by Ann Aguirre
To be published on August 5, 2014
by Feiwel and Friends
Source: e-galley from publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads: Revenge is a dish best served cold. Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn't imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She's not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he's impossible to forget. In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly... bad things are happening. It's a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil's bargains, she isn't sure who—or what--she can trust. Not even her own mind...My take: I've seen bloggers claim that the hardest reviews to write are the positive ones. Other reviewers disagree, arguing that the hardest ones to write are for the books you feel "meh" about. Lately, I've found a new category of hard-to-review books: those that I have both strong positive and negative feelings toward. That's the way I felt about Mortal Danger.
The synopsis of this book is tantalizingly vague, and some of my pros and cons happen to be mild spoilers. I hid the larger spoilers, but proceed at your own risk.
Pros: The overall premise of the book is definitely intriguing. As indicated in the synopsis, Edie is hungry for revenge, and makes a Faustian bargain with a mysterious stranger. That's good stuff. As part of said bargain, Edie is allowed wishes. The whole "three wishes" is one of my favorite elements of fairy tales. I mean, I could spend hours thinking of what I'd choose -- and how best to leverage those wishes. This book also incorporates folk monsters -- those spooks and ghouls that you tell stories about at sleepovers. That was also creepily appealing to me. And, without giving too much away, there's also a larger picture that I thought had potential, even if it felt a bit like a premise I'd seen before in books like Gameboard of the Gods or the Iliad.
Cons: My biggest issue with Mortal Danger was that -- and it pains me to say this -- I developed an intense dislike for Edie, the main character. I believe that in reading, as in life, you can't nitpick every single thing a person does, and I try to give my fictional characters the same benefit of the doubt. At first I sympathized with Edie. As the synopsis says, she's been horribly bullied at her exclusive school. In the opening chapters, she's alone and desperate and suicidal. At that moment of deepest despair, she catches sight of a guy and starts thinking about how hot he is. Uh ... what?? She's moments away from ending her own life, then gets completely distracted by some strange guy's "kissable mouth?" I began to lose my connection to her, and things only got worse. When Edie made her Faustian bargain, I waited eagerly to see what she'd choose as her first wish. I mean, the book makes it clear that Edie is supposed to be really, really smart. And she totally, completely let me down. (You can read her wish in the hidden spoiler below.) After that, for reasons too complicated to explain without further spoiler protection, I had to watch Edie spend an entire summer at science camp. (The pace of this book really slowed down after the first few chapters.) By the time she finally headed back to school to get revenge, things had gone way downhill between us and I wasn't even sure I was on her side anymore. Let's just say I thought she enjoyed the results of her wish a little too much, and spent too much time mooning after Kian. That was another sticking point for me: this romance was insta-love with a side of it's-sexy-when-you-stalk-me. (That first wish she made also started off their relationship on a super-creepy note.)
Kian has been watching Edie for a while. For her first wish, she chooses to be made beautiful, and he performs this magical plastic surgery to make her beautiful, which is all kinds of creepy, like Dr. Frankenstein meets Professor Henry Higgins.
In the end, I'm torn on this book. For me, YA is usually all about the characters, and if I can't get behind the main ones, it's hard for me to continue with a series. On the other hand, I feel that there's definitely the promise here of more interesting things to come. So, while I'm not throwing in the towel on these books yet, but I'll put this series on my "maybe" shelf and see what the verdict is on the second installment.
Its so hard when you end up disliking the main character, it sets a serious negative vibeReplyDelete
It doesn't happen to me that often, but when it does, it definitely makes it hard to get behind the story.Delete
I had the same feelings toward Edie. AND the results of that first wish were UBER creepy. I don't know if I'll continue this series. Which pains me because I've loved her other books so much, but this didn't even feel like something Aguirre had written. I'm waiting on reactions to the sequel, as well, before I make the ultimate call, though.ReplyDelete
This was my first book by her and I'm thinking I should try something different. I just had so many issues with Edie.Delete
It's always hard for me to enjoy a book if I don't love the main character. In fact, I tend to DNF books when that happens to me. I've heard very similar things from other bloggers about Edie. As much as I loved the concept, I don't think this is a book I'm going to rush out to purchase a copy of.ReplyDelete
"She's moments away from ending her own life, then gets completely distracted by some strange guy's"kissable mouth?""
This is especially a characteristic that I dislike in main characters sometimes. It's frustrating when they should be thinking about more serious things and they wind up thinking about stupid things like making out.
I don't like the sound of the romance either. I thought we were done with the creepy insta love + stalking kind of romance in YA, but it looks like that's not the case.
I'm sorry you didn't completely love this one, Jen, but thank you for the honest and detailed review.
That first scene got the two of us off on the wrong foot for sure, but I could have moved past that if Edie hadn't continued to do other things that just drove me nuts. I know this author's first YA series has a lot of fans, so maybe I'll try that. I'm going to consult with Starry Eyed Jen....Delete
I enjoyed the Fausten aspect too but I too was let down by this book to. The next book will make or break if I continue on with it.ReplyDelete
Let's hope things take an upward swing....Delete
Hmm, me too. I have to get in sync with the characters if not I'm doomed. Thanks for being honest.ReplyDelete
I usually manage to make some sort of connection with a character, but not this time...Delete
I agree with your review and had the same reaction to Edie (http://www.bookbinger.com/review-of-mortal-danger/). However, Ann Aguirre's Razorland series was great, particularly because she created such strong characters. So, I am going to give this new series a chance.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the link!Delete
It is hard for me to rate a book I feel I liked and disliked. I can explain what I liked and what I didn't, but I have no idea what to do when it comes to the rating. I've seen not so good reviews on this one...I'm worried now...ReplyDelete
Hopefully you will like it!Delete
I have been trying to read this book on my Kindle forever, it seems like. And sadly, I do feel the same way you do with Edie. Her nonchalance is off putting. I don't know if I can strive to finish this book, to be honest. :(ReplyDelete
The pace is really slow in the middle. It does pick up a little at the end...Delete
I've read a few mixed reviews about this book, and I definitely want to read, simply because it's the kind of book that stirs up discussion! But... lately I've read some YA where I have wanted to drag the mc out of the pages and punch them back into the book. Maybe I need to not take reading so seriously... lolReplyDelete
Give it a try! Join the fray :)Delete
...Dammit. AND IT SOUNDED SO GOOD. I mean I guess it still does sound good, but eeps! I have yet to read one of Ann Aguirre's books, but hopefully I love this more than you lol!ReplyDelete
It did sound good. So I'm sad :(Delete
Not liking the MC could be a big deal. I am a little bummed, because it sounded so dang good. Thanks for the heads up!!!ReplyDelete
It is a big deal for me.Delete
So many negative reviews for this one and I actually wanted to preorder it SO BAD. I agree with Nikki above, it looked so promising. But, yeah, when you don't like the MC, then there is a HUGE problem. Great honest review, Jen!!ReplyDelete
Lola @ Hit or Miss Books
Faustian bargain is so up my alley. But it really didn't play out that way...Delete
I think that's the make it or break it of a book for me, disliking the main character just usually leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I'm cracking up over your "insta-love with a side of it's-sexy-when-you-stalk-me" remark! I haven't read a good boy-stalks-girl story in awhile though. Is it weird that sometimes I find that sort of romance fun? Creepy, but fun.ReplyDelete
You weirdo! Just kidding... I think you're not the only one who feels that way. I guess having a guy be obsessed with you is appealing in a way, until he crosses the line to creepy stalker...Delete
I have read a few reviews now that mention they don't like Edie as much as they hoped. I don't think I'll bother to pick this one up now!ReplyDelete
When I first heard of what her first wish was I was tempted to bang my head on a wall. A lot of the other reviews I've read for this book have mentioned the main character and they agree she isn't particularly likeable and that's just a huge turn off for me because in spite of how fabulous this book sounds, I don't think I would ever be able to like the main character even a little bit and would end up not liking the book because of the time I would spend 'hating' on her *sigh*ReplyDelete
Lovely review, Jen and I am sorry the main character wasn't more likeable :(
Rashika @ The Social Potato
Oh dear. I don't like when I cannot connect to the main character, as I'm all about emotional connection in a book. She sounds annoying just from your review. This is not the first negative review I've read today, so I'm quite disappointed. I have this for review, but I might have to wait and see how later books play out before investing. Does it look like this girl could grow in the series? Major bummer!ReplyDelete
This is a tough one! I am about to read it and on the one hand I love the setup but I've seen many reviewers who also find Edie hard to connect with. Very curious to see if I'll feel the same. Thank you for this honest review!ReplyDelete
Great honest review. I will definitely read this book as I love the sound of it. Hopefully, it will not disappoint and won't be just okay for me.ReplyDelete
I just read another review that was more on the negative side about this one which is a bummer because the synopsis does sound so intriguing. The combination of a slow pace and a mostly unlikable character makes me think I'm going to pass on this one. Great honest review!ReplyDelete
So disappointing. I've been seeing poor reviews all around for this one. I'm kind of glad I didn't request it on NG now...ReplyDelete