I’m still working on reviewing some things, but I’ve been really busy lately with my X-Files blog and other life matters, so I haven’t had a chance to seriously review anything (besides X-Files episodes) in a while. However, I still wanted to put something up, so I came up with an idea. The following reviews are reviews I posted on Goodreads, way before I started this blog. I don’t go on Goodreads that much, but for a while, I suppose, I did take advantage of its review option. Reading back over them, I found that some of them are pretty scathing; however, in many cases they are understandably so. So, enjoy some scathing reviews. Until next time.
WARNING: These will pretty much ALL contain spoilers.
Dead to You by Lisa McMann
“Dead To You” has probably the most unlikable main character I have ever met. Ethan is a selfish, idiotic, rude, pissy, temper-tantrum throwing moron who doesn’t appreciate the good things that are happening to him and only focuses on the bad.
“But he’s a teenager, right, and on top of that, someone who’s been through some pretty terrible times.” All right, I dare you. Try liking this character. Just try. Ethan never gives us one good character trait to make us invested in the story, never does one thing that is slightly productive or good. He is taken out of a sorry lifestyle only to be taken to a good lifestyle where he promptly tries to make everyone else’s life sorry throughout his stay there. Again, yes, I know he had a horrible childhood. I understand that. But keep in mind that this is a work of fiction, and that the author has to give me something to care about. And with such a character-centric story as this book is, Ethan did not give me one thing to care about.
But what pushed this book into the one-star territory? After all, books with bad characters are common, and this story in and of itself didn’t really distinguish it from all the rest of the stupid teenage angst novels –
LIES. The end of the book is the worst ending I have ever read. Worse than “My Sister’s Keeper”, worse than “Harry Potter,” worse than “Star Trek: Nemesis” (the movie). I won’t give it away, but the ending actually does something incredible – it completely makes the entire book pointless. That’s right, the last few pages of this book were awful enough to TAKE AWAY ANY REASON FOR THIS BOOK’S MIRACULOUS EXISTENCE. It is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest, and once you’ve reached the top, jumping off. The entire journey was completely pointless.
When I was finished with this waste of paper, I threw it across the room and decided never to open it again. The author needs to write an apology to all the trees that were wasted in the printing of a book that had no reason to exist. The end.
Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon
As many problems as this book has, its biggest is this one: it is addicting. I could not put it down.
Whatever Jennifer McMahon hoped to accomplish with writing this extremely bizarre book, she certainly succeeded in the suspense department. I haven’t been so hooked on a book since The Da Vinci Code. However, that does not by ANY means mean this book was good.
I mean, look at the cover. Look at the title. Look at the premise. It’s stupid. There is no way anything like this could possibly not be stupid. On top of all that, the characters are idiots. Nearly every single problem in this family could have been solved by just one of the family members waking up to reality and turning on their brain.
What’s even more, the plot, especially at the end, is convoluted and confusing. It goes back and forth on itself several times, and then ends in a place that seems to hint of a sequel (the problem with that, of course, is that I will already have lost interest in this cast of characters by the time a sequel is released). I understand that is the nature of a suspense novel, but after hyperventilating through this book I don’t want to feel as though I’ve wasted my time. And this book definitely wasted my time. Very, VERY little payoff in the end.
So, in short – it’s bad. But I must give it points for being addictive. If you’re looking for a suspense novel, you should check it out – just don’t expect to get much out of it in the end.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
I gave this book one star, but in truth it doesn’t deserve any. “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” is easily a contender for Worst Book I Have Ever Read In My Life. I’ll explain why.
This book is the equivalent of someone writing down a bunch of random nonsense and saying at the end of every sentence, “Hey, listen to me! This is really profound! I’m saying something really profound now!” when in fact it is not saying anything profound but instead spewing out insultingly ridiculous nonsense that is hardly believable in a book that’s supposedly set in the “real world” and succeeds in nothing but confusing the hell out of the reader.
Every character is forgettable, the plot is incoherent, the writing’s horrendous, and the ideas ludicrous. And if all that isn’t bad enough, the author seems to be allergic to quotation marks, because she never uses them. Not once. Quotation marks were invented for a reason – to distinguish the events of the book from the dialogue. If I can’t tell the difference, you’re wasting my time.
What really makes me the most furious is that this book thinks it’s something more than it really is. It gives you the unbelievably false impression that it’s profound, something that is easily dismissed by the time you reach chapter three and realize how incoherent the story is. If there’s one thing I hate more than a bad book, it’s a bad book that preaches to you and tries to pass off as a good book.
If you see this book in the bookstore, ignore it. If someone recommends it to you, kindly refuse. If someone gives it to you as a present, slap them in the face. Do whatever you can to avoid this terrible piece of “writing” and hopefully the world will forget it ever existed.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus” is a book with a brilliant idea and a chronic issue: the quality of the story is much higher than the quality of the way the story is told.
The story itself is extraordinary. The concept is so strange and original that I honestly wondered how she (the author) came up with it. I won’t spoil too much, but the basic premise of the book is this: two people with magical capabilities: Celia Bowen and Marco, who are destined to be players in a “game” that exploits their abilities and leads to death. They, however, fall in love, and must deal with the consequences this game has on them and the people around them, all of whom work in a magical circus.
A brilliant idea, but unfortunately the book suffers from two major writing problems: the writing is at many times rather sappy and full of cliche lines; and, perhaps the most undeveloped love story I’ve seen in a while. The two are never seen falling for the other; they literally go from having one conversation and then the book jumps a little ahead in time and BOOM – they’re in love. We don’t see them spending time with one another or getting to know each other well. That’s extremely disappointing, especially coming from a book that had potential.
That is why I feel this book deserves a three-star rating. It was a good idea, but poorly executed.