I absolutely love Spider-Man and was excited to hear there would be a YA retelling but not an actual origin story. I was the first to borrow this audio from my library and couldn’t wait to start. It started out strong but it quickly went downhill. I mean, full on tumble down the hill with no way to save it. I’ll explain why, but know I was very disappointed with what I read.
Short Recap: Miles Morales, a 16 year old boy from the Brooklyn, is Spider-Man. He tries very hard to be normal with normal teenage boy problems with school and girls. Things get really out of hand when Miles is suspended from school for acting up. He thinks his superpowers are on the fritz or on their way out. Can Miles figure out what is going on?
This story really had so much potential but I feel it felt so short. I’m almost struggling where to start as I have so many thoughts about what I read. Let’s start with the characters. I enjoyed the story starting out with a little of Miles’ background but it was not the entire origin story of how he got his powers. Enough info was given for me to know it is the same as previous stories/movies/comics. I was happy to hear that Miles was biracial and grew up with loving, attentive parents. He was taught to be good and his family struggled daily to keep him from a life of crime. That being said, I never felt like I got to know anything of substance about Miles. I knew he was smart, on scholarship to a fancy school, and was Spider-Man. That. Was. It. There was so little actual Spider-Man in the entire story. Reynolds could have taken all of that storyline out and this still could have read the same. It made Miles feel rather underdeveloped. Miles’ best friend, Ganke, felt annoying, as if he was there for comic relief and someone Miles could confide in. The second part should be the stronger part as Ganke knew Miles’ secret, but since that was not a large part of this story, it felt like he just tried to push Miles’ out of his comfort zone. I guess that could be a good thing but it made Ganke’s character come across as an annoying gnat.
Do not get me started on that weak ass villain either. What in the actual was that?! It felt like he was thrown in as an afterthought so Spider-Man would have someone to fight. Nothing was explained. I still don’t know who he was, why he was causing trouble, what his end goal was. Call me crazy but in order for me to believe the bad guy is a villain, I need to know these things. He felt thrown in and the battle scene between the two was rushed and underdeveloped. It made for a very unsatisfying ending, that’s for sure.
The writing style itself started out really strong. Reynolds can weave a story, I will not ever argue that, but this story as a whole read like a Middle Grade story. I would not have classified or categorized this as a YA because it certainly did not have that feel. The storyline felt weak and juvenile. Reynolds had a golden opportunity to explore some important issues but he never took that chance. He could have touched on racial and social struggles but that just did not happen. Instead he focused on a 16 year old boy who has a crush on a girl that smells like Sandalwood.
I have read other Reynolds’ stories and truly enjoyed the powerhouse that is his writing. This story just fell incredibly flat for me. I am thankful this was a quick read. It was easy to get through but it was not enjoyable. I feel Reynolds had the chance to make Miles a truly incredible complex superhero but it never happened. I held out hope but it never happened. What a disappointment and wasted opportunities.
Perkins is one of my all time favorite and instabuy authors. I will buy and read anything she puts out, including a horror novel after reading her gushy romance novels. Romance she can do, horror… not so much. It broke my heart to be disappointed by this story.
Short recap: There is a serial killer on the loose in the small Nebraska town and he has his sights set on the new girl in town, Makani. Can she and her friends figure out who the killer is in time to stop him before they are next?
Seems pretty awesome, right? A thriller set in small town America… what can go wrong? A lot, sadly, a lot went wrong. First things first… the characters. I had a very hard time connecting with any character. Makani was the protagonist but she’s closed off and guarded. Kind of hard to get to know a character when she’s is that standoffish. She read like an awkward, unvetted character. She didn’t feel fully developed, like a fish out of water. For the first 80% of the book she keeps referencing this “horrible thing” that happened while she was in Hawaii but obviously won’t actually say what happened. I was lead to believe it was something truly gruesome. She kept thinking things like, “I hope nobody found out what happened” and “Could he have found out what I’ve done”?Once she finally disclosed what happened, I sat my book down and laughed. It was not terrible or even remotely terrible. How and why she she carried that around the way she did was beyond me. I just could not fathom how Makani would have related that event in Hawaii to the serial killings that were happening in the small town she was staying in. The rest of the characters were not impressive. Makani had her trusted band of misfits but they didn’t stand out to me. I don’t think I remember anything about them. Oliver was Makani’s love interest and she spent a lot of time being gushy with him. He wasn’t memorable either, other than he had dyed pink hair. Whoopie.
The overall plot of the story felt weak and lacking. The way the killer was stalking his victims and taunting them made zero sense. Even why the victims were chosen was the weakest motive EVER. This just did not feel like a horror story. I felt no sense of urgency or need for the characters to fear for their life. This felt like a cheesy high school slasher flick that you have on for background noise while you’re cleaning house. It isn’t there for you to pay attention to it, it is there as a sort of white noise. I feel this story lacked some sort of depth, or any depth. There were just too many romancy-gushy-sexy time scenes for this to feel like a horror novel. It felt like a contemp story with a slight hint of terror… light on the terror though.
I will continue to read whatever Perkins writes but I really hope that if she writes horror again, it is vetted more. I believe true horror fans will be disappointed by this book, even thriller fans will be disappointed as this was neither. If you are looking for a slasher novel, give this a try but be prepared for Perkins’ trademark romance to be a big part.
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!
This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:
Wild Beauty by Anne-Marie McLemore
Love grows such strange things.
For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.
The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.
What a beautiful cover! That is what first drew me to this book. The second was the intriguing blurb. Have you heard of this one? Are you excited to read it?
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week I’m listing…
Books On My Fall TBR
Hunting Prince Dracula
All The Crooked Saints
A Poison Dark and Drowning
Brooding YA Hero
Girls Made of Snow and Glass
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
What books are on your Fall TBR? Maybe you’re catching up on some books you didn’t get to read over the summer? Do you have Spring 2018 ARCs ready to read? Let me know!
I have yet to figure out why I torture myself the way I do. I somewhat tolerated the first book but the second book, Etherworld, felt like I was being slowly bored to death.What a horrible way to go.
Short recap: Regan and her posse are on the hunt for answers to what happened to her father and what is really going on with the Elusion app that is about to hit the market worldwide.
Sounds like an exact repeat of book 1, does it not? Well, it is. I felt like so little actual headway was made in Elusion. The characters, as bland as they are, were heavily set up and backstoried in the first book but no real action or movement took place. I still never read a reason why this futuristic setting was the way that it is or what man did to make it become so toxic. I might be splitting hairs but I do like everything to line up properly to give me the full story.
Regan and her group of friends didn’t develop much, if at all, in the first book. So how am I to believe that they are some badass no fear having group in this book? Regan is still the smart but not too smart girl who just so happens to know what to do. Give me a break. Example: After coming out of Elusion and under suspension of having some sort of psychosis, Regan was rushed to the hospital for treatment. Quickly realizing that nobody would take her seriously, she tried messaging for help from a girl she hardly knows. She somehow figures out that she can send a message from a wall unit tablet and magically it will not be traced? And then she “quickly surveyed her surroundings” and knew exactly what to do to escape the exam room. She overtook a hospital employee and rushed out the door. She continues to fight her way downstairs to meet up with the person she randomly messaged. Mind you, she’s never been in this hospital before but she knew exactly what path to take, what turns to make, and just what to do to overtake trained security. You need to get away from me with that mess. Regan could barely walk a straight line in the first book and now she is taking down trained security? Men that are three times her size? Get out of here. The rest of this Scooby Doo group was written the same way. They all somehow just knew how to work together and each had hidden special skills that allowed them to complete their tasks. Sounds generic to me and like it’s just crazy enough to make it easy for the author to move the story along. This pretty much irritated the crap out of me. Don’t make it easy for the sake of moving the story along. I’d prefer to have something a wee bit more believable. Yes, I know this is a futuristic dystopia fantasy but I need to have some sort of believability. This story didn’t have that.
I felt like this book really let me down. I was hesitant with the first story but it hooked me enough to want to continue. This book? PFFFFT. Full on dumpster fire. The first book felt like a complicated puzzle that needed to be solved. This one? Nope. It was a massive technical jargon info dump. The first one third of the story really was nothing but technical double talk. I could barely understand what was being said and it made me feel stupid. I do not like being made to feel that way by a story. It make the entire plot unstable. First, we are given highly complex explanations of “proxy tunnels” that would be needed to destroy Elusion. Then we are given overly simplistic resolutions to issues – such as Regan needed to have a pass card made and BOOM!, a friend “knows a guy” who can make them. He didn’t make her any pass card… it was a special pass card that could open any locked door without fail. Are. You. Kidding. Me.
There was nothing really complicated or shocking about this book, if you overlook the insane amount of unnecessary technical mumbo jumbo thrown at you. The ending is predictable and lacked tension. The author tried to throw a red herring with the reveal of the villain, but I didn’t care enough about anyone to really be shocked. I did read this duology back to back and it didn’t make the experience any better. It made me realize just how fluffed up the characters were in the second book in order to move the story along. Again, the character did not have time to advance that much as this book picked up right where the first book finished. Nobody in this universe is going to develop powers overnight. We aren’t in the MCU here so don’t play that with me. Am I disappointed in this story? As much as I can be, yes. Would I recommend? Not a chance. Don’t fall victim to the pretty cover and blurb word play. This really is not that engrossing of a story. I’m not sorry I read it, I only wish I had DNFd when my eye rolls were getting out of control.
Books Left Unread
Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.
This week’s post is dedicated to:
Menagerie by Rachel Vincent
This sounds fascinating but I keep putting it off as I feel I have to read my ARCS and listen to audios first. Have you read this? If so, should I move it up on my TBR?
I borrowed this from my library based on two things: the cover and the claim of being a futuristic dystopia. Well, it certainly was a dystopia but it was found lacking. It was a weird hodgepodge of genres that I’m not really sure what it was.
Short recap: Regan (pronounced REE-gan) is known as an Elusion Insider, her father created the Virtual Reality that is sweeping the nation. But sadly her father has mysteriously died and the program he created is being accused of becoming addictive. Regan wants to get to the bottom of the awful rumors and find out what is really going on.
Uh… sure. Okay. I am all about dystopias where a VR is involved. Who wouldn’t be?! A possible future where all we have to do is put on a visor, earplugs, and a wristband and be swept away to a place where none of the daily stressors can bother us? Sounds awesome to me. Sadly this dystopia lacked one major thing – a backstory. Now I know what you may be thinking…. who needs a backstory with a dystopia? Me, that’s who, and any other reader that may need that missing piece that answers the “Why is this story happening? What brought about this type of a future?” questions. This was a never a reason given as to why so many environmental protections were needed. Every single human in this story needed special umbrellas to protect against constant acid rain and O2 masks to filter against the toxic air polluting Detroit. Plus, all humans work a 7-7 shift, 7am to 7pm, then go home and plug into the Elusion app and drift off to lala land. I wanted to know why the environment was the way it was but that answer never came. Sorry, but I’m not the type of reader to just buy something is the way it is because an author tells me.
The characters felt like recycled characters from other contemps/dystopias. There is the unachieving daughter that knows just enough about certain things because her father (or parent) created them – enter Regan (and make sure to pronounce her name correctly, she’ll get mad if you don’t); the mysterious guy with pewter eyes and a buzz cut that screams trouble – enter Josh; and the nerdy guy who is BFF with the protagonist female but wants to be more than friends – enter Patrick. Not only do you have the most predictable trope ever, but you have the most pointless and unromantic love triangle ever. Not to mention the instalove between the not too smart but smart enough girl and the newly introduced for the sake of this story bad guy. Yawn There is never any real tension between Regan-Josh-Patrick. They all play their predictable roles and there never any guesses as to who will win. I promise I won’t spoil it for you but I bet you already know….
Don’t forget, the premise of the story was supposed to be about Regan trying to figure out what happened to her dad, at the same time trying to figure out what was really going on with the Elusion app. That’s an awful lot for one teenager to take on but never fear! Regan is here! With just the right amount of “boy, that worked out in our favor!” and “Gosh, I didn’t realize I could do that” Regan and her friends always have the answer and always has the ability to make something happen. Are you rolling your eyes yet? You should be. There was so much that happens in their favor for no reason. A friend just so happens to know the right person to create an access card that just so happens to work everywhere. Or they always know just enough to get them through a complicated firewall and they know just enough to hack into a high tech research facility. Give me a break.
Did I finish the story? Why yes, yes I did. Did I enjoy all of it? Eh…. not all of it but the VR parts of it. Did I like the characters? Not one bit. I don’t jive with instalove or love triangles. Will I continue with book 2 to end the series? Probably, just to satisfy my own curiosity to see how the story ends. Would I recommend? I don’t believe I would. There are just too many unbelievable events and predictable characters for this to really be an enjoyable read.