I thought that since this is usually the season that people get to reading a lot more (summer reading list and all) and to bring more discussion to the book forum, we could use a thread where we review a book that we recently finished. For some guidelines:
- List the title of the book
- # of Pages
- Comprehension level (easy, intermediate, hard?)
- General summary of book
- Good things
- Bad things
- Star rating (out of five)
Use the spoiler tag when needed, since it's hard to escape some spoilers if you're trying to write a good review.
With that, let's begin!
- Tempest Rising
- Nicole Peeler
- 344 Pages (excluding acknowledgments and extras)
- Easy Reading
This story centers on Jane True, a twenty-six year old resident of the small New England town of Rockabill, Maine. She is pretty much the village pariah, after a very traumatic past with her mother mysteriously vanishing - just as mysteriously as she appeared - at the age of six and her best friend and boyfriend tragically dying when she was eighteen. That, and she has the odd tendency to take late night swims in freezing water, and she even seems to have some control over it, which doesn't seem to bother her. After one such swim, Jane finds the grizzly discovery of a murdered body in the local whirlpool. Come to find out that the murder victim wasn't an ordinary human, and through a series of brief events, come to find out that Jane isn't an ordinary human either: only half. After a freak meeting with a kelpie, a gnome, and a barghest, Jane discovers that she is half selkie, explaining why she has such an attraction to the ocean, and more importantly, why her mother mysterious left her and her father. She also learns that the murder of the man had preternatural motives, and that's where the story takes off.
The first few chapters are pretty engaging: we learn a bit about Jane, her conflicts with some of the townfolk, and her friends, father, and estranged mother. I also liked the humor: it was risque sense of humor [spoiler]especially given one of her friend's background as a former porn actress, in which Jane usually recieves naughty gifts from which she puts in her "dirty drawer", so we were initially given the sense that she wasn't another hypersexual female fantasy character[/spoiler]; overall, I enjoyed it. I also liked both natural and supernatural creatures that we were introduced to and I really wanted to read more about them.
However, I learned upon experience that all you need to do to ruin a book with a lot of potential is to introduce a vampire-esque Gary-Stu character to the mix.
Which is precisely what Peeler did.
About five chapters in, we are introduced to Ryu, an attractive, seemingly loaded character who happens to be a baobhan sidth, or a vampire fairie according to Irish mythology. The first problem is that if you are familiar with the atrocities of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, Ryu seems to follow a similar formula: he happens to be a creature that is similar to a vampire, but not quite a vampire, but he's still called a vampire throughout, possibly because it's just more popular to do so; that and he's loaded for no reason. These two qualities are able to captivate Jane. The good thing is that Peeler didn't describe his great looks throughout the book (she actually didn't do this for most of the characters, which was actually a problem of its own).
The second problem was actually described on a mini review on the book cover. As quoted by one Rachel Cain, "A fascinating, fast-paced, sexy storm of a book." It's just that: by about chapter six, the story was just too fast paced. Ryu initially came as an investigator to the murder, which I thought, "okay fine. That's cool." We see that Jane, despite some of Ryu's witty manly humor, is attracted to him, which was also fine with me so long as it went along smoothly. But by chapter eight or so, a book classified as a fantasy/horror was fast turning into a paranormal romance, a genre that I've been trying to steer clear of for awhile. [spoiler]And by chapter nine, my fears were answered by a sex scene that I just didn't want there. The fast-pace of the novel was what destroyed any kind of genuine relationship between Jane and Ryu. They had hot, steamy sex after only knowing each other for about two days. We could cut Jane some slack by saying that she's half selkie: they're practically seducers of men. But what didn't cut it for me was that Jane has been grieving over the death of her one true love, Jason, for the past eight years, before and after her fling with Ryu. After first contact, they have a physical relationship about every other chapter or so, and I think that really brought the plot down, since, there is no real plot in a romantic love novel. For a young woman with so much emotional turmoil, I had no idea where she stood in this fling between she and Ryu, since she never really described any strong feeling toward Ryu, and he didn't either.[/spoiler] The third thing wrong was that after Ryu made his entry, everything else vanished. What I mean by that is, much like Twilight, we gain little detail about Jane's friends, dad, local nemeses (in, which, there was only one real confrontation), or the other supernatural folks of the area after Ryu came in. We don't have much mention of Jane's selkie heritage afterward, which was a real downer, and even though the "travels" of Jane and Ryu were to be focused on the circumstances of the murder turned murders in the supernatural realm, it kind of didn't at the same time [spoiler]since Jane's psyche turned into the hypersexual female fantasy character, and unfortunately H.F.F.C.'s usually don't develop much, which was the sad fate of Jane as well as Ryu[/spoiler]. It's sad to say that food and clothing have more description and development than the people.
Overall, I had high expectations for this book, because I really like reading about faeries and folkloric beings that don't usually make an appearance around Halloween (vampires, werewolves: the usual). I thought this book would be a good substitute for people who like urban fantasy books like Wicked Lovely (which I admittedly adore); that, and the cover looked cool. This book wasn't what I expected, but not in the good way. I didn't want to give this book as low of a rating, but I feel it is just:
2 stars out of 5
"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." - Leo Tolstoy
"The first rule of Goth Club is : You do not talk about Goth Club." - Milky
Remember, Arthur and Lancelot: bros before hoes!