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Confessions of a Bibliophile

An aspiring writer and bookstore employee with an incredibly bad book-buying habit... I'll read just about anything (so long as it will appeal to my interests in some way), but my main loves are YA and sci-fi/fantasy. I also like quirky history and science books and will book nerd. A lot. Currently in the process of weeding out my personal library. Find me on Twitter @princess_starr or check out my YA book, Snowfall, on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240027

Wake (Watersong, #1)

Wake (Watersong, #1) - Amanda Hocking Note: The “Best of 2012” tag refers to books I received at work for our Best of the Year program. I put those under one tag so I can find my reviews easily. It does not reflect my actual opinion.I give Amanda Hocking credit for one thing—she knows how to market her books. Given that I did pay .99 for Switched just to see what the fuss was about, I’d say it worked. It also backfired on my case, because I detested Switched and refused to read another book by her. And if I didn’t have to read Wake for work, I would have ignored it and never added it to my shelves at all.But I did have to read Wake. And I even thought to myself, “Well, maybe that she’s got an editor and more publishing experience, maybe it’s not as bad as the first one was.” And I will also say this about Amanda Hocking. I don’t think she’s a terrible writer. I think she’s an excessively mediocre writer who can come up with ideas but can’t characterize or develop a plot for the life of her. Wake follows the same exact paranormal formula that Switched did: Girl finds out/develops supernatural abilities. One hundred pages of nothing happening. Love interest. Girl abandons normal life. Cliffhanger. That alone knocked this book down to two stars for me. Nothing happens for half the book. And then Gemma gets turned into a mermaid. Then another seventy pages of nothing happening. To use two of the most horrifying words in the Whedonverse, “Bored now.”What really raises my ire and marked Amanda Hocking on my “Never again” list of authors are four reasons:1. Gemma’s swimming career: She had to be an Olympic hopeful. I get why Gemma had to like swimming; obviously, you can’t have a mermaid novel with an aquaphobic mermaid. (Although that would be infinitely more interesting.) But she had to make Gemma a competitive swimmer. Okay, look. I swam for two years in middle school, because I liked to swim. And I quit because I realized that I’m not a good athlete and not very competitive and the competition took the fun out of it. All Gemma being on the swim team accomplishes is that hey, she’s getting faster and stronger! That’s it. Nothing more. The Olympic hopeful bit pissed me off, because she plays up into it every time it gets mentioned. And by the way, just swimming at all hours of the day does not make a strong swimming. There is weight training, dieting…I really want to give this to my old swim coach and see him go into a rage fit over Gemma’s training regime throughout the day. 2. Everyone is an idiot: This is one of those books that gives YA a bad name. Everyone in this book carries the idiot ball and it hurts and insults my intelligence. Examples:-Every time the character Bernie shows up, we have to be reminded that Gemma and Harper’s dad is friends with him and the girls spent summers on his island. Not once. Every time he’s mentioned.-Apparently, four boys have gone missing in the last two months. No one is worried about this at all. Until it’s plot important.-These wonderful gems from Gemma’s mouth: (In regards to Greek mythology): “Those are really ridiculous names,” Gemma commented. “Didn’t anybody go by Mary or Judy back then?”“I know, right?” Lexi laughed. “Things are so much easier to spell now.”*hisses*And,“So, what is the blood of a mortal?” Gemma asked. “Is that like tears?”“No, that’s blood.” Penn looked at her like she was a moron.NO KIDDING.3. The mythologyLet me state this once and for all for anyone wanting to bring in Greek mythology in their mermaid book. SIRENS ARE NOT FUCKING MERMAIDS.The irony is I’ve been so used to the “sirens = mermaids” confusion because it’s so fucking prevalent in media. I hate it, but I deal with it. And it would have been fine here if the mermaids said something along the lines of “Oh, we prefer sirens because we are so omg hip and cool.” But no. No. When you bring in actual mythology and still throw in the mermaid bit YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. AND NO. You do not get points because your ‘sirens’ have an alternate bird form. You still used actual Greek myth to set up your backstory. OH. And btw. YOU DO NOT REFER TO PERSEPHONE AS A BITCH. It’s a fucking stupid thing to throw in the backstory. If you wanted Lexi to be justified in hating the gods, here’s a really good reason: Most of the Greek pantheon were assholes. You didn’t have to throw in the fact that they couldn’t be bothered to find Persephone—and in fact, that makes me like the mermaids less. (Do not slander Persephone. She is awesome and better than this tripe. *loves on Persephone*)(Btw, I have very little issues with people playing with Greek mythology—hell, *I’ve* done it. Even when it’s something like Disney’s Hercules that so badly messes up the source material, I can take it on its own merits. But when you use actual myth in the book and still fuck it up--*frustrated scream*)The mythology alone could’ve knocked this down to one star for me. But then Hocking has to go and pull this:4. Gemma and Harper’s motherWOW. Wow. I don’t even. I think this is the lowest way to make ineffectual parents in a YA novel ever. Apparently, brain damage gives you the mentality of a thirteen year old girl, right down to the temper tantrums and being a Belieber. It’s another stupid excuse to shove tragic backstory for the characters, and it really pisses me off more because it’s an insulting way to do so.Switched had already left a bad taste in my mouth. But, as noted above, I was willing to give Wake a fair shot, despite my previous disinterest. Having now read it, I can honestly say that I will not be as willing to read another book by Amanda Hocking in the future.