This is a note for the new souls reading my reviews for the first time; there are always spoilers.Rating:
I sentence Jodi Meadows to those awkward running-on-the-spot moments, in dreams, where you can't seem to move away as fast as you'd like.Review:
So this book is not about a girl in a dystopian society being a butterfly. Points for surprising me Meadows, I actually had no idea what I was getting into. Well, I did hear a rumour about dragons, but then assumed some sort of Eragon business was all up in this (whatever this is).
That being said, this does not qualify as a DYSTOPIAN or POST-APOCALYPTIC read, unless everyone else who read this was reading some alternative version of it. Maybe a version where Meadows reveals something to indicate this takes place post-our-kind-of-humans rather than beginning of our-kind-of-humans with a million immortal assclowns to rub it in our faces.
But I'm digressing from the matter at hand. Ana: abused, soft-spoken, clever, too honest, easy to read, and a newbie at life, apparently. She's like a child that's been given too much candy and is crashing, all the time.
Yeah, she's pretty fucking boring. I mean, come on, her favourite things are music (like the music that hasn't been created yet, in her head) and eating honey from the pot. Oh bother, Ana's not a newsoul after all, she's hipster Winnie the Pooh.
And Sam is like a justified pedophile. Damn those teenage hormones and him being attracted to only individuals of his physical age (as clarified by Ana when doing some research on, big surprise, not
her own origins).
Now it may seem like I'm overly criticizing a book I gave 3.5 stars to (so more than my "meh" rating), but I actually genuinely enjoyed the writing; the funny bits that weren't really jokes so much a contemplation of the hilarity of it all; and the story, which is new and still getting started, much like Ana.
I could focus on what's great about the this story: it's different for teen fiction and fantasy; there are dragons and other mythical creatures; Sam may have taken Ana under his wing, but she actually doesn't
want to have to depend on him for everything; although attracted to each other almost immediately, Ana and Sam fall into like first and are comfortable doing friend things; matching souls (in love) are not always the same age and can be the same sex (not a planned or fated feel); Sam is afraid of dragons and not all that brave; and Ana, for all her fast learning and cleverness, is impulsive and sometimes the stupid kind of brave when Sam is in danger. But I'd rather touch on the things that I disliked or that drove me crazy.
First off, I'll start with Ana leaving her Janan-forsaken "mother" at the age of 18. I feel like it's an ad for porn/Girls Gone Wild ("I'm Ana and I'm 18 years old"). Everything that happens after that has to be legal, after all she's of age. Though I suppose those rules don't apply on this strange one-city-world. I understand there's always been a million reincarnated souls, but it isn't really clear whether they're all in the Range and Heart. But I suppose that would be too densely populated.
Secondly, what is up with the pulsing wall and why is no one acknowledging it? I really do not understand. Can only newsouls see it? Which brings me to my next issue on how Ana fails at research. She doesn't even begin with her own background, she must first familiarize herself with Sam's. Then, when her parents' journals are missing she doesn't think to look at the books scattered all over the floor of Sam's bedroom. Really? Please let's be less ADD about this and focus on the task at hand. That last sentence is actually pretty hypocritical since I went searching for a funny "focus" picture and ended up browsing Pinterest for an hour. So, no funny pictures for you.
Anyway, Ana does not discover how she is created on her own. She is told by her father who happens to be stalking her because he pretty much is obsessed with creating more newsouls. Creepy. But what's really annoying about all this is that there really isn't an explanation for how Menehem tainted the temple or what Janan really is (certainly isn't a god if it's imperfect, by human definitions).
I'll admit that Jodi Meadows had much world building to do and some explanation, so I'll allow the slow beginning, but then the story picked up and everything happened all at once and it ended. And I was so frustrated (mostly in a why-haven't-they-had-sex-yet way).
If I had to make suggestions for the next book I would include: Ana and Sam have sex (because they've been living together for weeks, the least they could do is pretend that not being all over each other is hard); more page time with other characters (there is too much of Ana and Sam, even when Ana and Sam aren't together); and Ana standing up for herself more. She doesn't know what or who she is and yet she is growing into an identity that readers can recognize. But she needs to stand up for herself, figure out things on her own rather than be handed the answers, and get distracted by Sam.
Ugh, who am I kidding? I thought it was all kind of sweet. Especially when she uses her bluntness and honesty as a weapon of getting shit done. It must be the week before that
time of the month.Okay, I seriously can't focus on this review anymore, so I'm just going to list a bunch of quotes I found hilarious for one reason or none.
"He had feminine underwear too, but that was too weird; I left them."
"Sam must have been taller than me as a woman, and bustier."
"Going after someone unknown in the dark and cold and almost-snow--that wasn't brave. That was exceedingly stupid." Says the girl who climbed on top of a not-quite-dead-dragon.
"I hadn't meant my curiosity to cause so much pain.
Before I could find an apology good enough, he said, 'I think last week wouldn't have been so dramatic if I hadn't already been killed by dragons not twenty years ago.'
That was before I'd been born, but it probably felt recent to him. 'What happened?'" And she asks even though she knows she can read about it/NOT ask him to cause him pain.
"I can't do this in-between stuff. Either we kiss or we don't." Yes. Ana telling it like it is. I kind of admire her bluntness.
"I want to tell you something." (282) and then "Can I tell you something?" (283) Janan, this must be important. "When I went north in my last life..." (284-285) Seriously? He was so eager to tell her a frakking story? He really is like an old grandfather.
"And, even though I knew better, I checked on the stairs. They were gone. I doubted I could trust anything to stay where I'd left it."