Tag: critique

Can we go back in time and ensure Passion is never written?

Can we go back in time and ensure Passion is never written?

★★☆☆☆

(2 stars)

Frankly, it’s unclear why this book exists.

The Fallen series is a quartet, slightly unusual for an era of para-ro trilogies. Typically this genre of book from the early 2010s has a very formulaic pattern: in book one they meet, fall in love, and learn the supernatural elements. In book two not much happens (this is the worst book of the series). Book three is some apocalyptic showdown event.

Maybe it’s good Fallen drove to break ties to that, offering seemingly an entirely different subgenre for each book: book 1 was incredibly boring romance, book 2 was fun adventure, book 3 is time travel, and book 4 is a fetch quest. Still, narrative wise, Passion does not need to exist. This is a book about time travel. Exclusively about time travel.

Ultimately, I can’t fault much concrete grit: the writing is fine, the settings are diverse and have been researched, there’s some degree of character and world building… but from a story arc point of view, this book could have easily been a chapter or two. It did not need to be over three hundred pages of, broader story speaking, nothing.

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Fallen is a puzzling, prime example of poor YA

Fallen is a puzzling, prime example of poor YA

★☆☆☆☆

(.5 stars)

If you’re new to this blog, or need a reminder, I’m drawn to the following in books:

  1. Angels/Demons
  2. YA from around the early 2010s at the height of the paranormal boom
  3. Bad YA (from around that era, quite often)

I’d actually, however, avoided picking up Fallen for a long time. It’s really, really easy to find in thrift shops and even libraries, and ticks all of the above boxes. However, I never grabbed it because… well, I’d already read it back in 2012. I hit it down as ‘DNF’ because it was boring. I think I got 100 pages in, but on reading the full thing here, I couldn’t tell you where I last stopped- the first 100 pages of this book is exactly the same as the next 350 pages, and it all blends together in a cacophony of bad.

I read it this time in two sittings while at work because I’m an adult now, but this is an extremely frustrating book to contend with. The supernatural revelation takes place 77% through the book, and even then the reader gets very few answers on anything that happened. This is a thick book of absolutely nothing but school life, and I wouldn’t even be able to parse some of the ‘lore’ and ‘story’ if not for the really bad movie made from this which somehow does a far better job delivering exposition.

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Unearthly could use a few more angels

Unearthly could use a few more angels

★★☆☆☆

(2 stars)

Oh, you know me by now: I love angels, and I read books about angels, and they pretty much always let me down in one way or another. That way being, primarily, a real lack of luster angels. Unearthly is an honest step above a lot of the angel genre, especially for an early 2010s para-ro piece, but like a lot of that era (and the YA genre), it spends too much time on teen problems, not angels. And I’m here for the angels.

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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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Pulp Binge: The Silicon Man isn’t the real deal

Pulp Binge: The Silicon Man isn’t the real deal

★★☆☆☆

(2 stars)

THRIFT STORE WHY: The back text seemed interesting- the cover or title sure aren’t. I suppose I was expecting something a little ‘black mirror’ esque. The back text promises a ‘deep in the future people upload their brains into machines to live on forever, but must die in the real world for this to happen’.

BACK COPY LIES (what the plot really is): In a retro style future of about 2050, an FBI agent stumbles into a secret, illegal project to copy human brains into a computer. He tries to shut it down, but is murdered and put into the machine instead. There isn’t a lot to the plot beyond this, and him dying is pretty much the only plot point.

WOULD I RECC TO READ: No. It’s generally engaging, but overall a let-down that leads to a befuddling ending.

Review:

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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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Evenfall breaks a few genre conventions, but can’t shake a cliche story

Evenfall breaks a few genre conventions, but can’t shake a cliche story

★★☆☆☆

(2 stars)

Got this book as an ARC off NetGalley for an honest review. Like an odd number of recent reads, I picked this because *kisses fingertips* the cover is fantastic. I am incredibly easy to persuade about a book if I like the cover, and I especially love the illustration on this one. It’s fantastic arc and deserves credit, as does the typefacing and font-work!

Anywho, this is a slightly different YA fantasy- that still, very much so- is extremely conventional. It’s an indie book with an extremely mainstream storyline, and seems to fight itself over if it wants to tell a typical YA story, or if it wants to make a point about breaking those cliches. While the latter half of the book surprised and pleased me, overall I found the cast not particularly likable, the worldbuilding uninteresting, the storyline plain, and the writing far too overdone.

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