Lauren's Reviews > Icons

Icons by Margaret Stohl
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it was ok
bookshelves: dystopian, young-adult, series, sci-fi, powers, reviewed

This was a complete disappointment. I don't read a lot of Y.A novels that focus on aliens/heavy sci-fi but I've seen enough TV shows and movies to know when an idea is just not working.
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The concept of Icons had potential and, as I said above, seeing as I haven't read much in this particular genre I didn't find myself noticing an over-abundance of cliches in regards to sci-fi. Unfortunately I found the Y.A cliches to be front an centre instead. Get your checklist ready:
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- A heroine/hero who is no-one important suddenly becoming the most important person in the world. Check.
- Love triangle. Check.
- Triangle including childhood bestfriend/he's-like-my-family-but-he's-kinda-hot-too character AND we-just-met-and-you-are-fiiiine/mysterious hot guy with connections to bad guys character. Check.
- Special powers because main character has to be special. Check.
- Said main character thinking they are nothing yet everyone sees their potential/beauty/attractiveness/importance. Check.
- Extreme moments of TSTL (too stupid to live) from said special heroine. Check.
- Evil government is evil because you'll have to buy the sequel. Check.

I could go on. I could also be nitpicking but Icons really drew my attention to said cliches and made it the only thing I could see.
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Icons also implements the old writing tactic of vague storytelling. Let me say this once; I dislike vague storytelling. It frustrates me to no end. Recently I read The Maze Runner and its vague storytelling took me to the point where I almost quit the book half way and opted to watch the movie (in the end I finished the book and then watched the movie). And that book is nowhere near as vague as this book.

The main characters were being held back from information to the point where it felt forced in order to comply with the story needing to remain in the dark. The problem with this is it forces you to create characters who will allow this to happen, and only stupid characters would allow such a thing. So in the end your characters come across as complete idiots.
One Example:
Dol receives a book from the Padre on her 16th birthday. Padre dies moments after this occurs but before he dies he tells her to read the book as it contains everything she needs to know about herself and the world. Every question she has ever had about herself and her powers will be answered. And what does she do two chapters later? She bargains the book away without having even snuck a peek at its contents.
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What.The.Actual.Hell. Are you freaking kidding me, Dol?

Ladies and gentleman, our heroine is one bright spark. And how are we supposed to trust the narrative if the author allows such plot conveniences to occur? Nothing is ever going to be discovered if the characters keep this up.
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Speaking of the characters, we have four main characters with extra special powers (that are never fully explained) and slight physical differences to differentiate them. These characters are so flat you can almost see through them. This is another downside to vague storytelling, keeping your main characters and their actual purposes in the dark causes one dimensional characters who are defined by one trait/emotion.

I also had issues with the dialogue, which may be a side-effect to the one dimensional characters. All dialogue was stilted and could have been spoken by any of said four main characters. The author also had a habit of differentiating who was speaking by using various; 'she said, he yelled, she snidely remarked, he snapped,' etc. A simple 'he said', 'she said,' being used for the majority would have worked better and not been so jarring. I actually found myself stopping when these points would occur as it took me out of the story and reminded me this was in-fact a book.
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Then there's the dreaded love triangle. Unlike most scenarios, I have zero investment in this. I hate main heroine Dol so I couldn't care less who she chooses in the end.
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As for her two suitors we have one-toned anger magnet Ro (The Hulk called, he'd like his anger issues back) and 'I-have-pretty-blonde-hair-but-my-mum-is-the-bad-guy-so-I'm-conflicted' Lucas (I had to google his name just then, thats how little I care about his character). The story could end with them agreeing to a polygamous relationship and I still wouldn't care.
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As for positives. Well, I quite liked Fortis and Doc. That's it though.
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If you like a slow-burning, vague storytelling then give Icons a go.
Or if you are like me, and find the little to no resolution completely unsatisfying, then best to give it a miss and save yourself the trouble.
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Reading Progress

April 13, 2015 – Shelved
April 13, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
June 30, 2015 – Started Reading
June 30, 2015 –
page 26
July 3, 2015 –
page 134
July 3, 2015 –
page 262
July 4, 2015 –
page 309
July 4, 2015 –
page 351
July 5, 2015 – Shelved as: dystopian
July 5, 2015 – Shelved as: young-adult
July 5, 2015 – Shelved as: series
July 5, 2015 – Shelved as: sci-fi
July 5, 2015 – Shelved as: powers
July 5, 2015 – Finished Reading
July 18, 2015 – Shelved as: reviewed

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