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Review: Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

15 Dec

Series: Hush Hush, book #2

Published: October 19th 2010 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Details: Hardcover, 432 pages

Rating: 3/5

My Summary:

I loved Hush Hush, mostly because of the dangerous and intriguing character Patch. Unfortunately he is absent for most part of this sequel, and Nora has turned into an irrational, angry, whiny and weak heroine. I’m sad to say that this book was a disappointment. Still an easy read, and I remain curious to read the conclusion to the series in Silence, out next year.

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A few chapters in:

Ever since I read Hush Hush some time ago, I have been eagerly waiting to read this sequel. Fitzpatrick has a way with words that make me feel as if I’m watching the story unfold from the front row of a cinema theatre. It’s that vivid. Consequently, I just know that the sequel will be as entertaining as Hush Hush was. Plus, it has got great reviews.

I’m now a few chapters into Crescendo, and Fitzpatrick does not disappoint. I’m pulled into the story immediately as I follow Nora’s father during the last terrifying hours of his life (in the prologue).

Fast forward to present day and the troublesome relationship of Nora and Patch. It’s been two months since Patch saved Nora’s life and was given back his wings and a place as a guardian angel. You would have thought that this achievement would put a stop to any doubts regarding Patch’s intentions, seeing as he is now clearly working for the good guys. Or is he? Nora is still doubting pretty much everything about him – primarily his feelings for her.  All doubts are of course stemming from the fact that she still doesn’t know much about him. Patch isn’t (as we know by now), the most talkative guy out there.

When Patch appears to have secretly visited Nora’s archenemy Marcie Millar, and refuses to explain it upon Nora’s confrontation, it all becomes too much and Nora breaks up with him.

As much as I love the bad boy character in Patch, I have to say I rejoiced when that happened, because from what I saw, that did not seem like a healthy balanced relationship to me, Nora being way too attached to a seemingly distracted/busy/arrogant Patch. So way to go Nora!

I know there may be ulterior motives behind Patch’s actions (angels stuff that we are yet unaware of), but he has to start including Nora into his thoughts, or else how is she ever going to be able to trust him? As it is now, she’s better off without him.

At the same time, Scott, an old childhood friend moves back to town. At first, I expected him to immediately throw himself over Nora, creating that love triangle we love so much in young adult fiction these days. But, that hasn’t happened yet. In fact, Scott – all though good-looking, is almost rivaling Patch with his grumpy attitude and shady past. It’ll be interesting to see how he will fit into the story, because at the moment I have no idea.

From the prologue, I am also guessing that Nora will start investigating her father’s death, hopefully casting some light on the events that led up to it, including her link to the Nephilim.

All in all, I’m guessing I’m in for an exciting read! 

 

 

After finishing the book:

It started out so great, with so much potential. We had the charismatic Patch, and his dramatic relationship with Nora. Throw in a new boy in town with secrets of his own – Scott. While underneath it all an outwordly and dangerous angel and Nephilim world is lurking.

Instead, what did we get?

An absent Patch, who made an appearence here and there occasionally, mostly to save Nora or Marcie from various situations. But certainly not enough apearences to keep me interested. The new guy Scott turned out to be a joke. Rude, strange, weak. A side character just like Elliot in Hush Hush. I was simply not  interested in him. Of the nephilim / angel world we only got glimpses here and there, except for the last three chapters when some of it is explained.

So, if nothing of the above, then what was the plot about?

To tell you the truth, I am still not completely sure of that myself. At the beginning Nora broke up with Patch, because she doubted his feelings for her (which I could understand). The rest of the book is mainly about Nora’s emotional turmoil following that break-up. It was quite confusing to read. It felt like listening to a confused friend going on and on about an ex-boyfriend post break up. That oh, she loves him, but they can’t be together, but he is a jerk, yet he is the best that ever happened to her, and she wants him, but it would never work out between them, and either way he is a jerk.. and so on and so forth.

I did understand the emotions Nora went through (break-ups are tough), especially seeing as she is young, and Patch was her first love. Yet, it’s hard to sympathize with such an irrational and whiny heroine. She keeps making stupid decisions, and as such ends up in the most ridiculous scenarios, breaking into numerous bedrooms/flats/cars, sneaking, stealing and lying.

After seeing her behaving this way for a while I started to feel that she wasn’t much better than her archenemy Marcie herself. Worse still, I was beginning to wonder what the heck Patch ever saw in her. And that can’t be good. Because Patch’s and Nora’s relationship was the driving force behind me turning pages in Hush Hush.

The Bottom Line:

So to sum it up, my hopes for Crescendo were that it was going to take a step forward, delving more into Patch’s background, character growth, the world of angels and nephilim and more about Nora’s part in the whole scheme of things.

Instead it felt as if the plot got stuck stomping at the very same spot, where we left off in Hush Hush. There was yet again a stalker attempting to harm Nora, there were the same trust issues regarding Patch, and Nora kept making the same stupid decisions putting herself in numerous dangerous situations, again.

As if nothing had been learnt from the events in Hush Hush. At the end of it, I was starting to lose interest, and frankly couldn’t care less about Nora – whether she was going to make it or not and who the bad guy was.

All that said, I still read it quickly, as it is very well written. I haven’t changed my mind regarding Fitzpatrick’s writing. She knows how to write, no question about that. I am also still curious to see what will happen next, (curious but no longer dying to know) and I will probably read the final installment Silence, to be released in the fall next year. My expectations however have now been lowered. Which may not always be a bad thing. I might enjoy Silence more. Let’s hope so.

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Review: Siren by Tricia Rayburn

3 Dec

Series: Siren Trilogy, book # 1

Published: July 13th 2010 by EgmontUSA

Details: Hardcover, 352 pages

My Rating: 3.5/5

My Summary:

Enjoyable paranormal read about Vanessa who is investigating her sister’s sudden death in a coastal town in Maine. If you are tired of fallen angels and vampires, this is a refreshing tale of something new: sirens. It’s a quite spooky read what with all the deaths caused by these creatures. Also with a hint of a romance. Be prepared to have questions left unanswered though. Sequel out next summer.

A few chapters in:

Ever since this book was published half a year ago, I’ve been keeping an eye on it, as it seemed to include everything that I normally enjoy in a book. We have Mystery: check! Sweet romance: check! Paranormal twist: check! And finally, but not least, great reviews: check!

I’m now a few chapters in. Quiet Vanessa and her lively sister Justine return together with their parents to their lake house in Maine to spend the summer. As always, when in Maine, they hang out with the neighbours and brothers Simon and Cabel. However, this time not many leisurely days go by until the unthinkable happens. Justine’s dead body is found in the sea, after having supposedly thrown herself off a cliff in bad weather.

Vanessa and her parents leave Maine in complete shock to arrange the funeral at home. After a few days, Vanessa decides to go back to the Lake House to investigate her sister’s death further as she is doubting the police report stating that Justine jumped off the cliff herself. There, she meets Simon, who tells her that ever since the night when Justine died, his brother Cabel has been missing too.  Meanwhile, the weather in Maine is behaving rather strange, gathering up storms from out of nowhere and calming down the next second. Somehow, I believe the weather is linked to these disappearances, but how I don’t know.

And this is as far as I’ve got, but the beginning is promising and I’m sensing a bit spooky too!

After finishing the book:

I have just finished the book, and..I liked it. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but I did enjoy reading it.

First of all, I have to point out that it had some striking similarities with Need, all though instead of pixies, here there are evil sirens. In both books, the heroine (a girl with a lot of fears) is grieving the sudden death of a family member. Both storied are set in small towns in Maine, involving quite a few deaths before our heroes manage to close in on the enemies. And last but not least, they both involve a kick-ass grandma Betty!

I could go on, but if I do I’m afraid there will too many spoilers. I gave Need a stunning 4.5, and as you can see, I was not as impressed with this book. The main reason? The romance, which was so much stronger and steamier in Need. Loved Zara and Nick!

Ok, I’m getting sidetracked, back to this review:

We have Vanessa, who is a very likeable heroine, thoughtful and cautious, yet brave and strong. Just the way I like a heroine. All through the book she deals with her sister’s death, which is a painful process and somewhat confusing, as she gradually realizes that she didn’t know her sister as well as she thought.

We have geeky but still adorable Simon. A romance is hinted between the two of them, or rather starts but never truly takes off. I actually thought there would more romance, but it turns out the suspense in this novel overshadows the romance.

There are also many side characters, such as Paige, Cabel, Zara and Betty who were very well portrayed. I particularly warmed for sweet (almost to the point of naive) Paige, who seemed so misplaced amongst all the cruelty.

Even though the romance was not as prominent as I hoped it would be (as you know, I am a romantic at heart), it still very much kept my interest. I got a real spooky feeling while reading about the small coastal town surroundings, with dead bodies washing up onshore every few days and a weather going havoc. You don’t need to be an Einstein to guess that the sirens were the cause of all the mayhem (considering the title of the book), but there were many questions regarding the how and why? Through most part of the book, I was kept in the dark, with only tiny bits of information thrown in here and there. And it worked, I kept turning pages hoping to get my questions answered.

After finishing it, I’m not completely sure though I fully understood the how and why. I’ve read quite a few reviewers addressing the same issue, that too many loose ends were left hanging at the end, and I have to agree. I would have loved more to have been explained about the world of the sirens. And not only that, but other weird happenings, such as why supposedly dead Justine could communicate with Vanessa. Anyone got that?

Then again, I assume all this will be more throughly explained in the sequel Undercurrent, to be released next summer. The end in this book promises an intriguing sequel, so I am looking forward to continue reading this (what I assume to be) trilogy.