Saturday, October 17, 2009
Beware of the hype
There has been some hype for this book. I was excited to read it when I learned it took place in the Victorian Era and was also about Upstate New York.
At first Lia doesn't understand why she had a tattoo on her arm, or why she has strange dreams or hears voices. As time goes by she learns that all the strange experiences she encounters has to do with an ancient prophecy.
Lia and her sister Alice are part of the prophecy. One sister is evil, the other is good. The bad sister will release the Devil into the world and it is the good sister's job to keep that from happening. Lia must find out which role she has in this prophecy. As she is doing this Lia is mourning her father's death, trying not to be distracted by her budding romance with James and caring for her sick brother Henry.
The book sounds cool, and that's the problem. It sounds better than it actually is.
The historical detail in this book is nonexistent unless you count the mention of servants and carriages as historical detail. There is no description of dresses, traditions, manners, mourning customs etc. etc. The reader doesn't get a sense of the time period. In fact, this book could easily take place during 2009. I think that's a huge injustice and makes me wonder why I have spent four years researching my historical fiction novel. Maybe I am just a HF purists? Maybe teens don't care about getting a feel for the time period, but that can't possibly be true. Is it?
The evil sister was hardly in the book. I was expecting more sinister behavior, more backstabbing more...something. If you are expecting a battle royal, be prepared to be disappointing. Most of the time Alice is busy telling her sister to go to the dark side. I found it very dull. Where's the action? Where is the sense of danger? I felt cheated.
The book is good, but not great. I think I was expecting more from the glowing reviews and the hype.
I think students who are enjoying the urban fantasy crazy and those who like the Gemma Doyle series will enjoy this one.