Sunday, September 23, 2012

Parallel worlds

In the last couple of days I have read The Dark Light and Unraveling, 2 books that without me planning it, had a similar theme in which there are alternate worlds / universes co-existing with ours. Our main characters for many reasons ended up tangled within these worlds. It is fun to see a bit more of Sci-fi leaking out into the realm of Young Adult- Paranormal fare... even funnier are the nerdy references I am reading more and more of Josh Whedon, Aliens, X-Files, Fringe and Buffy *closes fist and screams out loud: Yes!*.

What caught my attention was that The Dark Light and Unraveling have in common more than alternate realities. Both stories are told from the perspective of a strong female lead who by many family issues becomes the caregiver of their younger brothers. Their families are very torn apart. Their brothers play World of Warcraft... both are falling for the outsider bad boy... both their cars are broken at some point. Both are way smarter than their previous love interest.... and on and on the list keeps on growing. It was amusing to read them both one after the other and  getting a bit mixed up on which world I was reading about.

The next 2 reviews are of these books, and since I inadvertently intertwined the topic of parallel worlds, when I chose to read on this ones, I decided it was good to have a small introduction for them. Books can be connected too in stranger worlds, now they are both coexisting in my brain.

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The Dark LightThe Dark Light by Sara Walsh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars - I had fun!!
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I did not expect the twist this book had. I have to admit that the cover, blurb and the first few chapters were deceiving. Its a plot with icing covering something unexpected: tricky-fantasy-filled story you gave us Sara Walsh.

Mia is a young girl who lives a quiet life. She is dreaming of College, has a best friend, had a Prom date and has a fun young brother who gets along very well with her. A perfect quiet life... right? Well, not so much. Many things are happening on her quiet place of the world, Crownsville. Starting with strange lights and disappearances of children on her neighbouring town and more recently on her own. When this mysterious incidents occur closer to her life than she could wish for, she takes it upon herself to try to discover the truth on everything she is seeing.

Since the beauty of this fun read is actually letting go and immersing yourself in the plot and the strange discoveries, I will stop here and will not shed any more light on the nature of Mia's adventure. Except that I hope you enjoyed visiting Brakaland as much as I did.

I will mention then the other interesting character we meet: Sol. Oh Sol, you are one of those YA bad-boys, who will definitely surprise you. And yeah, who am I kidding, you already expect it. A sweet romance between Mia and him is bound to occur (It's even in the cover!) and I liked how it was presented. However, I might have been expecting more, perhaps the way the 'truths' are revealed are not entirely of my liking. I have to admit it. I don't like it when in YA literature the guys are always hiding something and the excuse is always : 'Oh I just wanted to protect you from the truth'... Gha! as if people couldn't make their own choices of how to deal with the 'truth'... anyways... this is always my strong complaint... and it does not only happen in this book. I believe almost 80% of YA (and not only young adult) plots have this I'm-protecting-you-from-the-truth-because-I-know-better kind of narrative.

Moving on. I have to admit that the other trait that made me read this book was the fact that its a standalone novel. I love reading so much, sometimes it stresses me out the wait for the next instalments of series. I am not very patient, so I applaud and welcome standalone books. But having said that, I will contradict my desire here: I wish wish x3 that this book had a sequel! I enjoyed very much the world, the characters and the story and I feel that it is not finished. What will happen with Brakaland?

I really want to know.      

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Unraveling (Unraveling, #1)Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was a true fan of the X-Files, watching it whenever I had the chance. I Still Believe and I am SURE the truth is out there. This my dear readers is actually one of the good things I can tell you that I enjoyed about this book. It fell like an extended episode from Mulder and Scully's investigations for YA, especially since the book was not shy at all to bring you quirky references of this Series. However, this book also felt like a Fringe episode. With freaky science and strange deaths. But I enjoyed the non-stop action that started after we discover the countdown. It reminded me of 24 and Jack Bauer's race against a ticking clock. Each chapter has these numbers counting down and down and down... but at some point, I just stopped even caring about checking these numbers up. It was not important.

All and all I found enjoyable these popular culture reminiscent and its references in some occasions, I was interested in the story and the parallel world. The book feels more like an amalgamation of all these cool Sci-Fi series, poured down carefully into a YA romance/adventure structure.

I found the main character a bit too cocky during her quest for the truth...don't get me wrong. I am always up for good smarty-pants leads, but the whole... I am doing FBI investigations as well... oh wow, yeah... maybe-maybe I think she was way over her head. Or maybe I am becoming more and more wary of naivety, choices and actions.
Ben feels like another stereotyped love interest: I'm mysterious, cute, yet I am hiding beneath a stoner facade, I am smart and have a secret crush on the main character...  yes... really? Please give me something new. Yes, pleassseee?

I once read somewhere that words have no meaning, but read actions and they will show you truth. Janelle's actions are not very connected to what she is thinking. I know that her world, family and reality were being shattered, but seriously? trying to get answers at gun-point is not something I perceive as very smart...
On the other hand, Ben acts beautifully, and he is shown to have his brains and heart in a good place. I appreciated this.

Will I read its sequel, yes!

Will I recommend this book to another reader, I don't think so... with all the amazing books out there, I felt that this is just another one to add to my "it's okay" pile.


View all my reviews

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