Category: One star

Entangled’s just a lackluster TV drama in book form

Entangled’s just a lackluster TV drama in book form

☆☆☆☆☆

(.5 stars)

Thrift store pick up and one day read. It was wrongly placed in horror/paranormal section so I was anticipating that. It’s not fantasy at all, nor is it really crime/suspense- the framing device of her stuck in a white room with nothing to do but write is interesting, but ultimately irrelevant to the story and not at all the focus.

To quickly sum it up: Grace wakes up in a white room with a locked door, looked after by a boy she met the night she tried to kill herself. She starts from the beginning, as there’s nothing to do in this room but write- basically, a ‘I’m sure you’re wondering how I ended up in this situation’ set-up. Grace is depressed and mentally ill and not at all being treated for it, though not in an unreliable narrator way. The story is mostly about her difficult relationship with her one friend Sal, and her new boyfriend Nat.

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The Girl Before is nothing special, and a touch unpleasant

The Girl Before is nothing special, and a touch unpleasant

★★☆☆☆

(1.5 stars)

I don’t honestly read thrillers as a genre, but this one sounded like it had a hint of techno-thriller to it, which I do like- being a SF/F genre reader personally. It, however, is just a pure new-trend thriller, quite akin to the one other thriller I’ve read (the far superior YOU).

It sold well and is popular for a reason: a simple premise, good writing, a lot of dramatic twists and reveals, and a generally always growing sense of danger. The narrative shifts every chapter between THEN and NOW, a time different of two years, with THEN’s point of view character being dead. We learn about her death in the NOW, but information is spread out deliberately, ramping up the tension of when we’ll see her die.

Again, effective techniques. However, this book seriously falls apart in the latter half, and especially the final quarter and last few chapters. Likable characters become ridiculous. Horrible choices are made. The truth is a complete letdown. I’m going to be mentioning spoilers, so keep an eye out. Also: this book has some real racism things in it (the only two black characters, men, are sexual predators and aggressive) and uncomfortable disability things (a character is heavily encouraged to get an give up her disabled child for adoption, in general Down’s Syndrome is treated as a terrifying, horrible thing for a mother to deal with).

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The Book of (Boring) Angels

The Book of (Boring) Angels

★☆☆☆☆

(1.5 stars)

This is a short story collection I picked up at a convention in 2017, and put off reading for ages. I’m glad I tackled it, since I like reading small press and indie authors, but it just ain’t that good. Even for me, someone clinically obsessed with angels. Usually just angels in a book helps me like something enough to gloss over some issues. This book just ain’t that good. There’s a few ups, and the second half is Fine, but the first half is just a slog.

This is a short story collection where 58% of the stories are by the same author, and he’s also the weakest author in the book. His name is also right on the front of the book, which is a bit of a discredit to everyone else involved.

Also, when I pick up a book of angels, I want some interesting angels. The latter half has some different takes on angels (AJ sticks to biblical ish standard ones), but there’s not enough Angel Content in a book dedicated to them. I love angels because they have so much potential in media, so it was a real let down to see such uninspired takes on them.

I’ll quickly go over each story in the bunch.

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Beauty Queens: Diversity is good, but it doesn’t make a book

Beauty Queens: Diversity is good, but it doesn’t make a book

★☆☆☆☆

(1 star)

I love Libba bay. I want to put that out there. I loved Going Bovine, and when I was about 13, it was probably my most read and reread book. Beauty Queens, by her, sucks. Oh man. Oh boy. I used to just be lukewarm, but I’ve been seeing it float around on LGBT recommendation lists and on tumblr, so I want to officially clear the air: Don’t read this book.

Is there a lot of diversity, female friendship, gay stuff, ethnicity stuff, and feminism? Does the cover rock? Is the premise gold? Well, sure. But that doesn’t make up for everything else.

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The Raven Boys Boggles and Bores

The Raven Boys Boggles and Bores

★☆☆☆☆

(1 star)

I’m afraid I may be knifed for this opinion: I am confused by The Raven Boys’ success, and utterly bored by its content.

When something’s bad, there’s a sense of superiority to be gained, a few moments to laugh. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater was flat, slowly paced, and simply monotonous. This is a book I have heard so much about- Everyone appears dazzled by it.

Problem, though: There was nothing I could find to love in this slag of a novel. Everything felt like set up, like part one of a two part movie: perhaps it would all have come together in book two, or perhaps book four, but on its own merit it simply didn’t work.

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