by Richelle Mead
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*2.5 I’m being generous because the writing was decent stars*
Okay. 2.5 stars. I know-harsh. That is such a harsh rating from someone who tries to see the good in literally every story and rates most books 4 stars. But, ultimately, there are multiple reasons why I couldn’t give this book more than 2.5 stars.
I have seen this book off and on for years at bookstores, always catching my eye and urging me to take a closer look. I have a process when it comes to this book- A) pick it up B) read the blurb on the back C) Put it back down while sighing and dubbing it ‘meh’. Now, why this book hadn’t piqued my full interest before now is beyond me-it clearly has a strong following and people tend to love it. Hell. I think I would have loved it had I read it 6 months ago. But something has happened in this last six months that has changed me as a reader. I have found some truly astonishing, truly gripping novels that have tattooed my soul and haven’t let me think clearly for months. Sure, I’ve read some great books in that time. However, after reading these excellent novels, I know what a true 5 star read really is, and it has altered my mind indefinitely on the rating system I used to know as simple. It is so much more difficult now.
So onto why I rated this book thusly. Probably the ultimate reason I could not immerse myself into this story, is the characters. I have read many, many dramatized YA stories with characters that you want to strangle, yes. But, Rose….Rose was…a special case. At one point I wanted to stab her. She is a prime example of the character development in VA. She was vapid, shallow-a character that merely scraped the surface of her being. How many times can one character alone ask a guy if he ‘wants to see her naked’ or explain how ‘hot’ they are? I had a very hard time connecting to her as a person. Many of the characters had interesting lives they led, but how would we know? The author, who
write beautifully, didn’t let us in, fully. Instead of playing out a whole scene or letting us get deep into the character’s persona, we got the ‘explain all’ method. I would be excited for a scene to transpire, and then halfway through, she would end it with “and then we drove home. Hours later we…” and so on. I am not a fan of this writing style. I like to see scenes played out to their full potential-not shortened and summarized. She wrote as if we, the readers, knew what was going on-telling us instead of showing us. Again, this is not a knock on the author-she wrote flawlessly. She just didn’t execute scenarios as I would have thought they were meant to be.
I feel as though I was disconnected from the story the entire time, because half a day would go by in a single page. I am the type of person who, if I feel I am not being told everything, starts to lose interest or care less about the characterization in question. At certain points I was so disconnected I felt like I wasn’t even reading, I would start to fade out and think of other things without even realizing it-like what I wanted to eat kind of things. Which is no stretch-I LOVE to eat. I just don’t want to think about that whilst in the middle of a supposedly important scene. Half of the story was lost because I would find myself skimming to get through a part that dragged onward with no ending in sight. I would peruse along looking for key phrases to ‘trigger’ my interest, and I STILL felt like I got the whole story that everyone else read-just by skimming.
Keep in mind that it was never my intention to make this sound so negative. My friends I BR with were intrigued enough to continue on and still encourage me to do so. And I will. I trust that I can get into the next installments-I just won’t put other awesome books on the backburner to continue. I gave this book a 2.5/3 solid star rating because…I rate books with horrid writing at 2, and I can’t with good conscience rate this a 2 solid star. Like I’ve said, my opinions towards books/book ratings have changed dramatically, and I wish that was different. But it can’t be. A climactic scene that doesn’t get my heart racing or make me beg for more? Not a good sign, seeing as how that’s my favorite part of a book. So I will continue this series someday, maybe sooner than I think, but it is not a favorite of mine and I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. For those of you reading this review, my advice would be to READ IT. GIVE IT A CHANCE. Just because the character development didn’t do it for me, doesn’t mean you all won’t love it. I love books, and I am one to encourage others to give books a chance, and this is no exception-it just wasn’t for me. 🙂