I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!
Well, happily, I can check another book off of my mountainous TBR that I missed and had to go back to. Since I first laid eyes upon this book, with its eerie cover and gothic sounding synopsis, I've wanted to read it. Sadly, I can't say that I enjoyed it as much as I hoped to. There was just too much about it that I couldn't quite bring myself to overlook.
Let's start with the good. The writing falls into this category. With only a few small exceptions, the writing does elicit a gothic feel and does a stellar job of bringing the setting to life. I could smell the ocean air and see the ramshackle manor house that our characters inhabited. While the prose may have been a little airy at times, it definitely evoked that sense of otherness that I love about books like this. A house filled with secrets, a mysterious past, the quest for knowledge, all of it spoke to me. I could feel the tension, and it was wonderful. If you'd asked me to rate this book after the first two chapters, it would have been five stars all the way.
However the more I read the less I found to love. Violet, our main character, never caught my attention. Completely skipping over the fact that she falls in insta-love with River (which I despise, but at least was slightly explained away), her overall personality drove me insane. She was always trying to make sense of things, and yet it just made things more confusing for the reader. One moment Sunshine wasn't Violet's friend, but simply a neighbor. The next, Violet was upset that Sunshine was never on her side. Why would she be? She isn't your friend, is she? Her feelings flip flopped like that through the whole book, regarding all of the other characters. By the time the prospect of a love triangle was introduced, I wanted to scream in anger.
Add in the fact that her character never really grew at all, and I was a very frustrated reader. None of the characters really grew, to be honest. In fact, I felt like most of them could have been left out and nothing would have been different. If it were only just Violet and River, we'd probably have a very similar story. Truth be told, I felt like the only reason Sunshine was even in this story in the first place to was to be a foil to our young Violet. One girl pure, the other not so much. One girl decisive, to the point of recklessness at times, the other always over thinking things. Sunshine made Violet look like an angel and, while that is likely what was intended, it made me dislike her all the more for her poor decisions.
What can I say? It's tough for me to love a book when the characters and I clash. Weak-willed Violet, frustratingly evil but randomly attractive River, and even masochistic Logan, all made me want to quit early on. I finished more from a curiosity at how this would end than anything else. Pity, really. It's such a gorgeous cover.