Thursday, July 29, 2010

BR: 13 to Life; The Body Finder

My first negative review :( Sad day…

Okay. The two books that I read this week that I did not enjoy:
13 to Life, Shannon Delany
The Body Finder, Kimberly Derting

The Body Finder:

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Ever since she was born, Violet has had the ability to find the bodies of murder victims and recognize the killers. Those unfortunate souls killed by another, including animals, leave behind some sort of mark (referred to as Violet as an “echo”) on the world that Violet can sense: the sound of bells, a dark bitter taste, a rainbow sheen of oil on water, the bitter smell of dandelions, etc… and the same mark stays with the killer, as an “imprint.” And now that a serial killer is knocking off teenage girls in her small town, Violet is starting to find the bodies of the girls and is determined to use her gift to stop the killer before it’s too late and killer goes after her. Romance with her best friend, Jay, is involved, of course, as well as brief chapters from the killer’s point of view.

WHY I DIDN’T LIKE IT: The story, overall, was cool. It wasn’t bad. The “echoes” idea was really intriguing, and the whole descriptions of them were really well played out, and I enjoyed the plot. The idea was unique to me. But the writing styles vary too much.

What I mean, is that The Body Finder is in omnicent point of view, so it’s told by an ambigous narrator, and the descriptions are large and flowery. But when you get to the dialouge, it’s written like we teenagers “really talk:” sarcastic with swear words in nearly every sentence. The styles clashed too much, and it was distracting to read.

Also, sporadically throughout the novel, there were brief chapters in the killer’s point of view, playing out the scenes when he found the girls he would eventually kill… it was really creepy. Almost too creepy. But I guess that’s the point, right? It kind of freaked me out, and typically, it’s hard to scare me through writing. Ha, I was a dork and whenever I stopped reading, I made sure it was in a part NOT from the killer’s view, just because it would have left me feeling off all day long. Yeah, I’m a dork.

Anyways. It was an okay mystery, a little predictable, but still original. The romance was clean but heavy if that’s what you’re into, and featured an extremely protective boy best friend. It was a decent story, mediocre writing. Just not my taste.

13 To Life, Shannon Delany

This one I didn’t not like whatsoever. The whole entire book, you have no idea what’s going on. If you care to look at the inside cover, you would know that this is a werewolf book. Otherwise, you would have guessed it half way through the book, but it wouldn’t have been explained until the last ten pages of the book. Not in a good way.

(FYI: the copyright page, if you didn’t know, usually has a one-sentence summary of the book that will sometimes give you a big hint into the plot that the back cover might not mention… that or the list the subjects to shelf it by…. In this case, it was 1. Teenage girls- fiction. 2. Werewolves- fiction. Random bit of knowledge for today.)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Jessie’s been having a hard time getting life settled back to normal after watching her saint-of-a-mom die a few months ago, and to make things worse, she’s forced to show the new kid--- exotic Pietr Rusakova--- around school. Pietr is distant and arrogant and always checking the time, and although Jessie hates him, she’s strangely attracted to him at the same time. And although he returns her feelings, they’re trapped in a web of the other people they’re both semi-dating… although Jessie and Pietr make out in her horse stables all the time… it’s a weird situation. Then there’s Jessie’s “friend” that sort of lost her mind that Jessie is trying to nurse back to health, although Jessie has every reason in the world to hate her, especially now the fact that she’s stealing Pietr away from her… it’s all just weird. Especially with all the secrets Pietr is keeping… secrets that are supposed to be revealed in the end, but still leave you confused.

The plot is sporadic. One minute Jessie is all tied up in her high school crush (who, confusingly, isn’t Pietr but this jerk-of-a-jock that’s just using her, but she loves him still the same), the next she’s musing over the vague and sinister things Pietr says, and the way he fell four stories and didn’t kill himself… oh, and by the way, she also researches the Russian Mafia and wolf attacks in the towns nearby on a weekly basis just for kicks and giggles.

If you want to, it’s way easy as a reader to connect all these things together, but Shannon Delany never does it for you like she should. You’re left in the dark, a complete mess, having no idea what all these little side notes thrown in the mix have to do with anything. Things just don’t tie together throughout the story.

Not even in the last few pages of the book are all the loose ends tied up. Apparently, this is meant to be a series, but there wasn’t enough closure in this book. Too many things are going from unrelated to connect, but you have no idea why. The story doesn’t weave itself together in the end. It’s like your reading, and you’re like, “Huh, he’s a werewolf. DUH. …. But what about________?”

Although most of the book is predictable, Delany isn’t revealing anything. Whether she means to in her next book or not, I’m not going to stick around long enough to find out. The plot is too all over the place, characters aren’t nailed down well, and frankly, it’s not striking my as original in the least. At least not so far.

Sorry, Ms. Delany. I’m going for a no on this one.

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