Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review: Indelible by Dawn Metcalf

Some things are permanent.


And they cannot be changed back.

Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep, and a life that will never be the same.

Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future...and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.

Somewhere between reality and myth lies…

Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 30th 2013 by Harlequin Teen 
(info grabbed from GoodReads)

I am going to get right to the chase: Indelible was a good book, but not a great book.  Not on the fence on being a great book either, it was just good.  It was enjoyable and I didn’t want to throw it across the room, but I didn’t ache to keep reading either.  The biggest pro is that Dawn Metcalf has a great imagination and has created a novel using new ideas -- something not seen terribly often.  She mixes faerie mythos and creatures from her own mind to create a new world for the reader.  However, fresh ideas do not necessarily make a great novel. 

The book revolves around a very original mythology of fae created by the author.  The world of Indelible is creative and great imagination food.  The issue became though, that there was very little that was original besides the backdrop of the story.  Joy is your average YA female lead; she doesn't have a particularly strong personality, she's not a dynamic character in any sense, and she's not particularly joyful.  She's not particularly anything.  Ink is your typical aloof male character, with his lack of interest at first but overall vulnerability that develops because of the female lead.  Though there were some very well done scenes between the two characters that sparked with emotion, overall it wasn’t enough for me.  The romance, which was more the focus of Indelible, was rather blah for a romance novel.

My big dilemma with the world building was the stark contrast of the original concepts in the world mixed with the bland romantic plot.  It felt to me as though the story was too original in some aspects for how unoriginal it was in others.  I got the overwhelming feeling at times that I had read this book before, but with a different backdrop.  It made it hard for me to continue reading at times as I found myself bored.

Indelible, in my opinion, is a book that readers are going to be torn about.  Some readers, those who are big fans of PNR in all forms and have a less discriminatory eye, will love this book.  Others who are craving something new will feel half starved and underwhelmed. 

Final Thought: 5 out of 10 toadstools

This review is also posted on GoodReads

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review: The Art of Wishing by Linsday Ribar

He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life.

Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie's ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn't know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else's hands?

But Oliver is more than just a genie -- he's also a sophomore at Margo's high school, and he's on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.

Hardcover, 314 pages

Published March 21st 2013 by Dial Books For Young Readers 
(info grabbed from GoodReads)

As I had recently read quite a few Victorian set gothic YAs, The Art of Wishing was like a breath of fresh air -- but not just any breath of fresh air.  This air had the sweet scent of spring flowers on it; lilacs and marigolds floating along the breeze into my senses.  There was sweetness to this story that I hadn’t encountered in awhile, and it was much welcomed.  With a great story and lively characters, this is a book you can’t pass up.

Our main character, Margo is filled with a life not often seen.  She has an energy emanating from her words that is tangible and gives the reader the sense that you can reach out to touch her.  She is an example of a character made perfect by her imperfections; she has very real emotions like jealousy and anger and longing, and she is incredibly relatable because of it.  In a book involving a genie, she holds her own with her unique form of magic: her personality. 

The Art of Wishing stands out from the world of YA by being familiar, and playing with those familiar tropes.  This is not the first YA book with absent parents, but I felt that the way that the parents had an effect on Margo and the plot was a new twist on the old trope.  Margo has to grow and accept within herself her own anger at her family, something I haven’t seen in another book as of yet.  It didn’t feel like the author was simply trying to get the parents out of the way for the story to continue without the issues of parents standing in the way.  It was tied into the story, making it a real issue for Margo and us as readers.  

Another way this book stands out involves its choice of paranormal entity: genies.  For one, genies are not plastered all over the world of YA like vampires, werewolves, witches, and mermaids.  Zombies are becoming quite popular as well.  Genies so far haven’t stepped over that “Omg this is every other book right now” line.  Beyond not being an overly used creature, the author actually addresses the complications of a human having a relationship with a genie.  Margo has legitimate hesitations and thoughts about having a relationship with a genie that I felt were deeper than any other book I’ve read.  I thought her reactions to some of the quirks of being a genie felt like how a real person would feel and think, but really going into it would spoil the reading experience for future readers.

The Art of Wishing is a beautiful addition to YA because of its characters and how it plays with tropes of YA.  It is a sweet story that filled my time reading it with smiles and maybe a slight swoon or two.  I highly recommend it to anyone who reads urban fantasy or paranormal romance, though I wouldn’t say it’s romance heavy.  I’d also recommend it to anyone who reads contemporary, because, like many urban fantasies, it reads more like contemporary with paranormal elements than a fantasy with contemporary elements thrown in.  Either way, it’s a great book that I think everyone should read for the adorable factor.

Final Thought: 13 out of 15 toadstools

This review is also posted on GoodReads