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review 2015-03-29 15:16
Hit and miss
Fuck This Book - Bodhi Oser

Except that when it's funny, it's really funny.   However, I didn't really need to read 100 pages of words being replaced with 'fuck'.  I thought I did, but, eh...


I apparently thought this was such a good idea, I put two of these in my Scribd library.   They're such quick reads, I'll probably read the other one just to see if it gets better - or worse - or is hit and miss as well, so cross your fingers for me?

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review 2014-08-21 04:05
Terrifyingly dull
The Girl from the Well - Rin Chupeco
“I say it is an onryuu, yet I feel no hate from her."

“An onryuu with a conscience, kami help us."

Shimatta! (That means shit in Japanese). God help us, this is supposed to be our terrifying heroine? Kuso yaro! Sou desu ne?! Ramen! *insert random-ass Japanese word here for authenticity* Sukiyaki! Hentai! Bukkakke! Hello Kitty!

This book will be scary, they said. A cross between Dexter and The Ring, they said. Not fucking likely.

This was how scary the book was for me.

Trust me, I'm just as disappointed as anyone. This book was incredibly dull. Sure, it features a scary girl with long hair ripped straight out of The Ring and The Grudge. Doesn't matter. It doesn't change the fact that this was a boring ass book with a main character who is completely unnecessary because she doesn't do a single fucking thing but obseeeeeeeeeeeerve. Whooooooooo. I'm gonna shit my pants. Not.

The book is dull, the plot is convenient, and ever so contrived. Ever so convenient. You're in Japan (sometimes). All the Japanese characters speak English, hoo-fucking-ray. Even the fucking temple miko, or shrine maiden, are college-educated and English-speaking. The main character is boring as fuck. The narrative style drove me nuts. The other main characters are dull as hell. Casper, the Friendly Ghost probably scared me more.

For a far superior YA horror novel, go read the most excellent Anna Dressed in Blood. Hell, take 2 hours of your time, go watch Ringu. Go watch the American version of The Ring. It will be two hours better spent than reading this book.

There is a ghost. Her name is Okiku. She is 300 years old. Okiku is supposed to haunt people. She is supposed to be a ghostly version of Dexter, wreaking vengeance upon wrongdoers. She does that roughly twice in the entire fucking book.
You know what she does most in this book? She watches.

- The dead children watch me as I watch him drive away.

- I watch him.

- I watch as the bully pushes him against a bathroom door.

- Some days I watch Callie. I follow her as she attends lectures, plays, tours.

- I watch the miko. There is great strength in her.

She follows.

- I follow them into the car, where there is very little conversation.

- I follow him as he wanders the busy streets, leafing through magazines in quiet cafés, peering into store windows.

There is a damaged, tattooed young man named Tark who is damaged. Have I mentioned that he is damaged? He is damaged. He is hurt. Deeply wounded inside, of course.


And then there's his lovely 18-year old cousin, Callie. The most ponderous, caring, nondescript side character in the entire world. She shows that she's motherly. She is caring. She is gentle. Did I mention that she's caring? She cares a lot, maaaaaan. It's because her poor little cousin Tark is so damaged.

For some inexplicable fucking reason, Okiku chooses to (very benevolently haunt Tark and Callie. Did I say haunt? I mean observe. And watch. And smile. Cause Okiku doesn't do much more than that.

They go to Japan. They do Japanese things like eat ramen and visit Shinto shrines and learn about local ghost stories! They get scared. I fell asleep. The end.

This book didn't do a damn thing for me. Here is why.

1. The prose and the switching of narrative POVs. First person switch to 3rd person omniscient in one paragraph?! Without warning? Sure, why not. Why the fuck not. This book is supposed to scare me. I don't want none of your attempts of poetic prose and experimental writing.

There is a time and a place for strange, experimental stream-of-consciousness prose, more specifically, in the 7th level of hell and in Tahereh Mafi's novels. I don't fucking want it in my horror novel. I want to be scared. I don't fucking want your e.e. cummings shit when you're trying to fucking frighten me.


Some examples. Direct screenshots, because you can't get the full terrible effects unless you see it for yourself.

And in homage of the writing, here's my little ode to it.

Please. Please godpleaseplease please.


It stop.

Why won't you make it stopstopstopstopstopSTOPSTOP.


And as for the switching of POVs, my god. We alternately read things narrated by the main character as "I." I this. I that.
And then for no fucking warning, it switches to omniscient. "The girl." "The woman." "The boy."

Pick one POV. Stick to it, for fuck's sakes.

2. The main character is about as frightening as my bunny statue. And she is roughly just as active. I'm seriously. The fucking scary LADY IN WHITE WITH HAIR ALL OVER HER FACE does nothing more than observe.
And point.

And smile.

And be shy.

Fuck me.

She's supposed to be a cross "between Dexter and The Ring. No. She is not Sadako. Not even close. The book could have been narrated from one omniscient point of view, because the main character in this book is that useless. She is a narrator, not a ghost.

She does nothing.

Her narration is part internal monologue, part impartial observation, and completely annoying because this batshit girl has a tendency to obsess with numbers. She counts everything.

(Four girls, five, six.)
They are blondes and redheads and brunettes. They are blue-eyed and dark-eyed and brown-eyed and green-eyed. They are pale and freckled, and dark and brown. They are six years old and eight years old and twelve years old and fifteen years old.
(Seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven.)

I'm sure that's meant to portray her insanity. It doesn't work. It feels forced. It gives off a sense of pretension. It annoys more than it is effective.

Again, an homage to the style of the book.

Ten. Seventy one. Ninety four. FIVE FIVE FIVE FIVE FIVE.


Hundred instances.


3. The boy.

“I’m from Texas,” the boy lies. “Home to beloved exports like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, mad cow disease, and bullets. I collect mannequin legs and spider bites. A race of super-ferrets live inside my hair. They hate water so I shower with an umbrella. I eat bugs because I’m allergic to fruit. I wash my hands in the toilet because sinks are too mainstream. Anything else you want to know about me?”

Tarquin, "Tark." I'm supposed to like this pretentious little piece of shit?

He's 15. He's annnnnnnnnnngsty. He is so different, wah wah wah. He makes damned sure that everyone knows it too. Sure, I'm supposed to feel sorry for him. After all, his mom tried to kill him. But you know what, the fact is that he's so fucking annoying that I want to kill him myself. So there goes the whole sympathy bit. Nope. Do not want.

4. The characters

Sure, Okiku has an excuse for being fucking dull, she's dead. But what about the rest of the living? They're cardboard. A mannequin has more personality than Carly and Tark. They do things. That's it. They never grow. They get frightened, but not too much. They suffer sometimes, but one feels nothing for them. They go through a ghost story, without ever feeling like they are any more alive than the ghost which they see.

Dull. Dry. The humans in this book have as much personality as a desiccated corpse, and that corpse is probably more interesting to observe as it rots.

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review 2014-08-08 03:44
"Midnight Thief" didn't steal my heart
Midnight Thief - Livia Blackburne
She didn’t look like an assassin. She looked like a young girl—a pretty one at that, with her small stature and delicate features.

Why hello there, generic special snowflake Mary Sue heroine who's a dumb, weak, pussy-ass delicate little flower with every guy desiring her and powers that she never earned.

“You’re beautiful to watch, you know...Your grace—it’s impossible to ignore. Did you notice the way my men looked at you? And it wasn’t just them.”

Oh, and there's a sad attempt at love triangle.

Whoop dee doo!

If a good high fantasy is a sumptuous feast for the imagination, this book would be the equivalent of a few carrot sticks, with half a teaspoon of fat-free ranch dressing.

This is one of the most poorly crafted "high fantasy" books I have ever read. I used quotation marks for high fantasy, because within an actual high fantasy, there is some semblance of world building. Explanations. Context. There was none of the above within this book.

I'm going to forgo one of my long-winded metaphors and simply say that this book was "incredibly bad." Like the equivalent of Defy bad. So why a 1.5 instead of a 1? No breeding houses. But that's not really saying much.

This book is incredibly fucking dull. There is no world building. It moves at the pace of a snail with a broken leg, if snails had legs, that is...

The writing is completely unremarkable in every way. There is little to no character development.

To top it off, the main character is one of the worst high fantasy heroines I have ever had the misfortune of meeting. There's usually a method to my madness, I have a separate section where I analyze the main character. Fuck it, I'm having my little character rant first, it's been a long day and I'm feeling rebellious.

The main character is Kyra, a 17-year old thief. She so suffers from a serious condition that has been spreading around many book heroines known as too-stupid-to-live syndrome.

She scrambled back as the demon cat launched itself off a tree, landing softly on padded feet right where Kyra had been standing.
She should have remembered that cats could climb trees.

She has been a thief and a street urchin for most of her life. Cool, right? Well, no. No, because she is the most unwise, least street-savvy thief in the whole damn world. Kyra is a thief who won't carry around a weapon to defend herself.

“Rand says you don’t carry a knife.”
“I don’t need to. I can usually get away,” she said.

And consequently, she is completely fucking useless at self-defense. Kyra is not a fighter. She needs saving. She is saved by the act of god, or deus ex fucking machina almost every single time because she is incapable of defending herself. Like this time.

Someone pulled him off her, and Kyra dragged herself onto her elbow, breath coming in painful gasps. Both her attackers lay on the ground, unconscious. Above them stood a man who looked vaguely familiar.

And again, and again, and again.

She screamed, only to cut off as she choked on her own blood. The pain was unbearable, growing unimaginably worse when he twisted his knife.
“We would like to take her with us,” a man said.


She constantly flushes and blushes.

- She flushed and drew her arm away.

- She flushed red, unsure as to whether she imagined his mocking tone.

- She looked away, taken aback at the flush rising in her cheeks.

She is the worst liar in the world.

“You’re not telling me everything,” he said.
“There’s nothing to tell,” she said too quickly.

She has no sense of loyalty. She will betray a group who takes her in at the drop of a hat. She betrays just about every group that takes her in. From a group of Robin Hood wannabes...

“It didn’t take long for you to switch your allegiance, did it?”

...To the "barbarians" who rescued her.

Could she betray them after they had saved her life?

The answer is yes. Always fucking yes. To the one new friend who saved her life.

It was true. [She] had saved her life, fought for her, and taught her the ways of the clan. And Kyra had betrayed her.

She will reveal her greatest weakness, her love for her friends, to the enemy to be used against her without a thought.

She likes small children. Cute. But when I read a book with a high fantasy heroine, I want less cuddly maternal type and more kick-ass. I didn't get much ass-kicking at all.


And naturally, everyone falls in love with her. She is so bloody special. Rebel bad boy assassin sees something special in her.

James pushed back from the table, studying her again with a thoughtful expression. “I’ve never met anyone quite like you, Kyra.” His voice was soft, lacking its usual edge.

Knightly nobleman adores her for no bloody reason.

He didn’t let her go, though his gaze softened in a way that bruised her pride. “You’re a puzzle, Kyra.”

And she's speshul. SPESHUL.

How did he really feel about Kyra? She was like no one he’d ever met before, and he couldn’t deny that she was beautiful when she worked.

The Summary:

“You’ve noticed that you’re different, have you not?

We're in a high fantasy world, the most generic one in the entire fucking universe. Want explanations for something? Good bloody luck, you get none. I mean, things are easy enough to figure out, like if someone has a vampire in a book, you don't need to be told that they're fucking bloodsuckers, but SOMETIMES I WANT AN EXPLANATION. Who knows, the vampire in that particular book could suck the juices from oranges, instead of humans.

So yeah, back to Generic High Fantasy World. Is there magic in this world? Don't fucking know. For some reason, a felbeast will appear. What the fuck is a felbeast? A...demon...thing...obvi, but STILL, SOME FUCKING EXPLANATIONS WOULD BE NICE.

Oh, and there are demon cats. Whooooooo! And felbeasts. What the fuck are they? Where the hell did they come from? ENJOY HAVING NO EXPLANATIONS AT ALL.

Into this mess of a fucking setting, enter our fucking idiot delicate flower of a heroine. Kyra is 17, a beautiful thief (well, she doesn't think she's beautiful, but OBVIOUSLY WE FIND OUT LATER THAT SHE IS, HYUK HYUK HYUK. She is a competent thief who fucks up a job, and for some reason after that, the Robin Hood-like Assassin's Guild who steal from the rich to give to the poor, only they want, nay, NEED the irrepressible Kyra's help. And then there's darkly handsome, deadly leader James who makes her heart flutter. Who makes her blush.

She was a professional, not some giddy farm girl.
“It’s what I do.”

Riiiiiiiiiiight.But no, it's not just James, there's handsome nobleman, knightly SER TRISTAM who makes her heart pound like the beating of a very small mallet.

And there was something in his eyes that hadn’t been there before. Had it only been a few weeks ago when they’d been enemies?

Much excitement. So love. Grand passion. Wow.


He was scrutinizing her, eyes wary.
“You’re different….”

And more importantly, WILL KYRA EVER STOP CRYING?

She clutched her blanket tighter and blinked back tears.

Kyra looked at him, and the forgiveness in his eyes made her want to burst into tears again.

Kyra could no longer hold her tears back.

Kyra squeezed her eyes tight against the tears that threatened to spill.

To her horror, she felt tears prickle behind her eyes.

Her body gave way to racking sobs. She lay there, curled in a ball, hugging her legs through the convulsions.

Kyra let it all out then, clutching the girls as she sobbed.

And will she ever be able to NOT fight like a kitten with its leg in a splint?

With a ragged cry, she launched herself at James, slashing wildly. There was a brief flicker of triumph on James’s face as he stepped aside, wrenching her knife arm behind her and twisting her down. She landed face-first on the ground. Two sharp kicks to the ribs knocked any remaining breath out of her.

By the way, there is also has a completely pathetic attempt at copying the premise of one of my favorite books...Poison Study. No. Don't even *snaps fingers*

“We’ve anticipated that and have instructed the healer Ilona to withhold the last few doses of antidote.”
Tristam tensed. “Sir?” he asked.
“The small amount of poison left in her body shouldn’t interfere overly much with her health,” said Willem. “We believe that the need for her final dose should motivate her to return to the Palace.”

Needless to say, just say no.

I realized, as I read to the end of the book, that the author has some seriously impressive credentials. A Ph.D from MIT, one of the best institutions of higher ed in the US. Wow. Bravo to her. I can never hope to rival her intelligence.

With that said, the education and the intelligence of the author does not necessarily make for a great book, and this is living proof. No matter how much I respect the author's smarts, this was an absolutely terrible book for me.

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review 2014-02-18 06:47
This is no Dexter
Dear Killer - Katherine Ewell

“The Perfect Killer is based in Chelsea and is a student,” I said loudly.
“You...didn’t know that,” I realized with a touch of despair. I had said too much.
I only wanted to prove my cleverness to him, seemingly using information that was public property. But instead I had given him new clues that could lead to me.


Well, way to fucking go.

This was just a terrible book. There are so many problems, I am at a loss because I'm not quite sure where to start.

So let's start from the beginning. This book is about a 17-year old female serial killer. Let's just use our literary suspension of disbelief and let this go because there is so much wrong with this book that the utter improbability of a child serial killer barely registers on the radar of incomprehensible idiocy.

Let's just believe, that 17-year old Kit is really a serial killer, groomed by good ole mommy (a gorgeous, blonde former serial killer herself, currently a Stepford Wife in disguise) to kill, since she was 9 years old.

When I was nine, we began to manage it together, and when I was twelve she let me have it all for my own. I only killed four between the ages of nine and twelve, but when I took absolute possession of the mailbox I set a quicker pace—about ten a year.

At the ripe old age of 17, Kit has developed a reputation for herself, she is known far and wide in London as the Perfect Killer. She has been responsible for over 50 deaths.

Ok, suspension of disbelief over. Now onto the real dumb shit.

The Writing & Narration: Is just terrible.

The writing is full of introspective bullshit that a 15-year old emo teenager might write in her notebook because she feels everything so strongly. It is pretentious, it makes me scratch my head. It is full of observations that just makes me laugh out loud because they are so completely ludicrous.

I wondered if the maids would be nervous too if they knew they were cleaning the house of murderers.

Note to self: NO SHIT.

Kit has the dumbest character observations. She goes into paragraphs and paragraphs to herself, wondering what a person is like, thinking about their characters, their clothes, what they're hiding beneath the surface. It doesn't come off as realistic so much as it gives us a sense that this is a pretentious teenager overthinking things. It doesn't help that her observations are of the "WELL, DUH" sort.

She had on this draped, toga-like dress patterned with green bamboo; it didn’t suit her figure, and it bothered me, but she was one of my favorite teachers despite her odd dressing habits. I’d had her a few years ago for an English class. She taught English when she wasn’t teaching philosophy, and I liked her and how she spoke. Her short black hair was no-nonsense, no-frills. She didn’t talk too fast. She took her time with things, and sometimes I even believed that she might understand me and why I killed. But I would never tell her, of course. She was legally obligated, as a teacher, to tell the police.

Note to self: NO SHIT.

Kit's long running narrative is excruciatingly painful to read. Her observations are way too much. They're just so incredibly silly.

BUT HIS EYES! HIS EYES! Kit is one of those sorts who reads everyone's emotions. And it is just terrible. .

...he looked almost upset, but the turmoil was mixed disturbingly with fury.

She seeeeeeeeeees so much into people's eyes.

His eyes tell me that he is thinking intently about something else, and also that he is sad about something or other.

The Dialogue & Kit's Acting: Artificial and utterly laughable. The characters' speech is overly flowery at times, completely wooden in others. It doesn't flow, it doesn't feel like actual dialogue.

Kit thinks she is an actress, she tries to be an actress; she feigns distress at times, and her acting is completely laughable. She yowls, she wails. I don't know quite how the other characters buy into her acts of distress when I don't believe in it myself.

“Yes, but I didn’t do it, I swear I didn’t, everyone is going to think that, but I swear I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t...,” I wailed insistently, and leaned more heavily against the window, quivering timidly. I even managed to make myself cry some more, tears leaking out of my eyes slowly.

Kit acts a LOT in this book. She pretends to be someone she's not, and it is unconvincing as hell. She pretends she's dumb. She pretends she cares. I can't pretend that I give a shit about her and her acting.

Kit's Arrogance: Kit is so fucking full of herself, I can't even deal with her. She always puts herself in a setting. She always poses. We always feel her sense of prime self-importance, and it pisses me off like nothing else. Kit appears in every scene like the prima donna in a movie.

I thought about us in our gray-walled, elegant hallway, the two slender blondes on the edge of an expensive rug, pale-skinned and frail-looking, pausing beneath famous photographs, drinking orange juice from designer glasses.

She is tallish, blonde, pretty enough, and she knows it. She constantly reminds us of how unthreatening she is, making sure that we know that she is good looking, but so self-deprecating that she doesn't really care how pretty she is.

They would see dark eyes under dark eyelashes, prominent collarbones, and a smattering of freckles dashed across a thin nose like Audrey Hepburn’s, the only truly beautiful feature of a small pale face—would they see a seventeen-year-old murderer?

The Letters: You know, for a serial killer, Kit doesn't exactly keep a low fucking profile. Everyone knows about her, it seems like everyone knows how to contact her---except for the police.

The reason is that everyone knows that there is a serial killer on the loose who takes orders to kill, all you have to do is write a letter, leave a sum of money inside the letter, and put it in a ultra special, secret "mailbox." A mailbox that everyone knows about, a mailbox where Kit comes regularly to check her mail and gets her killing orders---except for the police.

Kit gets a ton of these letters. And the police---those fuckin' incompetent, idiotic police, right? Just doesn't have a fucking clue.

Strangely few people knew about it, considering the fact that I was so famous. Not even the police knew about it. Or at least I assumed so, since they hadn’t taken control of or searched it yet.

Can you believe that? And there are a lot of fucking letters. A lot of people who knows about The Perfect Killer.

Letters nearly filled the mailbox, at least thirty of them.

The Killings: I love serial killers and I love the psychological insights that go on in the murderers' minds. There is no such complexity here. Kit and her mother can't seem to decide why they kill. They sometimes think they are playing Lady Justice.

You know why we kill. We kill because there is no justice. And without us, the world is lost—”

Except it's not true. There is no reason to these killing whatsoever other than vigilante justice, and then again, justice is delivered to those who do no wrong at all. Kit feels like she is delivering justice, when really, she is only killing for minor, stupid fucking reasons, like to avenge a lover's quarrel.

For example: Death #1; a man has done a drunk hit and run.

Dear Killer,
I had had too much to drink, maybe I shouldn’t have been driving, but I didn’t mean anything bad. I was just going home. But there was this red light and I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I drove through it—and there was this other car that swerved to avoid me, and it crashed and someone died.
I just kept driving.

Said fiancée wants the perpetrator to turn himself into the police. Said perpetrator doesn't want to do it. Said perpetrator writes a letter to Kit, ordering the earnest fiancée's death.

Kill her. Her name is Lily Kensington, and she lives at 28 Lark Place, in Chelsea. She gets home every night at nine.

Kit kills her.

I hardly call that justice.

Death #2: A crazed, obsessive lover wants Kit to kill his lover because...

It makes me angry. She makes me angry. But I love her. No one can have her but me, or I really am going to kill myself.
Please. Please kill her. If I can’t have her, no one can.

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? How is that justice?! If someone is obsessed with me, it's hardly MY fucking fault. Do I deserve to die? Yes, according to Kit.

What Psychology?: This book is largely pointless. There is no psychology involved in these murders, the reason is absolutely stupid, and Kit's justification of it makes her character inconsistent. It feels like there is no point for the murders---and I would have actually preferred it that way, because in one sentence, it feels like Kit feels nothing, and in the next, she hates herself. Her character is so incredibly incongruous. This book can't decide what it wants Kit to be.

You Expect Us To Believe...:

1. That a 25-30 year old man (and projected love interest) is unofficially in charge of a serial killer who has killed over 50?

He was young. Younger than I had expected. Much younger, in fact. He couldn’t have been older than twenty-five or thirty. I remembered that my mom had said he was only unofficially in charge of the investigation.

And naturally, very attractive.

...he had a bit of a studious feel to him, as if he were a professor or some other scholar.
He was attractive. Surprisingly so.

OH PLEASE. Let's not fool ourselves. No fucking man that young can ever be in charge of a very, very important, very, very high profile serial killer investigation. The young Scotland Yard Sergeant was injected into this story because there was a need for a hot young guy in the book. That's all.

2. That Scotland Yard needs HELP from a random 17-year old who suddenly injected herself into the case?

“I was hoping you’d come. We need a new eye here. It’s the same deal as before—an untraceable murder. It’s frustrating.”

3. That Scotland Yard would share details about a serial killer's latest victim to said 17-year old girl?

“The couch pillows are still in place,” he said angrily. “No DNA, no fingerprints, no witnesses, no broken windows or picked locks, nothing. Nothing but the body.”

4. That a 17-year old girl would be allowed onto a serial killer's crime scene?

Alex let the tape fall, and shoulder to shoulder, we walked inside. Legitimate police officers passed by me, looking very official, making me feel like a child. Once we got into the front hallway, where Lily Kensington had put her hand on my shoulder, he gestured to the room to our left.

4. That if you kill a person on black carpeting, bloodstains can't be detected?

Black carpet so the bloodstains wouldn’t help the police solve the murder.

Because really, what's luminol for, anyway? Useless shit, right. Pfft.

A Good Serial Killer Doesn't...:

1. Inject herself into the crime case: Any criminal profiling school reject knows this. Murderers constantly return to the scene of the crime and try to get themselves closer to the police to get to know the case. And it's exactly what Kit does.

I walked into the Chelsea Police Station bearing pastries and a smile.

2. Ask the police about the crime herself.

“You’re a kid. Why are you following me to work? You want something, I can tell, but I don’t know what that is.”
“Ah...well...” I laughed nervously. “I want to know about the Perfect Killer.”

3. Go back to the scene of the crime where she very recently killed someone.

When we got to the crime scene, there was crime-scene tape everywhere and a near army of reporters.
I did my best to keep them from seeing my face, given the fact that they were possible witnesses. Of course, I was subtle about it.

Subtle. Yes, because that helps so much.

4. Bumble the fuck up when getting into a victim's home.

I looked around, biting my lip. I needed to get in. Usually by this point in the conversation I was already inside.
“Actually, I have to talk to you about something,” I murmured.
“Yeah, well, whatever you want to talk to me about, we can talk right here,” she said, leaning against the doorway imposingly, making it clear that she was taller and stronger than me. Her expression was distinctly unfriendly.
“It’s...well...I don’t want to,” I said childishly, petulantly.

5. Get to know your victim for months before killing them.

“Fair enough. We’re friends, then?”
She smiled a soft smile, ever so slightly.
“Yeah. Friends.”
My stomach churned a bit.

6. Threaten a boy in front of everyone in your class...

“Stop playing games,” I hissed.
Yet again, everyone was listening. They had stopped what they were doing and they were all listening to us, wondering if we would deteriorate into physical violence again.

7. ...and then kill him and "discover" his body, at your school.

“How did you discover the body?”
“I just...went to the bathroom, and he was there, on the floor.” I shuddered.

8. Have a romantic moment over a corpse.

And here, in the hallway, despite the darkness of the situation, emotions began to float up in my chest again, accentuated and amplified by the physical closeness between Alex and me.

Fuck this book.

Quotes were taken from an uncorrected proof subject to change in the final edition.

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review 2014-02-10 07:50
The Shadow Prince - Bree Despain

You are Haden. An out-of-favor prince of the Underrealm. You are---by miracle to end all miracles, The One.

“I am the infallible voice of the universe,” the priest says, his voice echoing as the Oracle speaks through him once again. “I have chosen my Champion. The boy is the one who can save you.”

You are the savior of your people. You alone are chosen to bring the Cypher back, to restore what the Skylords have taken from the Underrealm.

So, uh, how exactly are you going to do that, young Haden?

“You’re going to have to get her to fall in love with you.”

The powers of Zeus compels thee to go fuck thyself.

This book had a lot of potential that completely and utterly failed when the girl in question appeared on the scene. To give it some credit, it was pretty interesting---at first. This book worked with the myths of Persephone and the Underworld, with quite few liberties taken on the myths of Hades.

That much of the book was enjoyable, which is to say, roughly 100 pages of the actual 512 page length of the book was actually devoted to the plot itself. The rest of the book was filler fluff. The love story between a Garu Stu and a Mary Sue.

Summary: Meet Haden. The prince of darkness. He is The One (as he loves to remind us every few pages). Fallen out of favor with his father as a young child (apparently showing emotion when your beloved mother dies is a big no-no in the Underworld), he has fought against the odds. His people have been awaiting this day for years. Meticulous amounts of planning has been put forth for this day. For today! TODAY! The Champion of the people, the savior of the Underrealm, shall be chosen!

There are no shortage of well-trained warriors, including is astounding, annoyingly perfect twin, Rowan. These hardened young warriors have all been trained within an inch of their lives in hopes of being selected for this favor.

Haden hasn't been so fortunate. He is shit out of luck. His dad (King Ren) hates him, the court thinks he is a simpering coward (who can blame them, really), his twin despises him.

Against all these well-trained warriors, Haden is kind of underwhelming. He is considered a "nursling," he has not had the appropriate training, he is completely ill-prepared for anything thrown at him.

But Haden is chosen by the Oracle, anyway.

"You are the Champion that fate has chosen to bring her to us. This quest is your destiny. The fate of the Underrealm lies on your shoulders, young Haden."

...aaaaaaaaand off Haden goes onto Earth.

Meanwhile, on Earth, specifically, Ellis Fields (Elysian Fields, get it?! Ha ha ha!), Daphne Raines lives with her mother, Demi Raines (Demi => DEMETER! SO BRILLIANT!). Her mother is overprotective...and you can't really blame her. Her daughter is the kind of girl who actually considered walking off with a stranger who showed up in the middle of her hospital room in the middle of the night (no joke, I swear).

So mommy's a little overprotective, and seriously, if you know about the myth of Persephone and Demeter, who can blame her, right? Daphne is 17. Daphne is so loyal to her mother. So loyal to her mom that it took a whole lot of convincing to get her to leave her mom to live with her rich rock-star dad who abandoned both Daphne and her mom when she was just a baby.

And by a lot of convincing, I mean, like, 2 words.

“I’m going,” I say as definitively as I can. “I want to go. This school Joe is offering is everything I’ve ever wanted. I’m going.”


Daphne is now enrolled in the super prestigious Olympus Hills High (Olympus! Like Mount Olynpus! So clever!) in Apollo Canyon (BRILLIANT!). She has an audition for this performing arts high school. She needs to practice.

Her dad is a musician. The whole house is a fucking mansion. Daphne feels the urge to go practice her audition in a grove.

Why the grove?

...the grove’s song is calling to me.

Oh. I see. Wait, what?

I am always following some sound or song, trying to find the source. That time I crashed my bike on Canyon Road and ended up in the hospital in Saint George.
"No, it was a Joshua tree. It was singing at the bottom of the hill. Its song was so pretty, I wanted to find it.”

...and that's where she meets Haden. Haden, who has never heard music in his life.

“Singing.” I know that word; I have just never heard the sound that it applies to. It has always been an abstract concept to me until now. “Is that what you call that?”


Daphne. She is his quest. She is the Cypher. According to the legend, she is supposed to come with him willingly. So, naturally, if she says "I'll come with you willingly," that works, right?

“Say you’ll come with me.” She has to say it. I advance toward her. “You have to say you’ll come.”

Because approaching a strange girl and dragging her away always works.

And if that fails, stalk her!

I need to study Daphne’s movements, just like I would with that hydra I hunted down last year for the Feast of Return. I stalked its movements for days. I knew its favorite places to go. Where it ate and slept. Where it was most vulnerable...before I made my move.

Totally not creepy at all.

But Haden is not helpless in his quest! He is a Prince of the Underrealm, after all! He has powerful tools at his disposal, tools like...the iPhone!

“It’s an iPhone,” he says. “And it’s the most important tool you’ll need in the mortal world.”

Not only that! Haden has the use of the amazing, the astounding...Youtube!

“However, this next feature is the most important.” He clicks on an icon that says YouTube and holds the phone up in front of me.

Now, if only Googling actually worked the way he intended.

My online research into “how to get a girl to like me” had suggested, time and time again, that to win a human girl over, I had to be mean to her. I’d spent the bulk of class either ignoring her, contradicting her, or acting like a “bad boy,” which I gather meant showing off my muscles and leaning back in my chair after saying something sexually derogatory.

Meanwhile, girls have been mysteriously disappearing in and around Olympus High. The Mysterious Haden might be in on it, after all, Haden is the creeper who tried to grab Daphne in the grove. Daphne knows NOTHING about Haden, as evident by her list of Things I Know About Haden Lord:

Name: Haden Lord.
Age: 16? 17?
Hair: Dark brown, almost black
Eyes: Jade green (but sometimes look like they have bright amber rings around the pupils?)
Occupation: Part-time pirate

(I'm not kidding, this is a list in the book)

He may be creepy. But he's so sexy in a vampire-pirate kind of way (her words, not mine). Haden may be responsible for the murder and/or kidnap of several girls, but SO WHAT. He's a good person. She just knows it in her soooooooul.

"How do you know he wasn’t the one who was trying to hurt her in the first place?”
I shake my head in frustration. “Because I just do. And I don’t think he had anything to do with what happened to Pear, either. I was mistaken about that. He’s not evil. He’s just different.”

Oh, wait. Haden's supposed to save his people, something like that? I'm sorry, the plot GOT COMPLETELY LOST IN THE HIGH SCHOOL THEATRICS. Literal theatrics. This is a performing arts high school, after all.


The Mary Sue: Meet Daphne. She is gorgeous without knowing it. Daphne is Amazonian in stature, stunningly blonde and tan, which is somehow better than a bitchy mean girl who is blonde and tan, just like her. Daphne is just better.

I realize then that her description would kind of match mine. Tall, tan, and blond. Though she is of the bleached variety and her tan probably comes from an airbrush—while mine is from living in the desert.

Her voice is amazing. Like Adele. Only with a better range.

My normal voice isn’t high-pitched, like most of the female singers’ on the radio. I have a lower, slightly gravelly quality. Like Adele’s. But I can also sing higher if I want.

Other girls hate her for her perfection. They admit it to her face. They sing her praises while hating her.

“You’re a natural blond, naturally fit— hello, all the mayonnaise on that sandwich—and most of all, you’re a natural singer. I, on the other hand, have to go to a stylist every six weeks to keep my hair color fabulous, do an hour of Pilates every morning to look this rocking, and I’ve had six different vocal coaches since I was five years old. I’ve had to work to get this voice. You just have it.”

"Don’t deny it, Daphne, you know you’re special. You’ve just got it, and people can see it. They can hear it.”

And speaking of other girls...

Daphne: Better Than You: Daphne is better than everyone. She does not have a single rival in the book.

Her only passable female friend (who is inferior to her), is a scholarship girl. A dull, brown mouse, unremarkable in every way. All the other girls in the book are bitches. Mean Girls, who call their own clique "The Sopranos" (performing arts high school...Sopranos! Get it? Get it?! Lol!11!1). Eveyone hates her. Everyone envies her.

Her mother is not to be trusted nor loved because she is overprotective. Her closest female friend from home conveniently disappears. The only good friend she has in the book is a guy.

The Gary Stu: The One. The Special Guy (stop reminding us). He has a special destiny. He is a savior. OK ENOUGH ALREADY. So exactly what does he do in order to fulfil his mission?

1. Falls Into Insta-love.

Energy pulses through my body, stronger than my heartbeat. The sunlight streaming through the canopy of the grove glints off her golden hair, and the curves of her body make my hands prickle with heat that is unlike what I normally experience before a surge of lightning. Her blue eyes, brighter than the mortal world’s sky, meet mine.

2. WHAT MISSION? Her hair is so pretty ;_;

A soft breeze catches her golden hair, blowing a few stray strands about her face. I feel the sudden urge to reach out and catch one in my fingers. A strange heat tingles through my body at the thought.

The Plot: Got completely lost in all the romance and all the drama of Daphne's life. She has to deal with a drunk rock star dad. She has to deal with her clingy BFF who wants to be her BF Tobin. She has to deal with all the jealousies of the girls at school. She has to prove that SHE HAZ TALENT. She has to give Haden music lessons.

What plot?

The Romance:

“He’s crazy,” I mumble to myself as I lead Joe toward the house. “He’s daft,” Joe agrees.
“He’s insane.”
“He’s mental,” Joe says.
“I don’t even think he’s human.”
“And I can’t believe I kissed him!”

That pretty much describes the romance in this book perfectly.

If that's not enough, there's a love triangle between the crazy Haden and a nice guy who is so friend-zoned you wouldn't believe.

Don't suffer through 512 pages of this.

Quotes taken from an uncorrected proof subject to change in the final edition.

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