“We have to be back in three hours,” Ronan said. “I just fed Chainsaw but she’ll need it again.”
“This,” Gansey replied “is precisely why I didn’t want to have a baby with you.”
This book revolves around Blue, a girl from a psychic family who meets Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah, four boys from a local private school who are in search of ley lines in the town. They enlist Blue’s special talents in their hunt, and this book revolves around their efforts to find ley lines and how they come to bond along the way.
***Genre: Young adult, Paranormal
***Note: If you have not read this book, I highly discourage you from reading the synopsis on Goodreads and the back of this book. It’s highly inaccurate of this book’s contents as it is most definitely is not a romance, and that may likely throw you off.
My thoughts: Ye gods, the writing is incredible.
I’m going to start off this review by saying that I have issues with how this book was presented, but can I take a moment to just appreciate how scrumptious the writing is? I’ve read plenty of YA authors whose prose is clean, beautiful and flowery, but in my opinion, Stiefvater’s prose blows them all out of the water.
Because for one, her word choices are astonishingly precise. This might be a rather strange thing to note, but for how atmospheric her writing is, there is not a single phrase or term that feels superfluous: every last word in this book is deliberately placed, and such level of love and care dissuaded me from simply barreling through the story with my brain turned off, just because I wanted to slowly appreciate the prose for once.
Furthermore, talk about intriguing characters. Adam by far is one of the most complex characters I’ve read in my entire life as he is not characterized by a single personality trait nor just his struggles, but is rather a complex amalgamation of the two. There are instances when he is sweet and vulnerable, yet he also demonstrates severe personality flaws (like temper or pride) that makes him a most perplexing enigma.
In that, this book slayed two out of three elements. The prose skyrocketed to the top of my most well-written YA books list, and the characters (even beyond Adam) were among the most interesting and self-aware protagonists I’ve read.
Unfortunately, the plot did not do justice to these characters. Perhaps it’s my fault for blindly believing that this story was to revolve around a romance, but even disregarding the misleading synopsis, this book slinks its way into the plot without ever paying toll as to why characters are so hell-bent on finding these ley lines, and this lack of motivation made me impatient and even desperate for a true conflict to kick in.
Furthermore, there are extensive chapters dedicated to the villain’s mindset, yet this book discards him almost unceremoniously once his tie to another character is divulged. This made me quite frustrated as I felt there was potential for this character to serve as a great point of conflict or at the very least be redeemed as emotional payout, yet he simply becomes a fleeting roadblock, a nothing character in the end.
In that, although this book presents beautifully flawed characters, there is no true conflict for them to flourish in. Many of their struggles are self-propagated (as they literally go looking for trouble themselves), and the way this story was kick-started ultimately felt random and directionless as a result.
“My words are unerring tools of destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.”
Recommended? For sure!
Truly, the writing in this series brings me to tears with just how precise it is. I mean, nothing was a throwaway line! The author has a loving intention behind every single word or phrase in this book, and the distinct way that she crafted her sentences was beyond any other author’s attempt to convey meaning in a flowery manner.
In that, I’d recommend this book for ages 14 and up. There’s quite a bit profanity thrown about the series, but the characters behave very much like adults, so I feel this book could appeal to any fan of the YA, paranormal, or even literary fiction genre.
Bottom line: Stellar characters, lethargic plot
As a first installment in a series, this book seems much too loose and casual to be an ideal setup as characters do things for almost no compelling reason, and the plot flounders as a result of having no true driving conflict behind it.
However, the prose in this book is exquisite, the characters are top-notch, and the ambience is electrical, so I absolutely recommend giving this book a go. The flaws will eventually be mitigated once you read the entire series, so for that, I give this book 3.5 stars (2 stars for aimless plot, 5 for amazing characters).
My rating: 3.5/5 frogs
***Note: I read this series last fall, but it took me a while to write this review because I wanted to re-read the entire series a few times before delivering judgment. My thoughts aren’t drastically different from back then, but I will be doing a series overview just so I can talk about the overall flow of the entire series, which I feel will be more positive.
***Reading update: I’ve been reading a lot of standalones lately, so I’ve finally decided to tackling the Mistborn trilogy. I didn’t manage to get all the way through last time, but it apparently has a great conclusion, so I shall get to it starting tomorrow.
***And lastly, I’m really craving oranges right now. Just saying. Oh, and this blog apparently officially has 100 followers as of last night. What the heck.