Rating: 2.5 Stars
Synopsis via Goodreads:
This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.
Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily’s other self in this alternate universe.
What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.
This started off promising, but ever so slowly began to go downhill. At the beginning, I was seriously thinking this was going to be a 4.5 star book, but then it became 4 stars and then a dramatic crash landing about 2/3 into the book where it became – and stayed – a 2.5 star for me.
There are some fundamental functions of a YA book that I live by and grade by, and some of those include a heroine that is a Mary Sue, stereotypical teenage girl that I want nothing more than to plunder into next week, a love interest that has absolutely nothing going for him besides the fact that we are told he is undeniably hhhooooootttttt, and side characters that are simply there to be background noise and take up valuable page space – and, yes, this can and typically does include the poor, poor third wheel of the love triangle who we all know doesn’t stand a chance in hell of getting the girl.
Poor, pathetic third wheel of a love triangle. So much pity.
Because we all know so many YA females have this in common.
Because they never even stood a chance.
This is a perfect example on why people think good guys never win. It’s because YA females are STUPID seven time out of ten.
Lily Proctor was okay at the beginning. Yes, she does immediately give us a play-by-play of what she looks like (crazy curly red hair, freckles, too-thin body, fragile health – you get the picture) and this alone usually makes me want to eat my own tongue and pluck out my eyeballs, but Lily got away with it simply because she does not pull the stunt of “oh, woe is me! I’m soooo ugly!” but in reality looks like a freakin’ supermodel.
But then she (somewhat) made up by it by saying that while there are parts of her that she doesn’t really like, she admits she has a pretty face. She doesn’t say this egotistically, but matter-of-fact. She likes her face and I give her props for it. Hell, we’re females for Pete’s sack – of course there are going to be parts of our bodies we like and dislike. Her pointing these things out is not something I love or really care for, but it does not make me want to eat my tongue in frustration either.
That’s always something.
Lily is in love with her best friend, Tristan. In par to YA standards, Lily has been in love with him forever, but he’s the typical player in Salem who treats girls like dirt and hardly noticed Lily is even female. Until . . . he does.
So they kiss. And yay for Lily! She’s got the guy she’s been drooling over since forever, right? He’s not going to treat her like dirt like he does all those other girls, right? She’s different (oh, those magical little words). She’s his BFF.
And he does treat her different. At first. But then she catches him in a . . . (*coughcough*) particular . . . position with a girl that HE DOES NOT EVEN LIKE, and – look at that – Lily has just had a nice little dose of reality whack her upside the head.
Because Tristan is – and always has been – a player who has no qualms about seriously hurting any girl. Even if said girl is his BFF.
And this is where I give the girl props – she kicks Tristan to the curb. She doesn’t need the guy in her life. She’s loved him for so long and she finally sees him for what he is.
So, up to here, this was a pretty darn good read. But then I remembered why Josephine Angelini isn’t one of my . . . errr . . . more liked authors. It’s the same reason I downright hated her Starcrossed series.
Lily may be strong some instances, but completely weak in others. And usually when she’s weak, it has to do with that hhhooooottttt guy. You know, the one with absolutely no character besides his ammmaaaazzzziiinnnggg body.
Wait. You mean to tell me his abs don’t count for characterization? WHAT?! But . . . but . . . all those YA books . . . all those YA guys . . .
Yep. It’s a hard truth, I know.
What also annoys me to no end is the same thing that annoyed me with Helen: the female leads always come across as completely idiotic, rash, and always rushes to make assumptions about others without much (if anything) to back it up.
Lily is basically just grinning stupidly during the whole novel and following along blindly with whatever the closest person around her tells her to do, whatever they tell her is the truth of this world. Because God forbid the girl makes decisions on her own. And when she does, they’re just plainly stupid.
Ms. Angelini should really just stay far, far away from fighting scenes as well. There’s one at the end of the novel that I literally had to just shut my eyes during and pray that it wouldn’t take up too many pages. Spoiler alert: It did.
And that’s what really killed the ending of this book for me: the ending. This isn’t even the real end since this is a series, and I’m hoping so much that the next installment will actually explain things. This whole world-jumping thing was just ridiculous. Not to mention confusing.
And then there’s the love interest – Rowan.
You know what? I’m not even going to try to talk about him because there is literally nothing I can say about him. He is the stereotypical guy you can read almost anywhere in YA fiction. No real character depth. Sure, there are the pitiful attempts with his tragic past and lost love with Lillian, but all that is just background noise. Just like he is! (Background noise, that is.)
And there are these ridiculous attempts to make me feeeeellll for Lily and just how strong she is (so much sarcasm here, people).
She’s the girl who wears those (read: annoying) T-shirts that say things like “Save the whales!” and all the horrid anti-nuclear power puns you can think of. And while I have no problem with people standing up for what they believe in, Lily just makes the biggest deal ever about how she FEELS SO DARN STRONGLY FOR ALL THESE THINGS AND, WHY, LOOK AT THAT, SHE CAN’T JOIN ANY OF THE GROUPS SHE WANTS TO BECASUE OF HER POOR, POOR HEALTH. Meat? Can’t eat it. SAVE THE ANIMALS! Glutton free everything! Demon span, all of you who dare to eat meat!!!
Sweetheart, you are in a magical world where it is a miracle of God that you have not starved yet. And not only that, people around you ARE starving, and you think you get to be picky (and let’s be honest, a bit of a b-word) about what’s handed to you?
Cry me a river, will you dearest?