Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a crime thriller sequel I loved and the first book of a YA fantasy series I’ve been meaning to read for ages and was hoping would be a new favorite, but sadly ended up DNFing instead.
“You see cases as puzzles and whatever it is that’s so different in your brain makes it possible for you to solve them the way no one else can.”
I finally met Will Trent last month, and after a successful first meeting I’ve been looking forward to continue the series. And the sequel Fractured without doubt didn’t disappoint! I had a great time meeting up with Will Trent again and learning more about his character in the process… And I really liked the introduction of new character Faith Mitchell too; she seems like an interesting character that will balance out Will in the future. Kuddos to the author for shining a light on dyslexia with the help of Will’s character as well as more than one other character in play. The case in Fractured is another intriguing one, although not as impactful as the first book. The development of the kidnapping case and the investigation were interesting to follow, but it was quite obvious who would be behind it all early on (or at least I guessed it correctly). This put a minor damper on things as I didn’t expect to be actually right about it all, but as a whole this sequel is still more than a solid read and I will be looking forward to continue the series after I read the Grant County books.
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic
First published: January 31st 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Finished reading: January 17th 2021
DNF at 35% (146 pages)
“The image of a purple, fire-breathing dragon came to mind, coating her vision with ashy shades of anxiety.”
Warning: unpopular opinion review ahead!
So… Caraval. I’ve been meaning to try this trilogy ever since the first book came out in 2017, as it sounded like a truly magical experience and the Caraval game sounded like the perfect backdrop for a successful story. So many people seem to love this series as well, so I was completely expecting to be adding a new favorite to my list… But in the end it wasn’t ment to be. I was looking forward to something magical, but somehow this story wasn’t able to enchant me at all. Instead, I felt mostly underwhelmed and SO frustrated I ended up throwing in the towel and not even finishing it… I’ll try to explain my reasons briefly below.
There were multiple reasons that contributed to my decision to DNF, but the first thing that stands out is the writing style itself. I’m sorry to say that the writing style and me clashed enormously. I was hoping to find elaborate and lush prose and wonderful descriptions, but instead I encountered the strangest metaphors, similes and nonsensical phrases that started to frustrated and even infuriate me every time they popped up. Examples?
“He wore his plum-colored gloves, the shade of dark bruises and power.”
“…she could smell the moon, thick candle wax dancing with the salty scent of the ocean, full and glowing.”
“A ruby welt bloomed across his cheek. The color of rage and punishment.”
“…she was feeling sage-shades colors of suspicion as well.”
“…while soft golden lights licked her arms with gentle kisses of warmth.”
“She felt as if she could taste the red of the curtains. Chocolate cake drenched in wine.”
“She felt five different shades of berry-colored foolish as she walked away.”
I could go on and on with these quotes… But I guess I have probably made my point by now. I have lost count of how many times I said WTF out loud to myself as my eyebrows raised themselves so high I almost sprained them. Like I said before, I love a lush description, but this just didn’t made sense at all and felt like the author was trying way too hard… On top of this, these phrases were contrasted with other parts that sounded way too juvenile, and the two different styles clashed instead of complementing each other.
Right. Let’s continue with some of the other issues. Another reasons I couldn’t make myself continue reading was the main character Scarlett, and the rest of the cast for that matter. Scarlett is absolutely annoying and I feel her character wasn’t really developed beyond the whole ‘saving herself and her sister by marrying the mysterious count’ part. The promise of romance felt rather uncomfortable and sloppy, and the whole constant ‘Crimson‘ by Julian somehow infuriated me considerably. I could also smell a love triangle coming up… I’m not sure if that actually happens, but as I couldn’t stand any of the characters in the first place I honestly didn’t care to stick around to see if another pet peeve would come true.
Last, but not least: the worldbuilding and especially the magic. I really felt it was all rather vague and what could have been one of the strongest aspects of the story (I mean, Isla De Los Sueños and the game itself sound so magical!), I felt it was all rushed over in favor of more nonsensical phrases and random things happening. I know this might have improved in the rest of the story, but at this point I had already read one too many weird metaphor and with the ‘periwinkle curiosity prickled her senses’ it was game over and goodbye for me. I’m glad so many people do seem to love this trilogy though! But I guess we can conclude Caraval most definitely wasn’t my cup of tea.