Mostly because work has been piling up and I can barely keep up with my workload. I eat protein powder for breakfast and lunch. For example, this is half of one of my cases at work. I go through around 2 of these a day, among other things...
I've been posting my reviews on GR, but I haven't had the energy to reformat it and cross post it to BL, because Booklikes' format is fucking dumb and it doesn't accept GR's html formatting.
I'll be around. I just won't be reviewing as much as I used to :P
I was predisposed to love this book no matter what. I love perfumes. The fact that this book had blood and murder was just a bonus.
For me, perfumes and scents are a visceral thing. I love perfume. I have never been a visual person, my memories are composed of layers of scent.
I remember as a child, growing up in Vietnam, visiting my elderly neighbor's house and having him give me a cup of black tea infused with jasmine. Those jasmines would put the pitiful little star jasmines to shame. They were huge, each petal as wide as a fingernail. White, waxen, and filled with the most beautiful, deep, richly floral scent that even as a 5-year old I could feel was seductive without ever knowing the meaning or the existence of the word.
I remember sleeping with the window open, as the night air was filled with the scents of the flowering trees that grew outside my grandparents' house. I remember the green, earthy smell of the rice paddies where I grew up. I remember the bitter, smoky smell of the pits (so environmentally destructive, but whatever) that my neighbors dug in which they burned wood slowly for months to make a small supply of coal. Not all the smells were pleasant, of course, because hello, I did grow up on a farm, but my memories are built upon scent.
My love of perfume grew when I was a teen. I learned about perfumes, and how they were made. I learned about how flowers were distilled for their scents, an enormous quantity of raw ingredients required for a few precious drops of essential oils. I learned about making aromatic compounds in an organic chemistry lab, and that my beloved scent of jasmine (and tuberose) smelled as beautifully seductive and sexual as it did because it contained a compound called indoles, which smells like poop. Who knew!
I learned that each perfume as a top note, which quickly dissipates, the middle notes, which remains, the base notes, which lingers onto your skin like the touch of a long-gone lover. I learned that musk can smell rank, like sweaty, animalistic sex on top of a slice of Muenster cheese, or it can smell like the warmth of a mother's embrace.
There are certain scents I will never be able to wear again, because one I wore for months, while longing after a guy I thought I could never have. Another I can't smell without wincing, because it reminds me of heartbreak and tears, despite the fact that it came in a rose-colored bottle and smelled like green tea and lemons.
This book is a perfume lover's dream come true. The entire book could have had no mystery at all, and I would still read it and revel in the descriptions alone.
The Summary: Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was a bastard, born in 1738 to a syphilitic, consumptive woman working in a stinking fish stall as a gutter. After delivering the unfortunate child, she was promptly arrested for abandoning said child, and hanged.
A most auspicious beginning.
Even in the beginning, his wet nurse---paid for by the state---noticed that something was wrong with Grenouille.
“I don’t mean what’s in the diaper. His soil smells, that’s true enough. But it’s the bastard himself, he doesn’t smell.”
Babies have a smell, some stink, but underneath it, there's always a warm, cuddly smell that even a cold, heartless, child-hating woman such as I can appreciate. Grenouille has no scent.
People notice. His fellow children notice.
They could not stand the nonsmell of him. They were afraid of him.
As a teen, he sought work at a tannery in Paris. Paris is a stinking pit of hell. To Grenouille...it is heaven, with its amalgamation of scents.
It was a mixture of human and animal smells, of water and stone and ashes and leather, of soap and fresh-baked bread and eggs boiled in vinegar, of noodles and smoothly polished brass, of sage and ale and tears, of grease and soggy straw and dry straw. Thousands upon thousands of odors formed an invisible gruel that filled the street ravines, only seldom evaporating above the rooftops and never from the ground below.
Grenouille knew he was not normal, but his obsession for the pursuit of a scent never really gained traction until he committed his first murder, for love of a virgin's scent.
...the sweat of her armpits, the oil in her hair, the fishy odor of her genitals, and smelled it all with the greatest pleasure. Her sweat smelled as fresh as the sea breeze, the tallow of her hair as sweet as nut oil, her genitals were as fragrant as the bouquet of water lilies, her skin as apricot blossoms... and the harmony of all these components yielded a perfume so rich, so balanced, so magical, that every perfume that Grenouille had smelled until now, every edifice of odors that he had so playfully created within himself, seemed at once to be utterly meaningless.
The scent of a living human being that he must commit to memory, that he must capture, in the way a flower collector dries a specimen within parchment, in the way an insect lover kills and pins to a page the very thing he loves.
When she was dead he laid her on the ground among the plum pits, tore off her dress, and the stream of scent became a flood that inundated him with its fragrance. He thrust his face to her skin and swept his flared nostrils across her, from belly to breast, to neck, over her face and hair, and back to her belly, down to her genitals, to her thighs and white legs. He smelled her over from head to toe, he gathered up the last fragments of her scent under her chin, in her navel, and in the wrinkles inside her elbow.
His is an obsessive quest that will lead him to murder again, and again, and again, in this desperate search.
Grenouille knew for certain that unless he possessed this scent, his life would have no meaning.
This is a book in which the title is completely self-explanatory. It is about a murderer, and his obsessive quest for a perfect perfume. It's something I understand, in my constant search for the Holy Grail of fragrances.
But I have yet to succumb to the urge to murder. >_>
“So you’re cool that he only showed interest in you once you got all glam?”
“Yes!” Benny and I say in unison.
The book's title is rather misleading, for one, there's no "revenge." For another, the sorta-but-not-really-"revenge" of the "girl with the great personality" is to become hot.
I get it. This is an YA book, and in the scheme of adolescent thinking, beauty is everything. I'm trying not to offend any high schoolers here, but generally, the teenaged mind seeks the most simple explanation, and in this book, the solution for lack of popularity with the boys, for not having your parents' attention, for lack of a boyfriend, is in a person's looks, or lack thereof.
Again, this is just my own experience, but in my high school, nobody really cared about dating or getting a guy or becoming hot, which is why I found it so hard to connect to the main character from the way I felt as a teen. The teenaged years are never good years, I think it's the same across the board. Upon reflection, the adult version of us will realize that it takes more than good looks to win a guy, and even the most beautiful person can be so tremendously alone, seeking for love in all the wrong places. Happily married supermodels are quite rare, it seems.
I was an socially awkward teen who didn't know how to talk to people. I was gangly, awkward, flat-chested, and never once in my high school life did I feel like I was a failure at life because I couldn't get a boy. Throughout high school, I didn't have a single date. I never got asked to a single dance. And I never thought the problem was because I wasn't hot or pretty enough.
I could barely string together two words in public (and look at me now!). I didn't have a great personality, because I was kind of the depressed angry sanctimonious little snits once you got around to talking to me, and I realized that. I had more to worry about than how I looked, because, like the sanctimonious little snit I was, I was too busy worrying about the existential crisis of life (true story, I carried around Sartre like the fucking Bible).
So forgive me if, from my own experience, I found the main character rather hard to relate to. I know that this is an YA novel, but I want the situation and the character to be framed in a way that I could understand the character, even if I couldn't relate to her. This book didn't do that for me.
The kind of "become hot, get a boyfriend!" message is kind of a shallow one. Because this is a growing-up type of book, the main character overcomes, but it's still a really, really shallow message, made furthermore by the complete lack of character transformation. The main character likes the fact that she's hot and she's got boys looking at her BECAUSE she's hot in one moment, only to throw a hissy fit that she feels like she's only seen for her looks and not her personality in the next 5 minutes.
It's contradictory, it's hypocritical. This book has:
- A caricature of a pageant family. Think Honey Boo Boo, complete with the grossly obese, obsessed mom living vicariously through her youngest daughter's success in pageantry
- A shallow main character without the "great personality" in the first place, as far as I can see
- Fat AND thin shaming. Her mother is shamed for stress-eating and becoming obese. A thin, beautiful Mean Girl is accused of having an eating disorder.
- A very shallow portrayal of beauty. Those who are beautiful must be shallow, those who aren't beautiful must be worth more in character
- A love triangle that pissed me off more than your average love triangles
Most trouble usually starts with a boy. But he’s not just any boy. No, he’s possibly the most amazing, hottest, and sweetest boy ever known to teenage kind.
Lexi is a cool girl. She's got a lot on her plate, like an overbearing pageant mom, and an unbearably bratty 7-year old baby sister Mac, the competitor in said pageants. Mac is the pretty one. Lexi has always been the girl with the "great personality." And it kind of sucks.
When a guy uses great personality to describe a girl, it’s the polite way of saying fat and ugly.
Except she's not fat. She's not ugly. She just can't get the boy of her dreams, Logan to notice her. Ok, the other part of why she can't have Logan may be due to the fact that Logan is the happy boyfriend of the school beauty queen.
But Lexi's fed up with being ignored.
I know that once I leave high school and go to college, it’ll be different. There’s got to be someone out there who’s willing to give a girl with a great personality a shot.
But for now, I have to bide my time and wait for the moment when the Great Girls inherit the earth.
But she'd fed up with biding her time. She wants her future now. She has a gay friend named Benny who's pretty sick of being ignored by the guy of his dreams, too. They make a plan, change themselves, change their lives.
A makeover and a dress? There is a very good chance no one will even recognize me on Monday.
It works. The only problem is that it works too well, and instead of attracting the boy of her dreams (who has a girlfriend), she attracts the attention of Taylor, the school football star, instead.
Is Taylor in love with the person Lexi is underneath, or does he only see her newly-improved appearance? Will Lexi stop thinking of one guy while she's with another?
“I should be jumping for joy that I’m with somebody as amazing as Taylor, but now all I can think about is that Logan is going to be there. And that he might dance with me.”
The Family: This isn't the sort of family you can usually relate to in a contemporary YA novel. Lexi's family is all sorts of weird. For one thing, her mom is a woman hell-bent on making her 7-year old daughter, Mac, into a tiny pageant queen. Her mom also has problems with overspending, she goes so far as to slap Lexi, to call her ugly, to constantly snub Lexi in favor or the adored child Mac, she steals $4,000 from Lexi, and she has a problem with overspending (which makes them constantly in debt) and with overeating, which is why she is grossly obese.
While I know genetics are partially responsible, I also know that she gained over a hundred pounds after Dad left. She stopped taking care of herself, and just kept eating. The only thing that would get her out of her rut was pageants.
Her mother is just so outrageous, she's the epitome of everything that one can caricature from a reality show, and I expect a little more realism from a book.
Taylor didn’t pay attention to me until I glammed up. But so what? I was a drab version of myself — why would he want to be with someone like that? It’s no wonder guys would never give me the time of day.
The trouble with Lexi is that her journey into looking better devolved into shallowness. We started off with Lexi KNOWING she is a good person, if only people would notice her beyond her fairly plain appearance. After she started making herself over, Lexi became a different person. She makes justifications when guys start noticing her, she starts feeling like she should have tried to be more beautiful all along.
“Well, what do you want me to do? Do you want me to show up in sweats and no makeup and see how he reacts? Did you ever think that maybe I like to dress up? That I like to wear makeup?”
To be honest, I don’t like to wear this much makeup.
She starts lying to herself and ignoring the completely pragmatic advice of her best friend, who's just well-meaning and giving her the big overall pressure. Telling her to not be so quick to rejoice that a boy who has never noticed her before suddenly sees her now that she's "glammed up."
“He never really paid much attention to you, and then you become a fancy version of yourself and suddenly you seem to matter. It’s a little insulting.”
She starts ignoring her best friend, Cam, she of the sage advice, for her new bf.
Cam agrees and, yet again, assures me that she’s okay. But I feel like I’ve let her down. I did the one pageant thing I swore I’d never do: Step on whoever to get to the top.
Because she doesn't like Cam's way of giving her the cold truth. Which makes it all the MORE baffling when Lexi starts getting pissy at Taylor and accusing him of liking her only for her looks when she was completely ok that he apparently noticed her improved appearance a few weeks ago.
“Oh, come on. You didn’t show any interest in me until I started dressing like all those Glamour Girls at school. Don’t pretend you care about anything but how I look.”
“Oh, so you realized that I was at the table.”
“Of course, I knew —”
He cuts me off. “What was that with Logan?”
I don’t know what to say. Of course I had to mess this up. Of course. I mean, yeah, for a split second I thought I was on a date with Logan, but what I did wasn’t fair to Taylor. I should’ve known better. He deserves better.
So Lexi got herself a new boyfriend after her glamorization. Taylor may be a jock, but he's a pretty awesome guy. He's nice, attentive, sweet. The only trouble is that Lexi is constantly dreaming of her crush, Logan, while she's with Taylor.
Logan has a girlfriend. Lexi now has a boyfriend in Taylor. She still has feelings for Logan.
I try to shake off the jealous feeling that’s overwhelming me. I thought that as Taylor and I got more serious I’d stop obsessing over Logan, but old habits (and delusional fantasies) die hard.
She never, ever stops thinking about Logan throughout the entire book, and shall I emphasize that she's still dating Taylor?
I don’t even know if I like Taylor. He’s gorgeous, so I’d be stupid not to. But because I’m pathetic, all I keep thinking about is Logan. I was hoping that once I had a real date with a real boy my Logan delusions would end, or at least subside.
And she can't stop comparing her fantasies of the Best Kiss Ever with Logan while Taylor's taken her out on a date and didn't try to make a move on her.
“Wait a second.” Benny snaps me back to reality. “So because he didn’t shove his tongue down your throat, you’re convinced that he’s not into you? Has the thought ever crossed your mind that he’s being a gentleman?”
So in conclusion, Lexi thinks she's an awful person for having feelings for two guys at the same time, one of whom is the sweetest guy ever.
“Oh, it’s … I think I’m an awful person.”
“What?” Benny and Cam ask in unison.
“Why can’t I get Logan out of my head?”
“Because you’re a glutton for punishment,” Benny says with a grin.
“I should be jumping for joy that I’m with somebody as amazing as Taylor, but now all I can think about is that Logan is going to be there. And that he might dance with me.”
And I would have to agree.
He's looking for some input on his writing, and he's a nice young gentleman. Unfortunately, I just don't have the time to do it, so if anyone's interested, please let me know.
The story is going to be a high fantasy involving a brother/sister with 3rd POV narrative, there will be blood, death, and court intrigues, so I've been told.
It was possible that Sahalia hadn’t realized she was pretty much sticking her butt in our faces. And maybe she hadn’t known just how sheer that shirt would get.
But it seemed to me she wanted us to see her body.
She wanted to be wanted.
Just by the weakness of the storyline and the nonexistent/unexplained setting alone and the extremely feminine and unconvincingly male narrator, this book is pretty fucking bad and best described as a "clusterfuck." When you add in slut shaming of a 13-year old girl, who almost gets raped because her would-be-rapist thought she was asking for it, that's when I fucking see red. But it's ok when the entire group, which has been slut-shaming her for her provocative dress for the entire fucking book suddenly tell her "it's not your fault you were almost raped." No, that's not forgivable. It doesn't justify drawing the poor girl as a character to be reviled for the entire fucking book. Fuck that shit.
There is so much female hate in this book. It is a survival scenario in which the competent females in the book are portrayed as maternal nurturers instead of people who can actually hold their own.
Josie was a natural.
Where Astrid had that kick-ass camp counselor thing, Josie was a mom. A sixteen-year-old, middle-aged mom.
The girls are meek. They do what they're told. It doesn't fucking matter if they're competent. A girl is going to be a babysitter while the boys take care of business.
“Alex, help Jake. Figure it out. Astrid, keep the little kids out of the way.”
“Don’t stick me with the kids,” she protested. “I’m just as strong as you guys are!”
“Just do what I say!” Niko hollered.
The girliest boy in the group, naturally, is relegated to the role of cook, no matter how atrocious he is at it. The leadership roles are taken over by those who happen to have an Y in their chromosome, no matter if they're jealous, drunk, high, or future rapists.
And then there's the slut shaming of the 13-year old girl, Sahalia.
Sahalia is a 13-going on 30-year old, who dresses like a "hooker."
She had on a giant pair of men’s overalls, cut off at the knee. Under them she was wearing very little. A lace bra and matching lace panties. You could see the bra through them because the sides of overalls are totally open. You could also see the lace cutting over her hip. You could almost see where it connected with the thong part in the back.
It doesn't matter if the entire world is collapsing.
Sahalia was wearing what I can best describe as a costume. A sexy carpenter costume. Maybe a sexy farmer.
Sahalia will always manage to find the skimpiest possible outfit to wear.
Now her behind is facing us, and they are short shorts she is wearing. So we can see … too much. We can see skin under the leg of her shorts. The creamy skin of her inner, inner thigh.
It was like a Sports Illustrated bikini-issue spread.
Sahalia has an attitude. She doesn't like authority until a guy yells at her and tells her what to do.
“I can carry a stupid sledgehammer,” she sassed.
“Well, go get it then!” Niko yelled.
She hurried to the hatch.
Other girls slut shame her because to them, Sahalia is a little slut who dresses the way she does so she can attract male attention.
“Enough!” Josie said. “We get it, okay? You’re sexy and you want to have sex with these guys. We get it. But, honey, it’s not going to happen because you are thirteen. Thir. Teen. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“I’m fourteen in less than an month,” Sahalia answered.
“Go and put some clothes on,” Josie commanded her, pushing her out of the aisle.
So it's just the final fucking straw that Sahalia almost gets raped, and her would-be rapist tries to blame her for it.
“She’s crazy, that girl,” Robbie said. “She kept talking about how none of you think she’s a grown-up but how she is, and she wanted to prove it to you, and honestly, I was trying to get her to put back her nightgown on when that other crazy girl came with the gun.”
In the end, Sahalia's group believes her and supports her, but that support feels entirely forced when the entire fucking book, they've been criticizing her behavior, her dress, her desperation, and her rampant flirtation.
Fuck that shit.
Now for the actual plot. It's fucking horrible. This book is a YA novel with characters straight out of a Middle Grade book, and that's actually an insult to Middle Grade books because of how fucking poorly-drawn, clichéd, and one-dimensional the characters are.
The Premise: Let's take all the fucking apocalyptic scenarios in the entire fucking world and throw them together. An earthquake? Sure! A foreshock, even!
And here’s the hilarious part—it was a FORESHOCK. Apparently, that’s what happens when you’re about to experience an 8.2. It’s an earthquake so big it sends messengers ahead.
A volcano?! Yeah! A superfuckingvolcano that would make Mt. Krakatoa tremble (no pun intended).
The western face of the entire island had exploded with the eruption of the volcano. Five hundred billion tons of rock and lava had avalanched into the ocean.
Five hundred billion tons! How the fuck did they measure that, I wonder?
A tsunami? You got it!
The explosion had created a “megatsunami.”
A wave a half a mile tall.
Moving at six hundred miles per hour.
A chemical mushroom cloud? Sure, why not!
We have breaking news. There are reports coming in of a leak. A chemical leak. Chemical warfare compounds.
And while we're at it, let's just throw in some pseudo-science paranormal shit, too.
“The compounds attack based on blood type. People with blood type A will develop severe blisters on all exposed skin. After prolonged exposure, the internal organs will begin to hemorrhage, leading to organ failure and death.”
“People who have type AB blood suffer from paranoid delusions and possible hallucinations.”
“There is confusion as to the effects on people with type B blood. It is possible they will suffer from long-term reproductive difficulties and sterility. But there is hope that people with type B blood suffer no consequences from exposure.”
“People with type O blood, which is the most common blood type, will become deranged and violent. Avoid these people at all costs. Containing them in a closet or basement is advised, if possible.”
What the fuck is this? That's just...not plausible at all. Blood types have played a minor role in disease, but it's mostly concerning diseases like malaria and dengue fever...it's not that far in the future. Concerning all the clusterfuck of disasters that have been thrown at us, this seems to be too much of a stretch.
The entire premise is pretty unbelievable, too. It's 2024. Some years in the future. I know we can't prevent volcanic explosions, or earthquakes, but wouldn't we have an inclination if such a massively disastrous event would be happening? In this book, it all happened out of the blue, and everyone is shocked. The background is completely unexplained, and for some reason the government runs the internet airwaves. We have enough trouble getting people to use Microsoft and Apple Cloud technologies, and enough trouble getting all the internet providers to participate. The idea of a state-run internet is completely absurd, so close to the present.
Super Wal-Mart: The kids are trapped in the book's equivalent of a Super Wal-Mart, which is a store in which you can buy baby diapers, drugs, clothing, guns, and tractor parts all in one store. It's massive. It's the size of a football stadium, and really, a bunch of kids can live there in years if electricity holds up. And that's the problem, the power seems to work. The store has everything, and the kids are just a bunch of stupid brats running around inside a store, arguing with each other, getting drunk, and holding largely pointless elections.
“Guys, I am the QB,” he said. “That means quarterback! The quarterback is the guy on the team who calls the shots and makes sure everyone plays their best. And I’m gonna be a great QB for this team. Us. That’s why you should elect me the leader!”
Lord of the Flies, this ain't. It's such a juvenile story, slapdashed together, without a sense of urgency and danger, despite the millions and billions of death happening outside.
There is hardly any mourning for the dead, hardly any thoughts to parents and siblings and dead loved ones, or maybe living loved ones who may be suffering. The narrator is only focused on the present, and the present involves romance and sex, the apocalypse is just a convenient event to get close to a crush.
The Characters: Oh, the fucking tropes. The main character is a guy, Dean, but nicknamed "Geraldine" by his bullies. I can see why they did, Dean is one of the most unconvinging male narrators I've ever read, I mean what kind of teenaged boy worries about a CNN reporter's makeup when she's reporting about a volcano destroying the world?
Her eye makeup was all smeared around her eyes and I wondered why nobody fixed her makeup. It was CNN, for God’s sake.
There's the jock, Jake. The All-American girl and object of desire, Astrid, bad-boy jock Brayden, boy-scout and survivalist, Niko.
They hunted for their own food and had no electricity and used wild mushrooms for toilet paper. That kind of thing. People called Niko “Brave Hunter Man
The whore, Saharia, the Sainted-Mary Josie, the dull as hell "good guy" main character, Dean, his all-book-smarts and no common sense little brother, Alex, and a bunch of the most unbelievable, annoying little grade school fuckers that I've ever met. I've never been a fan of children in survival scenarios, and this book is no exception.
There's the 7-year old evangelist, Batista, who never, ever stops preaching the word of God.
I had already overheard him reprimand Brayden for cursing (“Taking the Lord’s name in vain is a sin!”), tattle on Chloe for pushing Ulysses (“Shoving is a sin!”), and inform the other little kids that not saying grace before eating was a sin (“Before we eat, God wants us sinners to give thanks!”).
5-year old Chloe, who never fucking stops whining.
“Turn it to Tabi-Teens,” Chloe whined. “This is bo-ring!”
“Put it to Tabi-Teens!” Chloe demanded. “Or Traindawgs or something!”
And 5-year old Max, that fucking Max can recite passages from any fucking conversation he's overheard.
“My mom once took me in the ladies’ room,” Max volunteered. “And there was this lady in there crying and she had a ice cube and she was rubbing it on her eye and she said, ‘If Harry hits me one more time, I don’t know what I’ll do,’ and then this other lady came out of a stall and she said, ‘If Harry hits you one more time, you give him the end of this to suck on!’ And she puts a real, actual gun down on the sink. Made of metal, I am not even kidding. And then my momma turns to me and goes, ‘Tell your daddy to bring you to the men’s room.’”
“Oh man, getting laid is so awesome,” Jake said, scratching his head. “It’s just absolutely the best thing ever. Once you get it, all you can think of is getting it again. Sometimes I’m having sex and I’m worried about the next time I’m gonna have sex!”
“You’ll get there, in time, Dean. You’ll discover for yourself the beautiful, beautiful world of the hot little clam.”
This book reads like a Middle Grade novel, which is why it's so fucking weird when all the sexual contents start popping up. There's the episode when Sahalia almost got raped. There's the incident where Astrid takes her top off for a boy. There's all the sexual discussions that would be laughable if it weren't so out of place. And then there's Dean's FEEEEEEEEEELINGS for Astrid. The perfect Astrid. His observations about her are so obsessive and feminine it's like nothing but Astrid exists. Apocalypse? Whatever. Astrid. Kids are freaking out because they were just involved in a bus accident? Astrid's hair!
Astrid looked beautiful talking to them, hearing about their favorite kinds of pizza, with the wind picking up the tendrils of her hair and bringing a flush to her cheeks.
He dreams about Astrid in his darkest moments.
What I wanted was Astrid. She looked so good to me I wanted to take her, in a dark and terrible way.
He stalked her and watches her while she undressed.
Astrid’s body was so beautiful my throat closed up.
So smooth and wonderful and soft. She looked so soft. A sculpture of some Greek goddess awoken from cold stone into warm pulsing life.
As I watched, Astrid slid the straps of her bra onto her shoulders and fitted the lacy cups around her breasts.
My whole body was on fire for Astrid.
She's hurt? Doesn't matter! Still beautiful!
And there she was. So beautiful, laid out on my knees. She had her eyes closed, and for a moment, I just looked at her. Dirty face. Lips drawn together, chapped and rosy. Eyes red rimmed. The rise of her cheekbones. Eyebrows and lashes golden honey–colored. Some brown, dried freckle-dots that could be blood on her jawline.
*gag* You expect me to LIKE a main character who stalks his crush, who watches her undressing without her knowledge, who gives little thought to anyone BUT the beauteous Astrid as the world explodes in flames?
Fuck this book.
On the Offshore Lights you can live any story you want to tell yourself, and no one will say you’re wrong: not the seagulls, not the prisms, not the wind.
So Isabel floats further and further into her world of divine benevolence, where prayers are answered, where babies arrive by the will of God and the working of currents.
There's this married couple, their names are Tom and Isabel. For the purposes of this review, Tom = Doormat and Isabel = Batshit Crazy but we'll shorten it to Batshit. It's 1926 Australia, we're on a rock (it's actually called Janus Rock) in the ocean in the middle of nowhere, and considering we're in Australia, it's even middle-of-nowhere-er.
Doormat is a lighthouse keeper. He records the motion of the ocean, the way of the waves, the bodies that wash ashore, and all of that. Well, not so much the bodies that wash ashore, because that happens just once, and apparently, once is one time too many because that didn't turn out well at all.
The day when a man dies and is washed ashore is called "the day of the miracle." Hoooooo-kay. Whatever you call it, Batshit.
Ok, here's the situation. One day a dead body washes ashore. Along with it is a wee lil baby, a living baby. Batshit is a woman who desperately wants a child. She has suffered from multiple stillbirths and is grieving and is going slowly mad because of it. A long time ago, she was a woman who had a lot of joy and happiness in her. It was what attracted Doormat to Batshit in the first place.
...he wondered what other secrets lay behind her playful smile.
8 years later, we know what secret lies behind that "playful smile." Pure, unadulterated lunacy.
Batshit wants a child. A baby washes ashore! Huzzah! It's a miracle! Only, the baby's not theirs to keep. Sure, it's 1926. And sure, it's Australia, the wild land populated by criminals and kangaroos and wombats (or maybe that's New Zealand?), and people who speak really, really strangely.
“Izzy,” Tom called. “Izzy, wait! Don’t do your ’nana, love. He’s not…” But she was already too far off to hear the rest of his words.
“She…” Tom considered whether to explain. “She got the wrong end of the stick about it. Sorry. She’s chucked a wobbly. Once she does that, all you can do is batten down the hatches and wait for it to pass. Means I’ll be making sandwiches for lunch, I’m afraid.”
But in this lawless land, in this lawless time, there are still regulations and shit to be followed. That's why Tom's there, working as the lighthouse keeper. So when a dead man and a living baby washes ashore, Tom's got a whole lot of fucking paperwork to fill out.
“It’s all got to go in the log, pet. You know I’ve got to report everything straightaway,” Tom said, for his duties included noting every significant event at or near the light station, from passing ships and weather, to problems with the apparatus.
Only he doesn't. Because his beloved Batshit insists on keeping the baby, for just a little bit longer, the way a 4-year old child says "Please, daddy, I'll go to bed in just 5 minutes!" It ain't gonna happen. It's never going to be just five fucking minutes, and Batshit isn't just planning to keep the poor half-dead baby just oooooooooone more day. Despite what Doormat tells her, against all fucking common sense to just, you know turn the baby in to proper authorities, Batshit doesn't fucking listen.
“Then the baby’s probably got a mother waiting for it somewhere onshore, tearing her hair out. How would you feel if it was yours?”
“You saw the cardigan. The mother must have fallen out of the boat and drowned.”
“Sweetheart, we don’t have any idea about the mother. Or about who the man was.”
“It’s the most likely explanation, isn’t it? Infants don’t just wander off from their parents.”
“Izzy, anything’s possible. We just don’t know.”
“When did you ever hear of a tiny baby setting off in a boat without its mother?” She held the child a fraction closer.
-_- Oh, logic, you really fucking got it, eh, Batshit? Sure, the baby's mother isn't there. She must be dead. Somehow. Her body must be on the bottom of the ocean floor. The baby can't POSSIBLY have another relative on land.
Makes perfect fucking sense. To someone who belongs in Bedlam asylum (not to be mistaken for Arkham asylum. This isn't Batman) Do they have a Bedlam franchise in Australia?
Poor Doormat's got a crisis of conscience. He wants to do the right thing, but he's just so fucking in love with Batshit that he gives in. Totally whipped.
“I suppose, at a pinch…” he conceded, the words coming with great difficulty, “I could—leave the signal until the morning. First thing, though. As soon as the light’s out.”
Yeah, so they wait one day to turn the baby in. And the next thing you know Batshit's breast-feeding the baby! Well, that escalated quickly!
“Oh, little sweetheart,” she murmured, and slowly unbuttoned her blouse. Seconds later, the child had latched on fast, sucking contentedly, though only a few drops of milk came.
They had been like that for a good while when Tom entered the kitchen. “How’s the—” He stopped in mid-sentence, arrested at the sight.
Isabel looked up at him, her face a mixture of innocence and guilt. “It was the only way I could get her to settle.”
“But… Well…” Alarmed, Tom couldn’t even frame his questions.
“She was desperate. Wouldn’t take the bottle…”
“But—but she took it earlier, I saw her…”
Uh, ok. So the baby can bottle feed, it's just more convenient to breastfeed her. -____________-;
And then next thing you know, the baby's got a name.
“We need to welcome Lucy, and say a prayer for her poor father.”
“If that’s who he was,” said Tom. “And Lucy?”
“Well she needs a name. Lucy means ‘light,’ so it’s perfect, isn’t it?”
Seriously, what the fuck? Now all thought of turning the baby in to the authorities is out the window, because how the fuck is poor Doormat going to explain the fact that they kept the baby for weeks, gave her a name, breastfed her, didn't notify the authorities right away, and didn't notify the authorities that they found a dead body that might be her father. Clearly, they're in some deep fucking doodoo.
And Batshit is there in her little land of happiness, contented with the fact that she has her wewy own baby! Let's just forget about the fact that the baby may or may not still have a mother or a relative. Let's just throw out all reason out the window.
“Izzy, Izzy! You know I’d do anything for you, darl, but—whoever that man is and whatever he’s done, he deserves to be dealt with properly. And lawfully, for that matter. What if the mother’s not dead, and he’s got a wife fretting, waiting for them both?”
“What woman would let her baby out of her sight? Face it, Tom: she must have drowned.”
What woman would let her baby out of her sight? Maybe a desperate one? Maybe one who gave her to a nanny while she was away? Guh!
So there they live, in blissful happy ostrich-in-the-sand-land for several years. Until they realize that, well, shit the baby's mother might be alive. And she ain't a bad person, or a despicable person.
“Funny how lives turn out, isn’t it? Born to more money than you can shake a stick at; went all the way to Sydney University to get a degree in something or other; married the love of her life—and you see her now sometimes, wandering about, like she’s got no home to go to.”
So as it turned out, the baby's mother is alive and breathing. And wealthy. And scared, and lost, and lonely, because she's lost her husband AND her child. Poor Hannah may be rich, but she's had to fight for her love. She fought to marry a German, and this was pretty bad, considering this is post-WWI. Her father disinherited her, she had to work menial labor, she had to suffer a lot to marry the love of her life. And now her husband may be dead somewhere, she doesn't know (because Batshit and Doormat never reported the dead body) and her daughter may be dead somewhere, she doesn't know (because Batshit and Doormat never reported FINDING A FUCKING BABY).
So Hannah is now searching for her husband and daughter. She is wealthy because her father has accepted her again. If Batshit and Doormat returned the baby (Lucy) (who's more like a small child by now), Lucy will have a happy life with a loving mother, a loving aunt, and a doting grandfather, not to mention she'll be rich as fuck. Settled for life, yo. The natural thing, the good thing to do would be to give Lucy that future.
But of course, they're not called Doormat and Batshit by me for nothing.
So there's poor Hannah. In mourning. Desolate. Childless.
And here's how Batshit reacts to that.
“Hannah had a terrible tragedy a few years ago. Family lost at sea—her husband, and a daughter who would have been about your girl’s age by now. She’s always asking that sort of thing. Seeing little ones sets her off.”
“Dreadful,” Isabel managed to mutter.
Understatement of the fucking century.
The Romance: There is no romance in this book. It is a love borne out of madness and obsession. It is a love that is full of mindless devotion on Doormat's part, with pure emotional manipulation on Batshit's part.
“How can you be so hard-hearted? All you care about is your rules and your ships and your bloody light.” These were accusations Tom had heard before, when, wild with grief after her miscarriages, Isabel had let loose her rage against the only person there—the man who continued to do his duty, who comforted her as best he could, but kept his own grieving to himself.
Doormat's mad devotion to his wife will eventually be his own downfall, and as we will learn towards the climax of the book, that love is truly a one-way street.
Overall: This book didn't convince me of anything. There were morality issues that failed to send any sort of message besides that of "crazy woman is crazy," "life sucks," and "men need to grow some balls." I didn't like any of the main characters, I ended up being sympathetic to Hannah aka poor mom who lost the kid, which made it all the more frustrating when crazy woman is constantly shoved in our face.
Maybe I'm not supposed to like the main characters, but why the hell should I bother to read a book if everything about it frustrates me?
“Sweet,” I said, astounded at my acting skills. I should’ve gone to Hollywood when I had the chance, but when that old man offered to take me that one time at an abandoned gas station in the middle of nowhere, I wasn’t sure I could trust him. Mostly because he had rope, duct tape, and lots of condoms in his backseat. Still, I’ll never know what could have come of it. How far I could have risen.
There are two types of people in the world. Those who hate Charley Davidson, and those who will love her no matter what.
I'm in the latter camp. So take my 4 star with a grain of salt. If you didn't love Charley, you're going to hate this book. If you loved Charley, come on over. There's a lovely little circle of us around a Satanic bonfire, and we have marshmallows, pointy sticks, and Hershey's, because the only time Hershey's chocolate is worth eating is when it's in a S'more. You're free to use the sticks however you so choose. But I digress.
It's like a parent with their fantastically stupid child who they think is the most smartest wittle Einstein in the whole fucking world. Said parents will coo at that idiotic child and say "Ooh, isn't my darwing wittle pooh bear so adowable?! Isn't she?! Isn't she?!" as the idiotic brat is cramming a small Lego up her fucking nose while you're standing by looking on nodding and thinking "One day, my child, you will be blessedly removed from our fucking gene pool. Wait for it."
With Charley Davidson, I'm kind of like that parent. No matter what kind of idiocy comes out of her mouth, no matter how stupid she is, no matter how inappropriately snarky she is, I will still think Charley Davidson is the shit. If she bit off a wee little bunny's head in front of me and then bared her teeth in a bloody grin, I'd stare in shock for a moment, and then stammer out "Well...maybe that bunny was asking for it," and I'm neither a fan of victim blaming nor a bunny hater. Quite the opposite.
I loved this book because I love Charley, but I have to admit that it's one of the weaker ones in the series.
The Plot: It goes all over the damn place. If you want a straight, linear plot, you're not going to find it here. If you haven't read Charley before, don't even think about touching this book because you're not gonna understand a single fucking thing. It'll be like an insider's joke where everyone is laughing at you (not with you).
Charley is a private investigator, albeit a paranormal one. In this book, she's...
- Got an anonymous naked ghost in her car. It's a little hard not to look at his penis because hello, the dude's naked (and old. Not cool.)
The poor guy needed to be done with whatever it was he’d left unfinished. I couldn’t have him running around naked forever. It just seemed wrong.
“I’m having a hard time not looking at your penis.”
- Got a dead Chinese man in her bedroom, and although that wouldn't ordinarily be a problem (I dated a few Chinese guys myself), this one is dead, he's been in her room for as long as she's been there, and now...there's just something off about him.
- Got a client who's sold his soul to the Devil. Literally.
- Probably going to have said Devil as a father-in-law one day, considering her lover and "night-fiancé" Reyes is the son of the devil. Or the spawn of his flesh. More the latter, really. Who knew the Devil didn't like traditional procreation?!
- Had some random ass guys show up in her bedroom in the middle of the night and they're not surprise strippers
- Found out that her man may or may not have a sibling. Oh, hell!
- Trying to deal with an evil stepmother and a dad who's dealing with cancer slash midlife crisis. What else would you call running away to sail off into the Atlantic. With cancer (ok, fine, in remission). Clearly crazy runs in the family.
- Lost roughly $17 million in a card game. Fine, more like $1.7K. It's just a few zeroes off.
- She's trying to hook up her best friend and her uncle, both of whom are making googly eyes at each other, and both are too shy to make a move.
- Trying to prevent a couple of teenagers from doing the Romeo and Juliet thing.
So you can see why this book isn't for everyone. I have to admit, I have the attention span of a peanut. Sometimes a book delivers a million storylines, and I absolutely hate it. Sometimes a book like this happens, and I love it, because I love the character, because I find the situations interesting. Your mileage may vary.
“I tend to forget how beautifully your plans work when each and every one goes awry, including the one that left you stranded on a deserted bridge with a man who had every intention of burning you alive.”
Ok, so Charley kind of has a bit of a hero complex. And I mean "a bit" in the sense that running headfirst into a metal pole is "a bit" painful. She's snarky, she's irreverant, sure. She's also got this overwhelming sense of stupidity that makes her want to rescue every stray soul out there in need of help. Whether it's matchmaking her best friend/receptionist to her uncle, or saving an errant soul from eternal nudity, to playing card games with a demon...she'll do anything necessary.
My heart broke all too often. Even when people passed through me who’d gotten past their hardships, their heart-wrenching pain, and had lived long, full lives, seeing that part of them still cut me to pieces. So, maybe all this time I’d been hanging with Mr. Wong, I was really putting off the inevitable, the truth, not for his benefit, but for my own.
Charley is often too sympathetic (and often empathetic) for her own good.
And she's often got a sense of humor that's hilarious to those who love her...but can seem overly forced to those who don't.
I dialed her number. Got her voice mail. Waited for the beep. Then I did my best creepy kidnapper voice. “This is a ransom demand,” I said, my voice raspy. Kidnapper-y. “Deliver one hundred boxes of Cheez-Its to the unmarked—ignore the license plate—cherry red Jeep Wrangler sitting in your parking lot by noon today, or you will suffer the consequences.” I paused to cough. Raspy was hard on the esophagus. “They will be dire.”
“I’m not stupid,” I said, growing tired of his questioning everything I did. “I do use common sense.”
“You have to have common sense to use it.”
I stiffened. He did not just say that. “You did not just say that.”
“When it comes to humans, Dutch, you are blind. You do things for them that no other person alive would do.
I don't like asshole alpha males, and one could argue that the Son of the Devil, Reyes Farrow, is an asshole alpha male, but in this book, he is entirely tamed. He wears an apron, he works as a waiter, he adores Charley despite her obvious idiocy. This wolf is now a puppy. A really hot puppy, but a puppy, nevertheless, and it's often frustrating to me that Charley leaves him hanging...
“When are you going to answer him?” Cookie asked, drawing my attention.
“When he deserves an answer,” I volleyed.
I can't even blame little 12-year old Amber for her crush.
A hopeless sigh slid through Cookie’s lips as she finally looked at him. “You’ve set the bar too high now. No one will live up to—” She gestured to all of him. “—all of that. You’ve ruined my daughter.”
I can’t lose Annie because I wanted to dance and kiss James. How could I have been so stupid and selfish? Everything was already screwed up; we were already in trouble. I can’t believe I did this. I did this. Again. How many times will Annie have to see her own death because of me?
So there are these two stupid sisters, I want to call them Dumb and Dumber, but for the purposes of this book, they're named Annabelle (Annie) and Sofia (Fia). At the beginning of the story, we know that Fia is an assassin, a 17-year old assassin. A really pretty, skinny, girl-next-door-wholesome, charming assassin who's given a task to kill someone, a boy named Adam. Supposedly she's been a killer before, it doesn't matter because as soon as we meet her, the first paragraph of the book tells us that she's a motherfucking moron who can't kill anything if it has big, soulful motherfucking eyes.
Fia has to kill this dude. There are people holding her beloved sister, Annie, hostage. If she doesn't kill this guy whom she's never known before, whom she's never met before, they're gonna probably kill or hurt her sister (who's blind, and by implication, pretty helpless).
So what does Fia do? She doesn't fucking kill the guy.
I know I won’t be able to kill him.
Because he motherfucking helped a puppy.
He’s still helping the puppy, untangling the leash from a tree outside the bar. And he’s not only setting it free, he’s talking to it.
He's setting the little puppy free from where its leash got tangled, and by doing so, Dumber, I mean, Fia, can't bring it in her cold steel assassin motherfucking heart to kill him. He's ruined her plans because he helped a motherfucking puppy. What in the actual fucking name of incompetent moronic idiocy is this shit? And need I remind you of what's going to happen if she doesn't kill him? Her sister is going to get fucking killed by the organization holding her hostage.
His long fingers deftly untwist and unwind and undo my entire day, my entire life. Because if he doesn’t die today, Annie will, and that is one death I cannot have on my conscience.
So in case I haven't made it clear, Annie is Fia's sister. She is blind. She is helpless. She will get killed if Fia doesn't do her job as an assassin and kill this henceforth unknown boy. And Fia is going to let her beloved 19-year old big sister, whom she has to protect, die because she can't bear to kill a boy who shows kindness to a motherfucking puppy.
She doesn't know the boy. She doesn't know who she is. She's never fucking met him before. He's a cute boy. It doesn't fucking matter. He could have been a serial killer. She doesn't know why she has to kill him, but he's her assignment. Ted Bundy was handsome, too, he was wholesome-looking, too.
And look where that got all his 30 victims.
That dumb dog has killed us all.
No, it hasn't. You've killed "us all," Fia. You had one fucking job, to kill that boy, and you couldn't do it because of a cute motherfucking dog.
So instead of doing her job and just making it simple, and you know, killing the guy, Fia ends up incapacitating some random thugs instead and saves mysterious boy, named Adam, a 19-year old "doctor," by which I think he means he's a Ph.D and not an actual doctor, because no doctor would be so incompetent and overdose their patient unless they graduated from a cut-rate medical school in Guatemala that would admit a student from an non-biological science major who spent her entire college career playing Worlf of Warcraft every night and cramming for her exams the hours before. Meaning they'd take me. No offense to actual Guatemalan doctors everywhere. I'm sure you guys are amazing compared to the "board certified plastic surgeons" working out of garages in Las Vegas who use motor engine lubricant/WD-40 for butt injections. I kid. I kid.
Not really. Anyways!
Despite the fact that fucking child-savant-19-year-old-"doctor" Adam fucking drugged her without her consent, Fia still trusts him. Because she's the most idiotic assassin in the history of YA literature with the exception of perhaps, Celaena Sardothien.
He shifts uncomfortably, eyes on the road. “I might have overdosed you. Just a little. I needed to think.”
Hmm. He drugged me. That’s interesting. I felt like I was safe with him. I still do.
Clearly, along with her inability to do her fucking job, Fia has to get her priorities straight. Here is a girl who's been raised in a psychic school who's been trained to be deadly for years, who's had her sister taken hostage, whose parents died under mysterious circumstances, who knows better than to trust anyone, suddenly fucking trusts a guy who:
1. She's been assigned to kill, obvious there has to be a reason if he's seen as a threat
2. DRUGS HER WITHOUT HER CONSENT
How fucking dumb is that?
So now she hasn't killed the boy, she's faked his death at the risk of having her sister killed because she can't complete her assignment, she lets him go, she TELLS him that she's been assigned to kill him, he believes her and they part with a hug, because it's just totally natural that she tell a guy that there's a hit on his head, that he has to abandon his family and friends and go into hiding, and she's going to pretend she's killed him. And now she's going to return to the agency and pretend that everything is normal, singing Justin Bieber while she goes.
I should be terrified. I should turn around and go anywhere else. I should curl up in a ball and cry. Instead, I think about everything in the whole entire world that makes me angry—there is a lot, oh, there is a lot—and I start singing Justin Bieber at the top of my lungs.
Clearly, she just needs somebody to love (I need somebody, I, I need somebody...).
I do like that song, by the way.
So Fia's angry. Really really angry. She takes out that anger by imagining killing people in her head (while believing that killing is wrong and hating herserlf because she kills. Yay! Hypocrisy!). She hates everyone, she hates everything. She dances.
And Fia—oh, Fia, you are so beautiful it makes my heart hurt—is in the middle of it all, slamming her body, moving and swaying and dancing to the beat in a way that no one else can. Her eyes are closed and her arm is raised.
“Drugs, drugs, drugs, I want some drugs,” I sing, dancing out of the bathroom and into my living room.
Crazy crazy. And I don’t care. I skip down the wide, empty hallway, singing at the top of my lungs. I know I’m not free yet, but I feel like I am.
There could be terrorists threatening her life, it doesn't really matter because if Fia dances and sings, they'll all go away. Dance dance. Sing. Sing. Sing.
So just forget about Adam now, really, forget about him. He's a projected love interest, but you're not gonna see him again for a long time. Because now we meet another love interest instead, handsome, powerful James. And cue love triangle.
Apparently, for all the sisterly love that Annie and Fia supposedly share, they hate each other pretty easily. Because right now (we're like, 1 hour from the Adam-rescuing-puppy event) Fia goes back to super secret special agency headquarter and finds out that Annie is the one who ordered the kill on Adam.
And instead of, like, actually ASKING Annie why she wanted to fucking kill Adam in the first place ---you know, trusting your beloved sister whom you've sworn to protect and all--- Fia gets all fucking upset that Annie sent her to kill. And now Fia feels that Annie has betrayed her because of a fucking boy whom she's known for all of a fucking hour.
How could she want him dead? Did she want me to do it? How could she set me up for that?
I don’t know her at all. All these years, all these things I’ve done, all these things I’ve become to keep her happy, to keep her safe. I don’t know her. I tap tap tap Annie’s betrayal onto my leg.
And instead of trusting her sister and telling her the reason (and it's a legit reason) why she wanted Adam dead: Hint: he's dangerous! Annie just keeps it all to herself and allows her sister to think that she's just a vindictive bitch who just wanted to kill a cute sad-eyed boy for fun.
Adam was a threat. A huge, massive, all-consuming threat.
“It was bigger than us. It is bigger than us. I wasn’t doing it for me. Or even for Fia. I was doing it so Fia wouldn’t happen to a thousand other girls.”
Such communication. What love. Much wow. Sisters much? This book was a mess. The ending. Fuck that ending. Why did I even read this book?
The Narrative: Drove me absolutely bonkers.
- Half the book are composed of flashbacks
- It is narrated from alternating POVs, Fia and Annie (and THEIR flashbacks! Yay!)
- Nothing fucking happens: seriously, after the beginning Adam excitement, nothing happens in this book. Why? Oh, right. BECAUSE HALF THE BOOK ARE FLASHBACKS.
- Stream-of-consciousness style narrative from Fia. And man, she is motherfucking annoying.
Some sort of accident.
Some sort of accident.
Some sort of accident.
Repetitions. Fia fucking loves them.
Something is wrong.
It’s wrong wrong wrong WRONG WRONG WRONG! I need to find Annie.
Did I mention she loves repetitions?
(Control, control, control. Control got Clarice killed.)
(Control didn’t get Clarice killed. I killed Clarice.)
Yep. She loves repetition.
Annie is safe.
Annie is safe. Annie is safe. Annie is safe. Annie is safe. Annie is safe. Annie is safe. Annie is safe. Annie is safe.Annie is safe. Annie is safe. Annie is safe. Annie is safe.
I GET THE FUCKING POINT.
The Anger: I like an angry heroine. I don't like a bratty one. Fia is angry, but her anger is the sort of the kind of tantrum that a 5-year old throws, and I just had enough of her bullshit. I absolutely hated her. I wanted to strangle her, or at least remove her voice box so she would just fucking shut up because I don't want to hear it. I know she has a lot to be upset about. I should have been able to empathize with her. I can't because she's so "WAH OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGMG SHUT UP YOU ARE ALL BITCHES AND I HATE YOU!!!!!!!!!!! DIIIIIIIIE!" all the fucking time.
Fia is crazy. She is fucking nuts. She's not the cold, sociopathic kind of crazy or the entertaining kind of crazy like Penryn's mother in Angelfall, but the sort that one day is going to turn into the scary bag lady in the corner, shouting at passersby, brandishing an umbrella, screaming "I'M COMING FOR YOU IN YOUR SLEEP, YOU LITTLE FUCKS." as concerned mothers cover their children's ears. It is batshit, annoying crazy, and I can't take it.
Sister, Sister: The love between sisters in this book is all telling and no showing. Oh, we know that Fia really loves her sister because she says so all the time. Except for the fact that practically every time she sees Annie, Fia's resenting her for getting her stuck in this situation in the first place. We know that Fia really loves Annie because she thinks that Annie's betraying her without giving her a chance to explain. We know that Annie and Fia love each other because they never. ever. fucking. communicate. with each other. Sharing emotions. Sharing your troubles. Sharing your stories. Leaning on each other for support? Is that too much to motherfucking ask? I just wanted the sister to show some genuine love for one another.
The Romance: Surprisingly little, despite the fucking insta-love. The book doesn't tie anything together. There are roughly 93889758934329 loose ends, and the romance is but one of them. There attempts to be a love triangle, and it's just completely laughable because it's so completely fucking pointless. The only person I liked in the book is the sadistic love interest, James. He was the only one with any sort of depth to his personality.
There was just no point to this book. Why did I even bother? Nothing ever got resolved.
I've got a troll over on GR. It's been forever since I've had one (yay!) but this one is an author, and it's getting out of hand.
She's gone around posting the same comment on multiple reviews.
DNF at 75 pages, because I just don't care. Skimmed the next hundred or so pages, and concluded that I made the right decision in DNFing.
This book was a complete waste of my time. It gave me a headache. Over a thousand people die? I just Do. Not. Care. This is a book that focuses on the delivery, and not the plot, and it disengaged with me from the very beginning. It is all telling, no showing.
This is what I can tell you from having read 75 pages of this book. That's roughly...16% of the book?.
- So far, I haven't personally met any of main characters involved in said plane crashes.
- So far, I feel no emotion for the plane crashes, and over 1,000 people died.
- So far, there has been a number of narrators, all of them unconnected personally, almost all of them are new characters. I don't know if they'll appear again or not. They are mostly faceless.
This is a book about an author writing a book about plane crashes which references other books. It features interviews, very unconvincing Skype chats, excerpts from books writteb from families and the personel involved.
That's too fucking meta for me. Sorry.
I can't stand the epistolary style, and I'm confused as hell. It's the same reason I couldn't get further than a few chapters of World War Z. Where the fuck are my main characters? There are so many characters that I can't keep them straight. There is no single narrator. Nearly every character in every single chapter is new. It's just me, of course, I need a main character. I like a traditional style of writing, and this book was not for me.
There's just no emotion, and that's rather sad. This book was published soon after the tragedy of the real-life Flight 370 that disappeared. Hypothetically, I should have felt something reading about the plane crashes in this book. Nope. Zip. Nada.
We read about the plane crashes from the people involved, the families of the survivors, of the deceased. The rescue personnel. I feel absolutely nothing for them. I don't care about them. I want my motherfucking mystery.
This is the book's structure: It is told through the POVs of fuck knows how many people. The first chapter in this book is the internal narrative of a shy, overweight, neurotic American woman.
Truth is, she hadn’t dared use one of the bathrooms at the airport. What if she found herself face to face with one of those futuristic toilets she’d read about in the guidebook and couldn’t figure out how to flush it? What if she accidentally locked herself inside a stall and missed her flight?
70+ pages later, we have yet to hear from her again.
The next chapter is presented to us as excerpts from a book. Complete with a "Note from the author" section telling us about the tragedy of January 12, 2012 and how she compiled this book.
I decided that if I was going to add my voice to the mix, the only way forward was to collate an objective account, letting those involved speak in their own words. To this end, I have drawn from a wide variety of sources, including Paul Craddock’s unfinished biography, Chiyoko Kamamoto’s collected messages, and interviews personally conducted by me during and immediately after the events in question.
The "author" of this book is not Sarah Lotz, it's a made-up author named Elspeth Martins.
The next few chapters are presented through the form of a Skype chat the likes of which I've never seen before, because the entire chapter is written in entire well-formatted, well-written paragraphs. Then there is the "book" written by a B-grade TV actor "guardian" of one of the child survivors (whom we've yet to meet, by the way) --- who likes talking about himself far too much.
I’m often asked, ‘Paul, why did you take on the full care of Jess? After all, you’re a successful actor, an artiste, a single man with an erratic schedule, are you really cut out to be a parent?’
I’d gone off the rails a bit in my mid-twenties after a severe professional disappointment. I was in the middle of filming the pilot for Bedside Manner, which was being dubbed as the UK’s next hot hospital drama, when I got the news they were cancelling the series. I’d won the part of the main character, Dr Malakai Bennett, a brilliant surgeon with Asperger’s syndrome, a morphine addiction and a tendency towards paranoia, and the cancellation hit me hard.
Do. Not. Care.
After skimming the book, I came upon some more gems...in particular, some terribly unconvincing chat transcripts between a popular Japanese gamer (Chiyoko and her boy toy otaku Ryu). Who uses way too many emoticons.
Who talks on 2-chan. I've never seen 2-chan so...competent. I've never seen 2-chan give such good advice. It's like it's not fucking 2-chan at all.
Get the weapons loaded.
Train that princess in your sights.
Locked and loaded, SIR!
First, we gotta help Orz get out of his room.
Orz. Some good advice:
1. Clean yrself up so that u look as presentable as possible. No bed hair or pimples.
2. Go to Uniqlo and get some good clothes nothing flashy.
3. Go and see The Princess.
4. Offer to buy her dinner.
5. At dinner, tell her how you feel.
That way, even if she cuts you off, you will have no regrets.
It might be the case that later on in the book, the plot comes together. I will actually know what's going on. The story will be compelling, the characters fabulously drawn. I don't care. I'm not hanging around to find out.
Actual rating: 4.5 stars and an unicorn.
“Kind of funny when you think about it, us believing we had to protect a dude from you,” Tall said. “In a few weeks we can all grab a cheeseburger together and laugh about this. A hot chick like you couldn’t possibly be a vampire. Seriously, though, you might want to cut down on the black garb.”
“Not that you were in any way ‘asking for it,’” Tall said. “A woman can wear whatever she chooses without fear of being mistaken for a fiendish bloodsucking nightwalker. But have you thought green? Green would look great with your eyes.”
Any book with a stalker unicorn and an alpha-female vampire with a sadistic streak is bound to be a fucking winner. This book is fa-bu-lous. *snaps fingers*
- A motherfucking sparkly twinkly stabbing stalker unicorn, HELLO?!
- A strong female vampire lead who slowly discovers her humanity (who's a master at power plays)
- A Mafia-like vampiric society
- A sweet love interest who's a decent human being, and a love triangle that doesn't hurt because it's not really much of one
- A hilarious portrayal of high school that points out the clichés within the cliques
- A tongue-in-cheek style of writing, chock full of deadpan humor (no pun intended)
- Actual female friendship! Hallelujah!
The unicorn stood between the dumpsters. He sparkled like a horse-shaped disco ball. His traditional spiral horn beamed like a toy light saber.
Pearl burst out laughing. “Seriously? A unicorn? Please.”
“Why are you here? Are you dumpster diving?” Pearl asked. “I can see how the horn would be useful in sorting through trash. But is that really appropriate behavior for a mythical creature? Shouldn’t you be eating honey and sunshine?”
Pearl is a vampire. She is merciless (and in The Family, she's got to be). She drinks blood, she's even got a favorite drink. His name's Brad. He works at the ice cream shop. He tastes best after he's bad mint ice cream.
“Shh,” she said. “Nearly dawn. No time for talking.” Snuggling against him, she continued to feed him ice cream. He swallowed mechanically, as if her proximity erased all brain function. Pearl pressed closer and pushed his straggly hair back away from his neck.
And then she extended her fangs and sank them into his jugular.
But all that was before she got stabbed by an unicorn. A motherfucking unicorn. They're not supposed to even exist! Naturally, nobody believes her. Her family (The Family) just laughs at her. Pearl's Family is like a vampire Mafia. Her mother is cold (as well as cold-blooded). Her father is a "businessman." But all in all, it's a fairly normal family...just a little deadlier than most. She's got a fussy aunt. She's got an idiot cousin. She's got a crazy uncle.
...his propensity to chew off birds’ heads was much more unsettling than the puckering on his cheeks.
But the family has more to worry about that the possible sighting of an unicorn, the King of the vampires is coming to town, and her family is their host. So yeah, bigger things to worry about here.
But then, weird things start happening...Pearl starts feeling empathy for her food (aka Brad the ice cream boy).
I should release him, she thought. Let the puppy run free.
Pearl shook her head. Where on earth had that thought come from? He wasn’t a puppy; he was a walking Happy Meal. Had she really just worried about how her snack felt? Seriously?
She sees her own reflection---and my fucking god...she can step into the sun without dying in a blaze of fire.
Colored light tinted her pale skin, and Pearl raised her arm and turned it over to watch the stained-glass light dance over her blue veins and bring hints of color into the whiteness, as if her skin were Formica.
Well, look at that, she thought. I’m a sparkly vampire.
The Family isn't too happy to find out about this, but there's the problem with The King coming to town. They have to provide the entertainment. They have to provide the food (aka HUMANS OM NOM NOM). And now their daughter, Pearl, can step into sunlight and not die a fiery death. Hm. HMMMMMMMMMMM. This may be useful.
“You want me to find the king’s dinner in daylight?” Pearl guessed.
“Precisely,” Mother said.
Daddy smiled. “We want you to attend high school.”
Because there's nothing more delicious than a schoolful of teenagers ^_^
So Pearl's going to go to high school for the first time in her life, huzzah! She already knows a couple of kids, too, there's sweet, friendly Bethany, and super nice guy with a hero complex, Evan.
He’d chosen a chair by the window. Sunlight streamed in, illuminating the dust to create distinct rays so it appeared as if he were highlighted by a halo of angelic light. If he’d been trying to stage it to catch her eye, he couldn’t have planned it better.
The school is...interesting, and for a vampire used to dominance and power play within the vampiric hierarchy...it's a piece of cake. There's your usual cliques, there's the Queen Bee...of whom Pearl isn't the least bit scared.
She watched as Ashlyn strode across the cafetorium with all the confidence of a vampire...and Pearl wondered if that was it, if it was the confidence that she radiated that was the source of her power.
If that’s all it takes, Pearl thought, then I’m going to rule this place.
Pearl is fucking awesome. She's got the strength. She's got the looks. She's got the swagger. She's got the confidence. Within the first day, she's insulted and upstaged an aggressive teacher, she's scratched Queen Bee's car, and Greenbridge High School doesn't know what hit it.
“Are you kidding?” Bethany said. “She’s, like, a hero!” With shining eyes, she turned to Pearl. “You are exactly what this school needs.”
“How convenient,” Pearl said, “since this school is exactly what I need.”
Everything would be perfect if she's starting to...feel things for the pesky fucking humans. Everything would be perfect if she weren't so busy that she doesn't have time to eat (drink, rather), or sleep. Everything would be perfect if SHE WEREN'T BEING STALKED BY A FUCKING UNICORN.
As the sun sank into the horizon, Pearl trudged home without having seen a single sparkly hoofprint or rainbowed poop pile. It wasn’t as if she’d expected unicorn wuz here graffiti...Okay, yes, that would have been nice.
Pearl's hunger soon gets the better of her...and in the midst of gaining control, Pearl makes a mistake. And now, it seems like her meals---aka, her human friends---are the only ones to whom she can turn.
Hating herself for what she was about to say, Pearl blurted out the words: “I need help.”
So softly that Pearl was certain she wasn’t meant to hear it, Evan whispered, “And lo, Hell freezes over.”
In the end, who will Pearl become? The bloodsucking, cold-hearted creature of vampire lore...or someone who's only too human?
She swallowed hard and tried to force the achy feeling to stop. No matter how lovely the words were, these people didn’t understand, and she couldn’t stay.
Staying could destroy her more thoroughly than a stake through the heart ever could.
Upstairs was the perfect suburban home: couches and TV in the living room, marble counters and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, and color-coordinated lacy bedrooms. Downstairs, hidden from human view, was a catacomb of tunnels and rooms that included sleeping chambers, training rooms, torture rooms, a few storage areas, and the treasury.
This is a modern US setting in which vampires exist unbeknownst to humans (and so do other supernatural creatures, like zombies, but they're rare. Unicorns, naturally, are just imaginary, duh!).
This vampiric society is dominated by powerful families, Pearl's family, the Sanges, are dominant in their region.
Their clan was rising in prominence. Daddy owned real estate throughout western Connecticut, including multiple businesses in Hartford, and Mother had a head for business that rivaled any CEO’s.
Her father is a "shark." Her mother is ruthless.
You didn’t sit down to tea with someone you were about to punish, but then she’d once seen Mother wait an entire week before slicing off the toe of a distant relative who had crossed into their territory without permission.
And their entire family, however eccentric some members, are to be feared. Of course, they're not without their sense of humor. Like family dinner nights, in which the food...is human.
Their dinner had been presented on a bed of lettuce. Carrots had been stuck in candelabras on either side of the boy’s torso, and his hands had been positioned to hold a decorative cabbage as if it were a bride’s bouquet. He wore a bellhop uniform.
Their society is dominated by power, power play, and mind games of dominance...which makes Pearl's personality so much more interesting.
Pearl didn’t want to adjust. She wanted humans to revert to being merely meals again. She wanted to stop pretending to fit in. She wanted to return to being the ordinary child she was born to be, not a special miracle charged with this impossible task.
I fucking loved Pearl. She has such a strong personality, without weakness as a vampire who sees humans purely as food, which makes her all the more realistic when she finally...due to the stupid unicorn...starts feeling emotions. Pearl is exceedingly intelligent, you don't get to be an idiot being raised in a family in which survival of the fittest is the motto, and therefore, Pearl is so, so tough and cold initially. She's been raised that way, and she can read people like a book. Which is how she knows to interpret the cliques and power structure at her high school.
Others around her nodded wisely, and a few laughed outright. Pearl realized what she was seeing: a shift in power. Ashlyn had shown weakness, and others were jockeying for her position. She wondered how malleable the social hierarchy was and how far Ashlyn would tumble.
Pearl is confident. She is strong, she is beautiful, she is powerful, and she knows it. When a girl threatens her relationship with Pearl's vampire boyfriend, Jadrien...well, Pearl knows how to stake her territory without saying a word (no pun intended).
...She elected to simply wait the girl out.
It didn’t take long.
Every time Jadrien swung Laurie, his eyes sought out Pearl. Every time he nuzzled her hair, he looked at Pearl. Every time he curled his lips and pulled her close, he watched only Pearl. After a few minutes Laurie noticed that Jadrien’s attention was fixed elsewhere.
And just that, the power structure is shifted. Pearl is so confident and strong in her identity, that I loved seeing her finally expose her vulnerability when she realizes that humans, unlike her vampire compatriots...are not going to stab her in the back. She doesn't have to constantly watch herserlf.
Pearl left the office feeling dazed. Mrs. Kerry at the front desk waved at her as she half walked and half stumbled back toward class. Glancing over her shoulder multiple times, she watched for an attack that never came.
“What’s wrong with me?” Pearl asked. How would she ever undo what she’d done?
Evan touched her shoulder. “Maybe it’s not that there’s something wrong with you,” he said. “Maybe there’s something finally right.”
There is a love triangle in this book, and it doesn't hurt. The romance is so light that it's barely there at all, in the context of an YA book. Pearl is "betrothed" but not formally, to a vampire boy named Jadrien. They have fun together, he is a smooth talker, they're not best friends. Jadrien and Pearl have a playful, flirtatious relationship, they train and fight together.
“Surrender?” she said.
“To you,” he said, “I surrender my heart and soul.”
She rolled her eyes. “Very romantic, considering you have neither.”
Their relationship---like most in the vampire community---is fraught with tension, power plays, and mind games.
“I’m tired of games, Jadrien,” she said. “I play them all night and now all day. But you know what?” She stepped closer to him. “If I have to play...I play to win. You should know that about me by now.”
And it's just Jadrien who will be her future until she meets Evan. The human boy who is unexpectedly kind. Who understands Pearl more than she expected.
“How about you?” she asked. “You seem to have everything under control. What are your issues?”
“At the moment just you.” His voice was serious. “I have a bit of a hero complex, you see, and you need saving.”
Their relationship is well-built, well-drawn. There is no insta-love. There is distrust in the beginning (he is food, after all). The romance is not overwhelming in the least.
Overall: Such a lovely book, the humor is spectacular. I had a blast reading it. There are imperfections in the book, but overall, I enjoyed it so much that nothing else mattered.
"My life’s sort of in danger. I should probably lie low.”
“You sound a little Kim Kardashian overdramatic, honey."
Don't let my rating fool you, this book is unbelievably bad, but sometimes, I just want a trashy book.
Everyone's cheating on everyone else. People are fucking like rabbits. Beloved cousin's husband? Doesn't matter. Engaged to an awesome oil billionaire and college sweetheart and THIS close to being married? Doesn't matter. Dad's friend? Doesn't matter. A 50-something screwing an underaged girl? Go for it. Sex tapes? Yep! Villains who sneak around with shifty eyes? Check! A family curse? It's there! Shadowy people lurking in corners? Got it! Secret babies and pregnancies? You bet! #whitegirlproblems? Fuck yeah! #richpeopleproblems? You got it!
So why do I like this book? Sometimes, I just don't want to think. This is bad and entertaining in the same vein as Passions or Gossip Girl or *shudders* Reign. Oh, I know how bad Reign on the CW is. I mean, it portrays 17th century France as some sort of medieval fantasy, in which the ladies in court wear prom dresses, and says "Fuck you" to historical accuracy. It's really fucking bad, and I watch it like I can watch a train wreck: in horrified fascination. This is that sort of book.
This book is trashy. It is brain candy. It is mental floss. There is no thinking involved whatsoever. I haven't read Pretty Little Liars but I know the premise, and to me, this book is an adult Pretty Little Liars mixed with Gossip Girl. It is so, so bad, trust me. Unless you are prepared to be amused by this book, you're not going to like it.
Did I say it's bad? It's bad. In case I forgot to mention it in the previous three paragraphs or something. I sometimes have a tendency to underemphasize things *snort*
They were the heiresses, all right, the sparkling princesses of a family that might or might not be doomed. But by Edith’s standards, they hadn’t been behaving like heiresses at all.
And it was only a matter of time before the world found out.
The Saybrooks are American royalty. Like the Kennedys, without the political empire, but with everything else besides that. All-American good looks. The money. The star power. The family curse. The notoriety that comes with it.
No one could get enough of the legendary American family that was so blessed with fortune and beauty, yet cursed with a string of mysterious sudden deaths.
There's Corinne, 27-year old businesswoman, engaged to Texan oil heir Dixon. Corinne, successful, but plain.
Corinne spent enough money on her looks, but her long forehead, square jaw, and thick eyebrows equated to something more handsome than pretty. Her shoulders were broad like her father’s, her chest small like her mother’s, her legs too thick and pale even after hours of Pilates, countless meals uneaten, and thousands spent on spray-tanning.
And not enough to win the love of her parents, who dote on her younger sister, 23-year old Aster, radiant with beauty, a wild socialite/party girl who's scared straight and forced to *gasp* work, when her parents get fed up of her wild ways.
“It’s time you got a job. I’ve talked to HR, and they’re finding an assistant position for you in one of the departments.”
“A job?” Aster sputtered.
Mason stood, the discussion clearly over. “You’ve got to grow up sometime, Aster. And that time is now.”
Rowan is their cousin, 32-year old brilliant lawyer, Rowan, who is beautiful, successful, intelligent...but who harbors a secret love.
She’d known James for nearly fifteen years, and she’d loved him every minute.
Which wouldn't be so bad, except James is married to her beloved cousin, beautiful 34-year old Poppy. Poppy, who has beautiful children, an adoring husband.
“Poppy has it all,” said Amelia, a little unkindly. “And we all kind of hate her.”
Poppy, who is the first to die. Murdered.
“I know I’m not the only one who’s had questions about Poppy’s death,” she said gravely. “I’ve brought you all here to tell you that Poppy didn’t commit suicide. She was murdered.”
And then there's 23-year old Natasha, a cousin who has turned her back on the family.
The fact that Natasha had recently disinherited herself was the subject of much speculation. Why would one of America’s heiresses give up her fortune?
Each of these cousins have their secrets. Corinne, though engaged, has a secret love who has recently emerged from the past. She has a scar that holds a terrible secret.
...her gaze drifted to the scar below her navel. It was something she rarely looked at, the sight of it still surprising after all these years.
Her sister Aster knows something that would destroy Corinne if she ever finds out.
What Corinne didn’t know was that Aster had protected her all these years. She’d preserved Corinne’s perfect little view of their family. Oh, there’d been plenty of times when Aster had almost blurted out what she knew, but something inside her had held back, knowing it would shatter her sister even more than it had shattered Aster.
Poppy might have been seeing someone behind her husband James' back.
James’s voice was suddenly sober. He placed his hands on his knees, a pained expression on his face. “Rowan...I think Poppy’s cheating on me.”
And James isn't exactly innocent, since he's been fucking Rowan behind his wife's back.
“He was at my apartment. In my bed. Are you happy now?” Rowan hid her face in her hands.
And Natasha? Why has she suddenly resurfaced after all these years. What kind of secrets is she holding?
After all that had just happened, all they’d just confessed and argued over, Natasha was texting? “Who are you talking to?” she snapped.
And then there's the gossip blog, The Beautiful and the Cursed, that has all the insider information on the cousins. Who's behind Gossip Girl The Beautiful and the Cursed?!
One heiress down, four to go.
Other Notes: This is the part where I usually do my analysis. I can't. There is no analysis. This book is so transparent, it's not even funny. There is no character development. There's roughly 193848457983475 characters to keep track of. The secrets aren't secrets at all, because a 2nd grader can guess what's going on. Everyone's fucking everyone else, so there's no point in even attempting a relationship analysis. It's so, so bad.
And I kind of enjoyed it. What can I say? #guiltyascharged
Sometimes, a person just needs some mindless entertainment.
I got bored, so I signed up for a dating site.
Needless to say, there are a whole lot of really weird people, like this dude, who insists on using an iPhone altered image of himself in a Robocop-type headgear thing.
And then there's this gentleman.
I’ll have to decide: join Romeo or let the specter of my soul take me. I know I should be afraid for my future, but all I can think about is Ben.
This book mocks the original Juliet's weakness, only to have the newly improved Juliet just as fucking dumb as the original.
So the original Shakespeare version, Juliet met Romeo, fell in love, and died for love within three days. In this retelling of Juliet's story, she still ran away with Romeo, and then said Romeo stabbed her and ate her like a zombie. Flesh and blood dripping from his mouth and everything. It was pretty neat.
Flash forward 700 years in which Juliet is older, wiser, more wary of the perils of insta-love? Fucking nope!
One would think a reimagined, powerful, supernatural Juliet would have learned a fucking lesson or two: nope!
This book was terrible. Here is why:
- A stupid, stupid main character who makes the same mistake as the original Juliet, made worse by the fact that she was KILLED the first time. She's ruled by her passions, there is no reason in her behavior.
- Insta-love, a love triangle between the new, improved zombie Romeo and new boy Ben Luna. Ben. Ben. GEE, I WONDER WHO BEN COULD BE?! It's not like he has a character with a similar name in Romeo and Juliet or anything!!!11
- Terrible side characters: basically, the stars of the book are Juliet and Ben. Nobody else need apply.
- Poor setting: The whole we're gonna give you renewed life so you can be play Cupid? No.
- Poor female characters: Her best friend, her "mother," both uncaring, cruel, callous bitches, depicted as inferior to Juliet (insta-love Juliet) in every way.
- The premise: weak as Ben and Juliet's insta-love. The idea of a love ambassador is pretty bloody and neat until you take into consideration the fact that it doesn't make any sense at all, and I'm not talking about the suspension of disbelief and the supernatural element. I'm talking about the fact that the reasoning behind the soul mate thing makes no fucking sense.
He turns and our eyes meet, and that sense of knowing him hits, catching me in my empty gut. For a moment, the sadness and pain in his eyes is my pain, and I desperately want to make it better. I want to reach for him, hold him, whisper into the warm crook of his neck that everything is going to be okay, that I’ll make it that way.
(Psst, that's the first time they meet)
Day 0.5 (because it takes place when the day's practically over): Juliet is awake! Well, kind of. This ain't Shakespeare's Juliet...well, she's the inspiration for it, but the Shakespearean version was a falsehood, told to the dude by the sneaky, conniving son of a bitch that's Romeo. The real Juliet died at age 14, in 1304 Verona. Killed by the man she loved. And now Romeo is kind of a zombie. He reincarnates from one life to another, living constantly on earth as an immortal Mercenary, whereas Juliet only gets to come back to earth once in awhile, as an Ambassador. Think of her as Cupid, she makes sure that a paid of true loves end up together, or else they will fall prey to the forces of darkness and one of them will die a horrible death like she did. At the hands of Romeo. Did I say that Romeo is a zombie? He's a total zombie.
...flesh in his teeth, blood dripping down his chin.
So now Juliet has been given an assignment, she's given the body of Ariel Dragland, a stunningly beautiful, extremely thin platinum-blonde high school outcast with self-esteem issues and mommy problems. Yeah, an outcast, because she's a little bit scarred from being burned as a child.
So here's Juliet/Ariel. On earth. Almost dead from a car accident, and OH CRAP THERE'S ROMEO, now in the body of a boy named Dylan. Juliet/Ariel runs like fuck, Romeo is chasing after her (he's a fast zombie), and OMG YAY A CAR. She runs into the car, and is struck down by insta-love. The rescuer is a high school boy named Ben Luna. The attraction is immediate.
I’m suddenly very aware of him, as well, of his front warming my back, his thighs shifting beneath mine. I clear my throat, blushing for the first time in so long the strangeness of hot cheeks makes me blink.
Ben is Mexican-American. He likes to uses randomly inserted Spanish words.
“Then this really isn’t your lucky night, chica."
I almost typed "Mexican words" for a moment before I caught myself. Lol. We all have our brain farts.
So crazy zombie Romeo/Dylan is after Ariel/Juliet. They go to the same high school. Hooray! Doesn't matter. What's important is BEN. BEN. She feels such...familiarity with him, she feels an intense longing for him, despite knowing Ben that night for all of 1 hour.She wants to kiss him as he drops her off.
I stay and let him come closer, closer, until I can feel the heat of his lips and imagine just how perfect they’ll feel, how perfect he’ll taste, how—
She can't stop thinking about him for the rest of the night.
I fist the damp wipe in my hand, reining in the part of me that aches for this boy with the big brown eyes.
I might feel an instant connection to Ben, but I don’t matter.
Famous last words.
Ben is Mexican.
"Dulces sueños, Mermaid.”
Day 2: So Juliet's still got a job to do, right? She's got to find the designated couple of soulmates and make them fall in love or else one of them will die a horrible horrible death. Nobody wants that, except for Romeo. Awesome. So where are they? As it turned out, one of the couple is Gemma, Juliet/Ariel's best friend since second grade. The one girl who has befriended Ariel despite the entire class neglecting and making fun of her. There's an aura over her head. Gemma is 1/2 of the soulmate.
And then I turn back to Gemma...lost in the rosy glow surrounding her chest.
And the other 1/2 of the soulmates?
Ben. Something in my gut twists and for a moment I’m dizzy, weightless, as if the floor has been ripped from beneath me, but I don’t know which way to fall.
Well, awesome! Best friend in love and designated to be soulmates with the guy who saved her the other night. What could be better? Well, for starters, JULIET CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT BEN.
I shake my head. This has to stop. I can’t go to pieces every time I see his face. I have to pull it together, be a good influence, make sure he commits to the love of his life and lives happily ever after.
But it doesn't. Juliet can't stop thinking about him. Romeo is on her ass. And Ben is still determined to prove to us that he's Mexican.
Ben laughs. “Dios mio. Fine, crazy woman.”
Day 3: GEMMA. THAT BITCH. SHE'S SO NOT WORTHY OF BEN. I'M NOT GOING TO GIVE HER TO BEN.
Gemma’s thoughtless at best, mean-spirited and selfish at worst, and I want so much better for Ben.
What?! Where the fuck did that come from?! Ok, so Juliet's in love with Ben. Romeo's still there declaring his undying (that was a zombie joke) love for Juliet if only she'd give him another chance. And Ben? After three (ok, 2.2?) days of knowing her, this is how he feels.
“I’m not doing this right, and I know I sound crazy, but...I love you. I could see myself loving you for a long time.”
Well, that escalated quickly. Three days. Three motherfucking days.
“I love you. I want to do everything with you. I want to marry you and have kids with you and get old with you. And then I want to die the day before you do, so I never have to live without you.”
NOOOOOOOOOOO. WHYYYYYYYYYYYY. Do your fucking job, Juliet. Need I remind you of what would happen if you don't unite the soulmates?
These two are my job, and if I don’t do it, one of them will die. Either they commit to each other or one of them commits murder and becomes a Mercenary. That’s the way it goes. Every. Single. Time.
Fuck you, Juliet, you stupid bitch. YOU HAD ONE JOB.
Ben is still Mexican.
“Dios mio,” Ben says.
How can I think of loving someone again? How have I let this happen? Even if it weren’t forbidden, haven’t I learned my lesson?
Apparently not. Juliet is a motherfucking moron. She's techniaclly over 700 years old, but she hasn't spent all that time on Earth.
I’ve seen centuries pass, but I died when I was fourteen and have spent less than twenty conscious years on earth.
20 years. That's a long time as an adult. Time spent being Cupid, making soulmates meet. She's been betrayed by love. She's seen the harm love can do. She knows the consequences of destined soulmates NOT falling in love, and she doesn't learn a motherfucking thing. She fell into insta-love with Romeo and elopes. He kills her. One would think she would know better not to fall into insta-love again. After THREE MOTHERFUCKING DAYS. She knows that the soulmates who aren't together will end up in a horrible death. SHE IGNORES THAT FOR HER OWN MOTHERFUCKING INSTA-LOVE. Gemma doesn't deserve him, says Juliet, the worst fucking Cupid ever.
Not only that, she's determined to destroy the only friendship thar her borrowed body, Ariel, has. Gemma is her only friend. Ariel suffers from crippling shyness. Ariel has no other friends. And yet Juliet as Ariel sees fit to steal away her best friend's soulmate.
She and Gemma are so different. It’s amazing they’ve stayed friends for as long as they have.
But they have, and it doesn’t matter what I think. I can’t let Ariel lose this friendship. I could be gone by the end of the day.
That would be such a fucking cute sentiment if Juliet didn't steal away Ben under poor Gemma's nose.
Oh my god, the love. THE LOVE. Juliet is so fucking purple-prosey-lovey-dovey. She can't contain her fucking emotions for Ben, a boy whom, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but SHE'S KNOWN HIM FOR LESS THAN THREE DAYS. By the end of day 2, she's ready to declare her love. It's pure insta-love. There is no emotion behind it. She feels the familiarity, the desire, that's it. One little word from him is like AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH MOTHERFUCKING CHERUBS SINGING FROM HEAVEN. Juliet is easily impressed.
Romeo might have praised my loveliness with lyrical poetry, but he never made me feel as beautiful as Ben did when he said four simple words.
You matter to me.
Puh-please. Is that all it takes to get her to drop her panties? Be a little better than that. Have more fucking depths than that. Am I to believe that Juliet is a motherfucking Immortal Warrior? Fucking no.
The Girl Hate:
"You’re the one who messed up when you got pregnant when you were nineteen."
Way to be a bitch to your own mother. Well, to Ariel's mother, but it's Ariel who's going to have to live with the consequences.
This book hates women. Juliet/Ariel's mother is a careless person. Unfeeling about her daughter's feelings. Terrible at showing her love, even if Juliet acknowledges that she does love her daughter.
She means that she cares, no matter how bad she is at showing it.
Her best friend Gemma, is also another careless person.
The hard light in Gemma’s eyes fades, and for a second I can see that she cares. Or that she wants to care.
So none of the female side characters in this book is cares at all. To be fair, none of the guys in this book are any good, either, but the female characters are prominent, and I hate the female hate in this book.
Gemma is a bitch. She doesn't deserve the angelic Ben.
Gemma is a vindictive, selfish, spoiled girl who doesn’t deserve Ariel and certainly doesn’t deserve Ben’s love.
Every attempt is made in this book to paint Gemma in a bad light, including making her the beautiful outcast rich girl, to making her a slutty character who plays around with boys like they were toys (and therefore deserves her heartbreak).
Ben! The Abusive Romantic!:
“He was only protecting her.”
“Like he was protecting you today?”
“Ye-es.” Something in her voice makes me certain my answer won’t satisfy her.
“Ariel … violent people usually have a good excuse for why they’re violent. But even a good excuse is just an excuse.”
Oh, I'm sorry, did I accidentally read a New Adult novel? Ben is violent. He's beaten up people before. He's gotten arrested for it. But it's ok, because Ben was doing it for the sake of other people. He only beats up the bad guys ~_~ Therefore his violence is TOTALLY justified.
Ben flirts with Juliet/Ariel while dating her best friend.
I would almost swear that Ben is flirting. With me. Right in front of his soul mate. Which is so bad that bad can’t even begin to describe it.
Uh, yah, you took the words right out of my mouth.
Ben, who speaks with the eloquence of a thousand John Mayers.
“I know you,” he says, with a quiet assurance that threatens to make my tears start all over again. “I know you’re strong and as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. I know you like to eat and hate Shakespeare—at least the love stories—and would do anything for a friend. I know you’re an artist, and you made a wall of bricks look like it should be hanging in a museum.
Ben, who is Mexican.
“Olvida la escuela,” he says, anger in his eyes.