Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Crewel is a great example of my bookshelf "luv like an ex boyfriend." 
Let me explain real quick: You know when you really have moved on from a guy, but since he made some sort of impact in your life, whether good or bad, you still have SOME sort of feeling towards him. It's not love, but it's not exactly hate. That's what luv for an ex boyfriend is; that in between state of contempt and disapproval, where they have a shot at maybe being your friend but nothing more. If anything, they'll remain a distinct memory. Not necessarily a fond memory, but a distinct one nonetheless. 

That is why I have placed Crewel on my "luv like an ex boyfriend" shelf. Crewel left an impression on me, but I can't tell if it's a good or a bad one. Which isn't good in itself, because my feelings towards a book are either this:

or this:

But I'm more so left thinking "what exactly did I just read?" If you happen to enter this crewel world of dystopia, YA love debacles [it's not a triangle if the reader isn't sure if you even like the other guy], and coming of powers/age/etc, you'll be left asking these questions:

"Why are all the Spinsters dressing up? Why do they give interviews? It's like a tribute from the Hunger Games during the opening ceremonies, except without the fighting...and the killing...and the badassery that should come with YA DYSTOPIA."

"Oh, this characters ISN'T a good character? Are you sure? Because you keep giving me reasons to think this is a good character, and now you're telling me there's something untrustworthy about them. Unless you've changed your mind again?"

"I'm just confused again."

Because confusion is what will be woven for you in Crewel. The premise is so cool at first that it earned automatic stars, but once I got past the weaving-is-important-to-Arras campaign, I was not so enchanted. Fancy dresses lack luster when the character talks about them more than actually wearing them. In fact, Adelice [would you call her Lice or Licey for short?!] spends part of the book holed up in her room, basically wearing sweats and drinking. Moaning about her life. Etc. Sounds familiar? That's because even though there is this sterile, dystopian setting around her that actually has a magical-ish element to it, the character is more concerned about how sucky her life is. 

And she barely does any work at all. The book is not only called Crewel, but the series is called Crewel World. And we learn what Creweling is--so where is it?? The amount of time spent Creweling and weaving is less than the time Adelice is eye-raped by Cormac. Cormac, of course, would be best served evil, except that he's a little overdone and never spent much time marinating. Same with Maela. The two evilest characters in the book fall short because they're thrown in so sporadically. At some point, Maela had a chance to be a *bad bitch* but her character got cut off. There were just so many things that seemed to have been thrown in last minute, and I think this premise perhaps went too beyond what it could have done. 
^^^^what I mean by this statement is that Crewel could have been far, far shorter. Shorter like way less pages shorter.
So I just feel all meh from Crewel. If I read the next book that comes out in the series [and it won't for awhile], I think I'll have to wait and read some of the reviews first. And by some I mean one or two, since most people seemed to give this 4-5 stars. 
meh meh mehhhhh--but super stoked to read THE LOST PRINCE!!!!! Just got it on my Kindle today!!! /fangirlsqueal 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

In the world of YA literature, you have to be on your game. If you want to write the next dystopian-themed book, that's fine, but you have to add a twist to it that we haven't already read.
I'm so over vampires and werewolves and bears [wait, bears? Oh my! Jk who writes about mystical bear people?] and, oh yeah, angels. I didn't really mind before and then I read Vessel and I was all INSERT DESERT!!!!!
Because Vessel went and expelled any hope I had for tolerating recycled YA story lines [ALL for the sake of literature, of course]. Vessel ruined a lot of books for me. And all because of a DESERT. 

After reading Vessel, I have come to the conclusion that some of these YA authors are too caught up in trying to make the next "it" book. There are so many elements that they seem to have forgotten in the hopes of making the most memorable love duo/triangle of all time:
-Heroines are a lot more fun to read about when they are tromping through magical lands, and not going through some romantic "journey" with a vampiric wolf demon-bear. 
-YES to the strong cultural influences! Please, authors, take a note from Ms. Durst and explore different beliefs, too! I don't care if it's one G-d or ten mystical goddesses, it's like Greek mythology but with no rules. Do whatever you want, it's a free-for-all. 

Essentially, it all comes down to world building. Yes, I want more books like Girl of Fire and Thorns/Crown of Embers and Vessel, but I think it was the Iron Fey series that started this. And no, I don't think a desert would have made the series even better. 
(Side-note-tangent-thing: Spending time developing your world, and caring about it enough to go even farther and create new religions, indigenous people, and ways to save the world that haven't already been done is what I'm craving. Not blood, or honey [I need to stop with the bear references].)

 And trust me, you'll want to sink into Durst's world of sandstorms, traveling tribespeople, RIDICULOUS love triangles [I'm not even sure you can call it a love triangle when you're sharing your body with a goddess like Liyanna did], and super bitchy goddesses who think humans are just vessels for them to inhibit, nothing more. I mean, the amount of preparation the vessels have to go through is insane. I'd be an awful vessel, because I can't seem to go from one place to another without somehow banging into a table/bench/random corner of anything and bruising myself. But Liyanna is great. She's beautiful and knows it, because she was raised to protect her body for her goddess and then DIE, all for the good of her tribe. She doesn't fight it, but she's noble and human enough to admit that she really does want to live. I felt scared for her several times, because Vessel really puts death into the light and it's a little more realistic than you would think.
Would Liyanna exist in real life? Of course not. But I'd rather travel through a desert with her than the socially-awkward outcast girl featured in most YA literature lately. 

Go read Vessel. And Girl of Fire and Thorns. I really need to write a review for that series, since I'm so in love with it...
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