Showing posts from April, 2016

Review Revision: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

OK. I was wrong. Red Queen isn’t as terribly awful as my first review claims. My dear readers, I have a confession to make: sometimes I make the mistake of reading and judging a book as an adult writer, instead of considering the literary needs of teenagers. Sometimes, after dashing off a hasty adult-biased review, I’ll find myself thinking about the offending story-world long after I’ve finished the book, and I’ll think, “Maybe I’ll give it another shot.” (This happens more times than I care to admit.)

Red Queen was one of those books. I think the reason why I initially didn’t like it the first time around was due to the novel’s audiobook version. The reader had a perfectly fine voice, but for some reason, every time she took on the condescending tone of one of Mare’s enemies (mainly to say something like, “Watch yourself, little lightning girl”) it drove me up the wall. After suffering through several hours of this, I finally just had to turn off my car’s CD player three-quarters of …

A Well-Meaning But Ineffective Tragedy

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (Sourcebooks Fire, 2016, 288pp.)
During a welcome-back assembly at a rural American high school, Ty Browne, a former student, slips inside the auditorium and locks the doors, trapping everyone inside. When the staff and students realize that something is wrong, he pulls out a gun and starts shooting. The ensuing horror is seen through the eyes of four students, each of whom struggles valiantly to live through the next fifty-four minutes. Unfortunately, not all will survive.
Although this is unfortunately going to be a negative review, I have to start off by applauding the author’s effort to mine an incredibly painful topic. She was also very creative with the way she interspersed blog posts, Twitter feeds, and text messages throughout her prose. However, I’m afraid that’s where my praise is going to stop, because overall, I found Nijkamp’s debut novel to be pretty shallow. What else do you call a story where non-descript students and staff are di…