Vinaya's Reviews > The Candidates

The Candidates by Inara Scott
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Jan 01, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: ya-fantasy, books-i-hated, jeez-they-ll-publish-anything
Read in January, 2011

Unfortunately, my New Year reading began with Inara Scott's The Candidates, the first book in the Delcroix Academy series. You know how you sometimes read a blurb, and it gets you so excited, you just have to go right out and buy the book? For some people it's covers, for me, it's blurbs. (And yes, I am the kind of person who sometimes flips to the last page to know what happens, so sue me!) DisneyHyperion did a great job with the cover and the blurb for this book, which is good, because there ain't nothing between the covers worth selling.

The Candidates revolves around Dancia Lewis, who thinks she is plain, ordinary and not very interesting, except for the fact that around her, strange things begin to to happen to people who try to harm her loved ones. Surprise, surprise, without her knowledge, Dancia is immensely powerful, and the mysterious recruiters for the posh Delcroix Academy are all ready and willing to exploit it. Dancia, of course, is too worried about her tangled love-life to care about what her powers mean and how to learn to use them. Yes, in yet another cliche in a book filled with them, Dancia is torn between her best friend, the rebellious loner and the popular jock with the mysterious motives she cannot fathom.

As all this sarcasm may have told you, I didn't like this book. It's formulaic, unconvincing and drags heavily in parts. But worst of all, I hated, hated, absolutely hated Dancia. She's supposed to be a fourteen-to-fifteen-year-old, but she thinks and acts much older. And not in a good way.

I can understand the premise of someone being afraid of their own power. In fact, it's a great plotline to work with, and can really make the reader sympathize with the heroine. Unfortunately, Inara Scott fails to hit the right chords with Dancia. Dancia's fears over the use of her power make her seem wishy-washy. She hit some boy over the head with a branch when she was a kid, and so now she hates her power? I mean, come on. If she were the strong, tough, kick-ass girl everyone in this novel assumes she is, wouldn't she at least be curious enough to explore the limits of her power before shutting it out? Wouldn't she want to know how and why her power works rather than acting like an ostrich?

And don't even get me started on her friendships. Jack, poor Jack, who was the only halfway decent character in the novel, was still a victim of Inara Scoot's inability to create strong characters. Jack is a street kid, an abandoned, suspicious loner who looks out for number 1. The fact that he finds himself out-of-place at Delcroix and befriends the only other misfit, Dancia, is something I have no issues with. However, when Dancia abandons him, avoiding talking to him and being an awful friend in general, does he cut himself off? No, like a true masochist, he follows her around and talks to her and hangs out with her as if nothing is amiss. Have some pride, boy! And why does the great Dancia Lewis ostracize her so-called best friend anyway? Why, because the boy she's crushing on told her to! Yes, hard though this may be to believe, Dancia the Brave puts her blind infatuation before her best friend. And we're supposed to like this girl?!

And that brings me to pet peeve number three... or maybe five hundred. Cameron. If the author's intention was to create an unlikeable character who shares no chemistry with the female protagonist, well, she's done a bang-up job. Cameron, who's creepy and suspicious-sounding from the first, apparently has the power of persuasion, and yet, somehow, Dancia is not even remotely suspicious when he persuades her that he actually likes her and isn't just hanging around with her because it's his job. And yes, he's another of the morons who thinks this unlikely heroine is strong and attractive. Puh-leeze. When Jack leaves her some books that may hold the secret to her powers and the Watchers, does she decide to gather all the knowledge she can about her new life? No, she refuses to face reality, as usual, buries her head in the sand, and returns the books to Delcroix. Way to be smart and tough and attractive. Dancia's relationship with Cameron reminds me vaguely of Hush Hush. Except in Hush Hush, it's the heroine who's suspicious of her love interest, whereas in this book, its the reader who's suspicious of the heroine's love interest. Dancia, on the other hand, is so blindly infatuated with Cam, she is willing to forgive him his lies, his concealment of his power and hers, his warnings against her best friend, his encouragement for her to spend more time with his ex-girlfriend, etc, etc.

And it sounds like the second installment in the series is going to be worse. Having rejected Jack and refused to listen to his warnings the first time around, is she going to make peace with her chosen path? No, it looks like she's setting out in search of Jack so she can make his life more miserable and involve herself in a love triangle despite her complete lack of chemistry with either one of the male protagonists. I think I would rather kill myself than read The Watchers, but in the event that I'm persuaded to change my mind, you can look forward to another rant later in the year.
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03/07/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Miss Clark (new)

Miss Clark Your review saved me from this one - Thanks!

The UHQ Nasanta "I think I would rather kill myself than read The Watchers, but in the event that I'm persuaded to change my mind, you can look forward to another rant later in the year." LOL. I too am guilty of flipping to the back.

Krystle LoL. Aww. I enjoyed this one. I really liked the grandma x Dancia relationship rather than her more romantic inclined ones. It felt like the most sincere and genuine part of the book. I probably rated it so high (as if 3 stars is high...) because of it.

Flannery I read this review and saw that I'd already liked it. (probably when you first wrote it) I totally didn't mind this book--it was pretty harmless.

Vinaya Flann, I think you liked it when I was on my 'vote for me for #1' kick! ;-)

Krystle I think that creepy Cam guy just overshadowed the entire book for me. Also the fact that Dancia was such a fluffle-head. And Jack was such a stalker. aaargh, the entire thing was hideous and didn't she kill off the grandma, thereby ruining the only healthy-ish relationship in the book?

Krystle I don't remember. I thought the grandma was still alive? LoL. I read it so long ago I don't remember lots of the plot.

Dayla AHA I was so tempted to put it down, like I have with so many other books, but I didn't, I stuck it out till the end and boy, that was just one disaster after another. I literally LOL when she decided to start avoiding and ignoring Jack. And because of how matter-of-fact she was about it, I was like, "that little b*^@!". Seriously, I totally hated her. And another thing I found funny was how at the end she was like he had more feelings for me than I could ever give him, yet she wasn't so uninclined to lean in and kiss him (Jack) and the whole "Oh, Jack" thing made me feel like I was reading a soap opera. Btw, did anyone else catch how Henni said kissing a guy who she liked but knew wasn't for her was like heaven, and that's how it felt kissing cam? Foreshadowing perhaps? Or did the author just forget her previous reference?

Vinaya Oh wow, I want to nod and agree, but to be honest, this was my absolute very first review on Goodreads and I find it hard to remember the book. All I have is a strong feeling of distaste for the whole book and a vague idea that I would eat dirt before trying the sequel!

Dayla LOL sorry, I had just read it when I wrote this and needed to vent :P

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