Friday, December 21, 2012

Entangled (Spellbound #1), by Nikki Jefford

Barnes & Noble

Two months after dying, seventeen-year-old witch Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene’s body.

Until Gray finds a way back inside her own body, she’s stuck being Charlene every twenty-hour hours. Her sister has left precise instructions on how Gray should dress and behave. Looking like a prep isn’t half as bad as hanging out with Charlene’s snotty friends and gropey boyfriend.

The “normals” of McKinley High might be quick to write her behavior off as post-traumatic stress, but warlock Raj McKenna is the only person who suspects Gray has returned from the dead.

Now Gray has to solve the mystery of her death and resurrection and disentangle herself from Charlene’s body before she disappears for good.

I stumbled across this book on NetGalley and was thrilled when I saw that it was available to read & review. Talk about an awesome premise! Unfortunately, the book was lacking in many ways and I had trouble finishing it. Had I purchased it or borrowed it from the library, I would have stopped reading after the first chapter. It took me three days to get through the whole book; I dreaded turning my Kindle back on.

But first, the good:
  • I swooned when I first saw the cover. Yeah, yeah: don't-judge-a-book-by-its-cover and all that, but I admit to being a cover snob. The cover art is gorgeous!
  • The concept is original. In a market that is flooded with paranormally-inclined teenagers, it's refreshing to find a new twist.

And now, the rest:
  • As much as I love the cover, it has absolutely nothing to do with the story. Except that the book starts in February. So...maybe?
  • Within the first few pages, the reader is introduced to several characters at the same time. It was very confusing. Not a good sign of things to come.
  • Graylee, the heroine of the novel, complains about the clothes she's wearing almost immediately. Assuming that a 17-year-old girl is able to dress herself, this is just silly. And I don't understand why her standard "uniform" consists of tights under shorts in the middle of winter.
  • One of the characters has a "pear-shaped head". I have two problems with this: 1) I had to Google it to know what that means and how to picture it in my head; and 2) this poor guy is described as such no less than a half-dozen times.
  • The timeline is hard to follow. Graylee will be at school doing whatever and the next paragraph describes a completely different scene. No transitions. This happens throughout the book and is incredibly frustrating.
  • Flat, stereotypical characters: good/bad twins; simpering, neglectful, or too-strict parents; the studious girl with glasses who dresses like a staid matron; the bad boy who's just misunderstood; etc. I didn't connect with any of the characters. In fact, I disliked ALL of them.
  • Slut shaming. Newsflash! A girl who has sex with a boy, or who makes out with a string of boys over a period of time, OR who *gasp* has sex with more than one guy IS. NOT. A. SLUT! NOR is she a slut for wearing skimpy clothes. I absolutely hate it when female authors slut shame their characters.
  • Unbelievable love interest. Graylee and Raj go from trying to kill each other (really! attempted murder!) to lusting after each other for no discernible reason.
  • Unbelievable love triangle.
  • Forced drama where none existed.
  • Unclear motivation for any of the characters.
  • Magic spells for everything! 
  • Raj's mother: 1) after Raj burned down the house, why didn't she ask her son what happened that night?; 2) is "...tall, slim, dark skinned with with straight silky hair that flowed past her shoulders...She was no blond next door and certainly hadn't adopted the friendly American smile. Because all Americans are blond and smile all the time? Awful--and incorrect--stereotype.
  • When a boy breaks up with a girl and starts dating someone new, IT IS NOT THE NEW GIRLFRIEND'S FAULT. 
  • Attempted murder (and not just between Raj and Graylee) is no big deal.
  • Graylee is found to have died of...death. Yep, Sudden Unexplained Death Syndrome.
  • After finding out that she's been dead for two months, Graylee barely reacts. I'd like to think that I'd freak out about it.
  • Graylee's mom: 1) said to Graylee "My life could never go on without you." Um, except that it did, as she was still alive; 2) is not on a first-name basis with the parents of Charlene's long-time boyfriend; 3) blowing off threats of suicide. Suicide is not a joke. If you have a character who is actually trying to harm herself, don't have her mother say "she just needs some time alone." I about threw my Kindle across the room; 4) a girl is allowed to date/get to know more than one boy at a time. She does not, in fact, have to make a decision and choose between them when she barely knows either one.
  • A teacher who seduces a 15-year-old and has "a thing for adolescent[s]" is a pedophile. The student is a victim. It is inappropriate to joke about a female teacher sleeping with her "I.e.:[sic] horny" young male students. (And that should be e.g., no uppercase letter, and no colon.)
  • Speaking of grammar, I cringed over and over and over.
  • Boys have feelings and need support. To state otherwise does a disservice to the male sex. We are long past the Me-Tarzan-You-Jane era.
  • Does anyone actually think that laryngitis is contagious?

So, yeah. I really do think that the premise is great. But the story needs A LOT of work: peer reviews; writing groups; editors; etc.

I will definitely not be continuing with the series.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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