Khanh the Killjoy


Solstice - P.J. Hoover Actual rating: 0.25 starsI didn't think it could be done, but apparently the impossible has been accomplished: I've found a book that's worse than The Goddess Test."What's that?" You say? "How is that even possible?!" You ask? The Goddess Test has random-ass Greek mythology that's probably 0.67% true to the original myths, a martyred Mary Sue of a can this book possibly be worse than that? Simple. I'll tell you how. With the addition of excruciatingly painful insta-love between not one guys, but two, and the inclusion of the most random dystopian setting ever. Oh, and a batshit crazy mom. At least Kate's mom was a sweetheart. I should have known when I read the summary. "An imaginative melding of mythology and dystopia." I really should have known better. Piper just displaced Kate on my trifecta of TSTL female characters.The book sounded decent enough when I decided to start it; they always sound deceptively benign. Initially I was just confused, not too unfamiliar a circumstance while reading an YA attempt at a dystopian world. The premise isn't too far of a stretch, in the near future, Earth is going through a Global Heating Crisis. The temperatures have been terribly high, and everyone's panicking and freaking out."Someone shouts, “we’re all gonna die,” and people start screaming and crying. The sirens are still blaring, and the thermometer on the wall reads ninety-two...Maybe this will be the end of the world."Ninety-two. Terrifying. The people living in Las Vegas are laughing at you right now. Actually, the temperature can reach as high as 120-ish. It all sounds terrible, until in real life I turn on the news and read that the Southwest area of the United States is going through a massive heat wave of ~130 degrees Fahrenheit. But I digress, because really, global warming is a serious, serious matter, although the way it is portrayed in this book makes it sound more comical than anything. The beginning pages is mostly about the panic that Piper's school and city is going through, and the oppression that she's suffering under her psycho-batshit protective mother, and it sounds decent enough until the insta-love begins, and doesn't stop for the rest of the book.I have never read a book in which the insta-love and the overdramatization of it is as bad as it is in this book. Trust me, I am not exaggerating. It is excruciating, it is embarrassing, it is even more unbelievable than it usually is, simply because Piper is such a fucking dramatic whiny moron. She doesn't fall into insta-love with one character, but two. This comprises the majority of the plot for the first 100 or so pages. If I had not read the summary of the book, I wouldn't have the slightest idea of what direction this book was trying to accomplish because for the good beginning of the book. There. Was. No. Plot. Other than Piper notices cute guys, two of them! They both fall in love with her! They're really cute! Her best friend likes one of the guys! Oh! The dilemma! OVERPROTECTIVE MOM SUDDENLY GOES AWAY! YIPPEE! TIME TO GO OUT ON DATES!!!!!!!!With Shayne: "When I walk into Social Sciences, there’s a new guy sitting right where I normally sit near the windows. His face turns to me, and his eyes are the first thing to catch my interest. They’re dark like chocolate and filled with shadows...He makes me think of mysteries and secrets...I stare at him because I have no idea how to respond. He’s looking into my soul and seeing my exact thoughts. It’s like he knows me. But I have no clue who he is."With Reese: "'We're perfect for each other. I knew it the day we met.' He points at me. 'You and me…we're the same. Misunderstood. We’re like soulmates.'"Keep in mind, these are quotes taken from right after she had met either of them. Looooooooooove. "'Nice tattoo.'Shayne is there outside the classroom. Waiting for me. I almost drop my backpack I’m so shocked by the sound of his voice. The way he says nice sounds like it holds a thousand different meanings, all of which I like. But the best part is he’s saying it to me."ARG! I have a permanent bruise on my forehead right now from banging it against the desk as I read this book. Piper is so, so DUMB. She can barely string together two coherent words, and these guys just fall for her. They see into her soul! They claim to be her soul mates! They say they love her! WITHIN THE FIRST 50 PAGES. She is also ridiculously dramatic. Any little thing is interpreted as love, or rejection. There is nothing but black and white. Reese drops her off at her house after their date and drives off abruptly...Piper's reaction?"I’m not two steps away from Reese’s car when it drives off. He’s left me, and now I stand alone in the darkness. I can’t help the tears that spring to my eyes. It’s like I’ve been dumped. He really left."WELL, NO SHIT. HE DROPPED YOU OFF. SERIOUSLY? SERIOUSLY, GIRL? Ok. Back to the Goddess Test comparisons.1. Randomized Greek mythology insertions. Hades is now Shayne. And he's terrifying. "His eyes light up, and sunshine bounces inside them, mixing with the red flecks, making them glow. They seem to pour out love. But not just love for me. Love for the people around him. Joy from the Elysian Fields." Excuse me, I feel the need to vomit.Ares is now Reese. And Piper...Pipersephone? Things are so ridiculously random in this book. The weird setting of dystopia, the oddness of the mythology, it's not so much mythology as the author saying, oh, ha ha, I think I feel like using the name Hades in my book somewhere, let's bend the mythology to make it fit my needs. At least in The Goddess Test there was an actual cast of characters and a plot surrounding the myth, even if the myth is not true to the original. It feels like the plot and all portions of it were randomly drawn from a hat here. There is no reason and rationality to anything in this book. Oh, and apparently the Elysian Fields looks like a Lisa Frank drawing."The Underworld is a rainbow of unadulterated color.Trees and bushes grow on rolling hills, and flowers of every size and color fill the spaces in between. Meadows of them—purples and yellows and even my favorite reds. Set underneath the tree tops are tree houses and hobbit holes and stone cottages."2. Martyrdom. If I had a penny for every time Piper blames herself for her friend's death, I could buy a Frappuccino. I wish I could reach into the book and use a giant mallet to whack some sense into her head. I've said it a million times in books of these sorts: unless you are a serial killer and you actively had a hand in someone's death, their death is not your fault. Get it into your fucking head. Then she gets upset because a certain bully isn't going to paradise. Even if he's been a jerk to her, for the entire time they've known each other, "He’d been taking care of his sister when he died, and if that isn’t something that deserves paradise, then I don’t know what is." Because she knows so much better than the god whose job is to judge souls as they die.