Guys, I am always part of the franchise. When they made Twilight
into a movie, I was all, "Yes!" because, contrary to popular opinion, I actually liked the first two Twilight
books. When they made The Hunger Games
into a movie, I was, once again, more than excited. I read the HP books before they were movies, as well. I like being in "the know". I like reading very popular books to see what the hype was about.
So, imagine my surprise when this book was turned into a movie and I had never even heard of it! This kind of behavior is just unacceptable, so as soon as I saw the book, I pounced. I just had to know about this mysterious book based in the South (I love Souther gothic books) with a, I was told, original lore.
I think that the lore in this was rather original, actually. There was a lot, in terms of plot, that I felt the authors really succeeded in. I loved learning about Lena and her crazy Caster family. The more I read, the more I found myself able to enjoy the story.
My biggest issue lies in the writing. This is a heavily plot-centric book, so if you're able to focus on plot-related subjects, then this might be a book you love.
I tend to focus more on the writing technique nowadays. You can blame my Creative Writing professor for that. The writing in this book was overly simplistic. There would be three sentences with no more than five words placed back to back in the same paragraph. It was so jarring that I often found myself jerking my head back because the writing felt like a slap in the face.
Although I love that the authors tried doing something different by having a male protagonist, I really have to wonder how much they know about the male teenage psyche. Ethan did not feel like a teenager to me. There were a lot of obscure film references made, a lot of focus on people's clothing, etc. I'm a female woman and I don't even notice people's clothes like this kid does.
Lena and Ethan fell in love very fast. This is a common theme among YA and I actually don't have a hatred for insta-love. I think it can be done very well, it just depends on how the writer executes it. This, once again, is an issue with the writing. Take The Great Gatsby
, for example. Think about the plot. When you think about that, it seems ridiculous, right? But the reason it became so successful, the reason people still connect with it, is because the writing is excellent. I think that the most ridiculous of situations can be acceptable if there is a good writer behind it, but Lena and Ethan's love did not feel authentic to me until more than halfway through the book. Therefore, all the sacrifices they made, all of the promises they tried to keep, didn't resonate with me because I found it unbelievable.
The second half was much better than the first. I noticed the writing improved, the plot picked up pace and the characters started to flesh out. I would've liked to see a bit more character development, but this is a plot-based book, so it's understandable that there wasn't too much.
Overall, this book wasn't for me. However, it is crazy popular and I have a lot of students who recommended this book to me over and over again. I'd say give it a shot to see what the hype is about and maybe you'll find yourself loving it.