on October 11, 2013
I don't know what's more horrendous, the shocking amount of 5-star reviews or how utterly trite this novel truly is.
The writing was basic--very H.S level fanfare. I really should've turned tail and ran for the hills after reading: "...looking at what I was passing up to go to school. His dreamy green eyes, short brown hair, chiselled jaw line covered in just enough stubble to be sexy." And yet, this is probably one of the better written drivel that makes up this entire novel. The whole book is, at it's core, a shameless teenage fantasy put on paper. Let's see we have the perfectly, perfect heroine who is: "the poster girl of perfection. [A] straight A-student without even trying. You can stuff your face full of junk food every day and not put on a single pound. You have looks that every girl would die for." Are you barfing yet? Hold it back, there's more: "You have perfect eyes, skin and don't get me started on those legs." Oh and the heroine--Jade--doesn't realize she's apparently the sexiest woman alive until her boyfriend points it out to prevent her from collapsing into a blubbering mess of tears and regret.
Holy smokes. Wow. Just wow. I can't believe someone wrote this down much less an editor green-lit it. Who writes this? Who seriously writes this and tries to pass it off as good fiction these days? And to think Jade, isn't the only "perfectly, perfect" person in the novel because guess what, her boyfriend, "Mr. sexy stubble" is just as perfect. Oh and wait for his, so are his parents. Why are they perfect you ask? Because they're part of an "advanced" form of humanity that can use all of it's brain and consequently is now immortal. Not immortal as in can't be killed but immortal as in they'll live for, like, totally, like ever. Totally. Excuse me but what does being able to use all of your brainpower have to do with immortality? What does it have to do with magical mystical unicorn dust powers? I guess the author is saving this "perfectly, perfect" explanation for the sequel but see the thing is, when you're setting up a novel to feature "advanced human beings" you need to give some kind of reason as to why they are the way they are. Even if that reason gets debunked in later series as being false or incomplete, the author needs to lay some kind of foundation for why her characters look like they walked off of GQ and can read minds like the X-Men.
I can't even talk about characterization because there was absolutely none. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Each and every character in this story was a cardboard cut out with no depth, no personality, nothing. They were simply words on a paper. Plot? Oh there was none. Jade and Perfect Company spent the ENTIRE novel running around like headless chickens searching for ONE girl. I guess even with all of their powers, intelligence and immortality (which you would think would come with life experience or at least some wisdom), combined, they couldn't manage to find the girl or scrounge up a plan to rescue her until the absolute, very end when Jade busts out more of her awesome, magical pixie dust abilities to save the day.
There are no words to describe how insanely regretful I am for having read this "book". I'm just annoyed I poured 3-hours of my time squinting at nothingness. If you're sane and want to remain thusly, avoid this book like the plague.
on December 5, 2014
This is the complete review as it appears[...]at my blog dedicated to reading, writing (no 'rithmatic!), movies, & TV</a>. Blog reviews often contain links which are not reproduced here, nor will updates or modifications to the blog review be replicated here. Graphic and children's reviews on the blog typically feature two or three images from the book's interior, which are not reproduced here.
Note that I don't really do stars. To me a book is either worth reading or it isn't. I can't rate it three-fifths worth reading! The only reason I've relented and started putting stars up there is to credit the good ones, which were being unfairly uncredited. So, all you'll ever see from me is a five-star or a one-star (since no stars isn't a rating, unfortunately).
I rated this book WARTY!
WARNING! MAY CONTAIN UNHIDDEN SPOILERS! PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK!
This novel is one of a series of at least five, every one of which has pretty much the same cover. It's about a teen named Jade who is one of the most helpless, clueless, self-centered, unmotivated, blinkered, useless, and weak female characters I've ever encountered (and that's saying something in YA literature!). We meet her when she's leaving the hospital after a car accident the day before. She had received a gash on her head, but this morning it's completely healed leaving no scar. She knows something is wrong, or weird, or whatever. She doesn’t know what it is.
The novel is technically competent - there are no major grammatical gaffs that I noticed, or spelling screw-ups. The author knows the difference between the verbs to lie, and to lay, and uses the latter correctly (as far as I can tell!), which is always a good sign. I did encounter problems, however. One annoyance arose chapter 2, right before things start going off the rails somewhat for Jade. It's where she's talking with new BFF Chelsea (stay tuned for a bizarre snippet about her old BFF) about finding a suitable guy, and the guy in question is Ben. Jade "boosts" his appeal by saying that he's filled out, got rid of his braces, and started wearing contacts. She says nothing about the kind of person he is.
I find it just as obnoxious when guys are objectified as I do when girls are. But this is worse. Even from Jade's shamefully juvenile and blinkered perspective, she's insulting. Is he ugly in eye glasses? Is he ugly with braces? Is he ugly because he's on the slender side? More importantly, is there nothing appealing about Ben other than what’s skin deep? Not in this author's lexicon evidently.
I know it’s not any particular author's job to change the cultural brain-washing we undergo at the behest of corporate interests behind the fashion and media megabucks industries, but is it not a collective responsibility for writers to move away from trope and cliché and try to serve our readers better? Must we persist in wallowing in the cultural mires of yesteryear, adding to the foul stench of mediocrity every time we write a novel? Does no one want to take the road less traveled? I think readers deserve better, especially young adult readers.
Jade discovers (in a tedious drawn-out and frustratingly obtuse chapter three) that she's immortal. This incidence of people humming and hawing, and dancing around a topic 'til the cows come home, never giving a straight answer, is rife in this novel and it’s irritating as hell. Her boyfriend already knew, but said not a word to her until she caught fire in school (exactly how this happened went unexplained) and yet remained completely unharmed from it. Rather than let the school deal with it, Aiden essentially kidnaps her from school and takes her home with him.
This is so insane, inappropriate, and ridiculous that it defies polite commentary, yet we keep seeing these wildly inauthentic behaviors from Jade and Aiden (Jaiden) with zero consequences. No one ever calls them on it. They're never required to explain their behavior, and there is never any sanction or punishment for it.
Instead of telling jade what she needs to know on the way out of the school, or during the drive to his house, or immediately when they get there, Aiden (how misnamed is he? He offers no aid!) says nothing until she's showered and changed at his house; then he drags out the most brain-dead and fumbled attempt at an explanation ever!
Its not until his mom gets home - a mom who looks impossibly young to be his mom - that Jade begins to learn anything, but that's when she freaks out, and becomes a weepy, girl having an attack of the wilts and the vapors, and is desperately in need Aiden's tender mercies, without which she cannot even stand up on her own - sometimes literally!
That's how stupid and weak she is. Maybe she does use only one eighth of her brain, unlike the rest of us! Aiden's sole idea of calming her is to repeatedly tell her how beautiful and perfect she is. Forget about what's in her brain - let's just stop at skin depth because nothing else matters, does it? She only uses one eighth of her brain anyway so why would it be important at all? She's so shallow that this actually works on her.
The "explanation" she's given is even more ridiculous and it once more trots out that OUTRIGHT LIE that we use only one tenth of our brain - which in this case is enlarged slightly to one eighth - in short, what we get here is the same explanation as appears in the Luc Besson movie Lucy. But it's all bulls***! You use all of your brain - not every neuron every single minute of every day, but all of it routinely.
Different parts of it do different things, so unless you're majorly multi-tasking, there isn't any need for your brain to run at top speed across its breadth and width all the time. It's extremely expensive for it to do so in terms of energy use! Look at it this way: do you wear all your clothes all the time? Unless you're homeless, I doubt it. So what if someone came to you and said, look, you're only ever wearing one-eighth of your wardrobe at one time, so let's give the rest to charity, would you think that a brilliant idea (not a selfless and perhaps morally praise-worthy idea, but a really intelligent idea)? You might, until your clothes are dirty and you find your wardrobe is seriously malfunctioning in that it’s bare!
Just because you don’t wear all your clothes all the time doesn't mean you don’t need some extra ones to change into. Just because you don’t drive your car all the time doesn't mean you have no use for it. Just because the bus you ride to school or work doesn't have all the seats filled all the time doesn't mean they’re not needed or ever used. Just because the classrooms are empty between periods and overnight doesn't mean the school is unnecessary!
Kelly Carrero seems to be yet another person who needs a good education on the important topic of biological evolution, too, especially if she's going to employ that very term for a novel title. Evolution isn’t a god. It doesn't plan. It doesn't have goals. Evolution can’t honestly be personified, but if it were to be, it would be classed as an opportunist. It’s a sneak thief. It will wait for an opportunity, and then run with it. Biologists will tell you that it’s the intersection between random mutation and non-random selection resulting from environmental influences and opportunities, but even the mutation isn’t random in the sense that most people view randomness. It’s not a case where anything can happen. There are tight constraints on this 'random', held in place by the laws of chemistry.
Creationists will say that most mutations are harmful, but this is a lie. Most mutations do nothing because they occur in the massive wasteland of junk DNA, which has no effect on an organism, unless the mutation happens to fall into a dead gene and reactivate it. Those mutations which occur in a gene can be harmful, but only if they damage the gene, or turn it off - or on - inappropriately, but the genetic make-up has built-in redundancy, so even a harmful mutation to a given gene might not adversely affect the organism if a back-up gene is working fine.
Now what does any of this have to do with this novel? Nothing! We’re simply told it’s evolution at work - the next step - like evolution is a butler awaiting the master's return so the house can be locked up, and clothes put away. It’s not. The implication here is that the brain is waiting for a mutation to turn it on so we can use it all, but evolution would not support an organ as expensive as the brain if it were not being used fully already. There is no slack to be taken up, and no genetic mutation can suddenly turn it on and open the floodgates. It’s far more complex than that.
Even if such a thing could occur, how does opening up the "unused seven eighths" promote rapid healing? How does it promote a person's ability to move at super-human speed or read minds? It doesn’t. It can’t. So this is all patent nonsense. Now I have no problem with a story which posits that there are people with special powers, On the contrary, I rather enjoy them - but only if they're well-written and don’t try to come up with juvenile and nonsensical non-explanations for these magical powers. Just wave your hand at something vague and I'm good to go. Please don’t try to rationalize it scientifically, because it cannot be done and it makes the author look lazy, or stupid, or completely unimaginative!
But no author could look as bad as Jade. Or get away with what she gets away with. At school, Jade angrily punches her old BFF (I said I’d get back to her) in the face, in the cafeteria in full view of everyone, literally knocking her into the next table where Chrissy falls unconscious. Instead of taking responsibility for it, or trying to see if her friend is really okay, Jaiden flees the school and goes home - again with no consequences and with zero remorse or guilt.
Jade then takes her Rottweiler out for a walk, and when it wants to chase a cat, she literally lets it go, and she goes right on into the house without a thought for where the dog will go, whether it will run into traffic, get killed, cause an accident, whether it will happen upon young kids and scare the crap out of them. She's that irresponsible. I took a strong disliking to her rather quickly.
Jade is really worthless which is why I cannot recommend this story. I don’t want to read about weak women unless the point of the story is to witness their empowerment and triumph. I don’t want to read about yet another YA main character who is nothing more than a male appendage. I don't want to read another superficial YA novel which is all about perfection and beauty with nothing underneath, and with entirely unrealistic and wildly inappropriate behavior in crisis situations.
Jade was far too hopeless and limp for me to even remotely like her, and she doesn’t show any sign of improvement over the entire course of the novel. She shows neither backbone nor smarts, nor any sign of independence and self-motivation. It’s obvious to everyone but Jade that the kidnapper didn’t want Chelsea. He wanted Jade. Even when Jade discovers where Chelsea is and has a chance to talk to her, she doesn’t even think for a second about asking Chelsea how she got to be taken, and how long they traveled, to try and figure out where she is. She makes no move to free Chelsea so that there will be two of them free to fight-off the kidnapper if he returns.
The novel is quite simply not realistic on so many levels - and I'm not even talking about super powers here. Despite being held prisoner without food or water for several days, Chelsea has no problem being lively and perky, and making jokes. There's no sign of weariness, weakness, or fear. There is no smell from any bodily functions she must have experienced in three days strapped to a chair in a cage. Another character in this novel has vital information about the kidnapping, but fails to reveal it, and no reason whatsoever is given to either explain or justify her behavior.
Aiden the moron keeps butting in on Jade's thoughts at the most inappropriate of times, making her look even more of an air-head than she already is when she tunes out the rest of the world to focus solely on what he's telling her to do. She can't multi-task! Aiden's behavior in that regard came across to me as nothing but a form of rape. The ironic thing is that he neglects to tell her the things she really needs to know when he butts in like this, so she's constantly in a state of ignorance.
The novel ends in a huge cliffhanger which makes no sense. Of course, it makes sense if your only purpose is to milk a novel for every penny you can squeeze from it instead of doing the work of creating something new and different. From the perspective of telling a good story though, if Jade gets a series of visions when there is a threat to Chelsea, her best friend, how come she gets zero visions when there's a threat to her own mom - a threat which is neither justified nor explained?
I'm sorry but this novel was far too vacuous and unrealistic for me to like it. It was poorly thought-out and badly written in terms of world-building and filling-in background. It felt like the second novel in a series when it was actually the first, and I have no interest in following a series that's as lacking in entertainment value and promises as little as this one did.