certain characters died I actually cried. Yes, I cried. Ryan's characters may be weak, but she has a way with words so as to rouse a reaction from her readers.
3. Let's ignore for a moment the writing and focus on what a perturbing picture this plot paints for us. We have a post-apocalyptic world where cities have fallen and zombies have devoured most of humanity. Then insert a character who's need to see the ocean is as dangerous as literally jumping into a hoard of zombies. If anything, Ryan succeeds in showing the fragility of humanity and the dangers of curiosity.
4. Let's face it, Ryan teaches us that a girl can dream. Even if there are deadly consequences.
5. Ryan is pretty good at redeeming characters when they've failed the reader's expectations. See point two in the positives to see what I mean.
6. It was pretty cool when Mary finds the old newspaper clippings and pictures. I think that was one of the neatest parts of this novel.
With so many mixed reviews, it's easy to be indecisive when it comes to deciding whether I liked or disliked the book. For me though, I'm going to remain on the fence because though I obviously disliked various parts and characters, I didn't hate the story. If Mary were more mature and less selfish, then this book would have gone down a completely different path. Instead, Ryan made her character slightly cliched and just a nuisance....more