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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
The Stars Fell Sideways - Cassandra Marshall I was genuinely interested in this book—I saw it on a few giveaways on Goodreads, thought the premise was kinda interesting, and hey let’s give it a shot. Ugh. This is completely boring and so by the numbers. I don't outright hate it, but the lack of any build-up or follow-through or semblance of a plot for the majority of the book just...argh. (I've actually sat here for the past few minutes debating between one and two stars. Guess where I went.) Let’s start with the whole Atlantean society. The one thing that this premise has got going for it is that the citizens of Atlantis are all survivors/descendents of shipwrecks. (I honestly can’t tell which one it is—I prefer descendents who haven’t really progressed past early 19th century) . There are mentions of an earlier Atlantean society, but by the time this plot actually starts, they’re gone. (And no one is a secret lost descendant who can magically activate the “Book of Blue.”) However, the rest of the world-building is lazy and sloppy. For the YA authors who think world-building amounts to giving specific towns specific industries: STOP IT. OR if you’re going to do that, do your damn research first. There are REASONS why, say, Napa Valley is wine-country, not just because “Oh, well, that’s where they make wine!” And just because a certain area is known for a particular industry, it’s not necessarily the sole industry in that area. Also, it screams “I’m ripping off Suzanne Collins!” (Who is partially guilty of this, although she does try to highlight other industries in District 12.) And then the steampunk aesthetic. Hoo boy. As any steampunk aficionado will tell you, the worst form of steampunk is just sticking cogs and gears on it. Because it looks pretty. There is one steampunk machine in this entire book. It’s used to escort our characters to the main town. That is it. The rest of the cogs and gears are there to look pretty. There is nothing to tell me that this is supposed to be another world, lost out of time—oh wait? They have outdated traditions and ideologies? Yeah, still not buying it. (Guys, research. It’s not a big scary monster hiding out in the library. It can be quite fun and you can pick up some really interesting things you could probably work into the plot that feel original.)There’s some semblance of a plot, although what it has to do with our characters, I have no idea. There’s a lot of talk about a prophecy of how when the island’s power is unbalanced, “the stars will fall sideways.” And then we have our main character Allison gets recruited to find the Book of Blue (said book of prophecy) but it turns out that the second-in-command is corrupt and wants to take over and I don’t care. I know Allison and the others are outsiders to this society, but there’s no effort to even introduce the society and why Allison is so out of place. It’s just “Oh, well, they’re old-fashioned! They’re shocked that I want to show my legs! *gasp* I’ll show them!” *headdesk* The evil takeover plot. The second-in-command, only referred to ever as the Captain (does he have a name that’s ever mentioned more than once?!) is evil because….Allison told him about stuff like nuclear weapons! And 9/11! And that there’s dangerous weapons out there, in our world! And there’s one whole town, just devoted to military training! He’s evil! NO. Just…gah, NO! There’s no build-up, not even a set-up to his character. We see the Captain ONCE and then he’s off-screen for about 75% of the book. Oh, and the prophecy? Well, it’s actually more like an instruction manual, because it says that if anyone tries to sit on the throne of Atlantis, it triggers a mechanism that flips the entire island over to ‘start anew.’ IT’S THE GODDAMN DONKEY WHEEL FROM LOST WITHOUT THE TIME TRAVEL AND PHYSICS. AND THAT’S NOT A PROPHECY. Prophecies are vague and frustrating and normally the people they are concerned with figure the prophecy out once they fulfill it. (And have completely screwed up their lives in the process.)The characters are trite and boring. Aside from the laughable explanation that Allison is working as a stunt double on a shoot unsupervised (y’know, aside from the laughable explanation that Allison is a teenage stunt double. Ten seconds googling California Child Labor Laws), there’s real nothing that screams to me that’s she’s action girl! Hell, we never get any physical consequences of all the physical work Allison does—she just drinks a healing potion and she’s fine! Allison is c&p YA heroine—well, she technically she doesn’t have a boy to moon over for half the book. (And I don’t even remember her actual love interest’s name because they barely have any scenes together before making out before the climax and I don’t care.) It’s another case of I’m supposed to sympathize with the poor plain girl because she keeps getting picked on by the mean popular girl. And also, DIAF Pom. Everyone else is just as forgettable and boring as our main leads, including the stupid bullshit excuse of having a gay male character. (Do not remind me about Erik and how fucking stupid that was.) If I may repeat myself, I. Don’t. Care.It’s not at the level of terribly awful (aside from the gay reveal) that made me want to scream and hurl my Kindle against the wall. But it’s—it’s so boring and predictable and doesn’t even try to do anything interesting with it, or that the interesting bits are never expanded on. I can honestly not recommend this—there are better books out there that even when the author goes for predictable, they make it interesting. Skip this book.