Tuesday, 8 January 2013
In Ethan Wate's hometown there lies the darkest of secret. There is a girl. Lena Duchannes. There is a curse. On the sixteenth moon, of the sixteenth year, the Book will take what it's been promised. And no one can stop it. In the end, there is a grace. Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and, on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided. Ethan never even saw it coming.
You might have heard something about this book, it's been around for a few years and there's a film adaptation coming out next month. I've been circling it for months, picking it up in bookshops and then putting it down again, but when I was given it for Christmas, I finally got around to reading it.
It's not bad. That sounds bad, but it's okay. I found it reminded me very strongly of Twilight, even though the genders of the main characters are reversed. It's better written than Twilight, but I'm not sure the characters are as engaging. It's lacking something, but I can't say exactly what it is because I don't know. I can't put my finger on what keeps this from being a good book.
There are obvious problems - Lena doesn't ask enough questions or believes the fudged answers too readily, there are a lot of characters all fighting for a chance to speak and they all seem a bit shallow because there just isn't enough time to build them all properly, if you have to explain how everything's pronounced then you're spelling it wrong, and the ending's pretty crap. The latter was the biggest issue for me, even though I understood it. They wanted to write sequels, they had to make space for them. It just means that the climax that the whole book was building to just didn't happen. Kind of like in Breaking Dawn.
What I did like about this book, though, was the fact that it's told from Ethan's perspective. I read a lot of YA fiction, and it seems to be very much dominated by female voices. Maybe that's just the books that I read, but it was refreshing to read a male voice, and it's not a bad one either. Ethan's a little whiny for my taste, but it was something different and I liked that.
Despite my criticisms, I am reading the second book now and I still intend to see the film version. It's just a shame this book wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, but then again, I've heard I have very high expectations.