Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis

Give the Dark My Love (Give the Dark My Love, #1)Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A tiring experience, not nearly immersive enough to outweigh its cruelness. 

I’m really on a fence with this one. On one side, this book gets pretty dark and tries to appeal to more mature readers by talking about heavier moral issues and questions of life and death, and it isn’t bad per se.
On the other, it still features the very YA shallow writing and world-building, dismissal of supporting characters… including the one who was probably supposed to be the second main character, since he gets his own POV and all, but ended up a repeatedly dismissed in both writing and story as a  shallow insta-romance love interest (I can’t say I counted, but the Nedra/Grey chapter ratio is something like 3-4/1, and a lot of Grey chapters are hardly longer than 1 page… I mean, why even do it if he can be so easily dismissed?).
The biggest issue I have with this book is with the way it ‘skims’ over everything, barely touching the surface. The time flies, days, weeks, months, lives, are only mentioned flying by, the flow of time doesn’t feel real, the reader has no chance to plant their feet in the world and look around, see how they feel about all of it. Nedra is strong, talented, clever, and mature girl… but she is also single-minded, closed-minded, arrogant, and dismissive in a very unpleasant way. I didn’t like reading in her 1st person POV because it was full of ‘I know what is best and everyone needs and appreciates me, and if they don’t understand how important what I do is they are clearly useless’, which was made worse by the shallow world-building that made it hard to feel the horrors of the plague real and see what was really going on in the world that it would make Nedra’s attitude at least more proportionate. I do not want to go in details to spoil the actual story content, but every time she would act almost likable and say something reasonable, it felt like a ‘fluke’ (or like the author/editor had to add it as an afterthought) and then she go back on it right away or acts like it was a mistake to feel anything human. Nedra is a tiring character to follow, but the Grey is written so shallowly he is even worse…

And that was the impression I got from this book – it’s not bad enough to actually hate it, but it’s so tiring to read and not nearly immersive enough to compensate for its cruelness.

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how interesting it is, to realise
that feeling a book as a physical thing,
being able to feel its weight and touch the paper, and probably most importantly smell it,
is as important part of “reading” as the text itself

I have a habit of pausing to smell the pages, while digesting some words and thoughts, when I read… and if I can have this ritual, reading doesn’t go as well for me.

Sometimes I put away reading and watching my favourite stories ’till the right time comes’ for years,
Or sometimes I’ll stop reading/watching something in the middle, not because I don’t like it, but because I like it a little too much.
These stories that I feel I have some connection with, get a little too deep into me, and whatever I feel emotionally almost hurts me physically.

I was in middle school when I watched The Two Towers for the very first time in the cinema, and almost had some strange kind of panic/heart attack, driving home through the night in my father’s car. It was a dark road through a forest, and my heart was hurting, and my head felt like I left it back in the movie world, right there on the walls of Hornburg, and I couldn’t breathe.
And that’s how I learned that I might be a little too impressionable towards the things I like.
Then there also was a mistake of watching all episodes of old Berserk after all episodes of Ayashi no Ceres in one day/night, after which I couldn’t walk straight for three days.

The point is, I feel bad about it, but I really can’t make myself watch/read some of my most favorite things just because they hurt too much and I think it’s kind of unfair.

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

Heart of Iron (Heart of Iron, #1)Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s packed with good ideas, but betrayed by rushed execution.

It’s a good book. And while I liked the story and think that it’s pleasantly enough written, here’s why it’s 4 stars and not 5:
-It feels underdeveloped and rushed. Like a movie instead of a book. Or like someone took a much longer and complicated novel and made an abridged version of it. There were very nice ideas and moments, but it didn’t feel like they were explored. I honestly felt like I was being rushed through the story, without getting the full experience.
-Perhaps related to the previous point, but it also asks the reader to take for granted a lot of things without explaining how they really work in the world. Or much about the world in general.
-It didn’t really escape the ‘teenage heroine that makes you want to smack her for her stupidity’ curse of YA literature. I don’t know if it got a bit better towards the end, or if I just got used to it.
-There were cringy moments that personally rubbed me the wrong way. Felt like cringingness for the sake of cringingness – and while I know some people are fans of that, I am not.

I do think it’s good read… if you don’t mind being left with more questions than answers and completing the world you’re reading about in your head instead of getting it from the book, or feeling like you just watched a nice sci-fi movie, instead of reading a novel, and I also think I’ll try to pick up the sequel when it comes out, but I do think it leaves a pretty noticeable ‘something’s missing’ aftertaste.

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Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1)Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book captivating enough to make me ignore the fact that I hate a lot of its ideas.

This book is written well enough so that I couldn’t stop turning pages, even though after every chapter I kept thinking “torture, intrigues, love triangles, spies, and disgusting people who get off humiliating others? I like none of those things and don’t really want to be reading about them… especially now”. In fact I actually had to skip through some of the more unpleasant parts closer to the end.
And yet, I think this is one of the better YA books out there, just from the way it’s written, especially for people who don’t mind the above mentioned.

I do sincerely hope, thought, that the second book will contain less of the themes I hate to read through, and more of new original ideas and good writing. Though I’ll probably buy it regardless, since I’m interested to see where the story will go.

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