I like how practically every review on the front page for this book is either 5 stars or 1 star. Obviously this is a pretty polarizing YA book right here, but I myself did not have such an extreme take on it. There was stuff I liked about it, and stuff I didn't, and ultimately I ended up pretty neutral about this whole thing.What I Liked
- The setting. It may not have been particularly true to any location in the South (I never really got a hugely Southern feel even with the author reminding me every few sentences where the book is set), but the town itself did have a heck of a lot more personality than most towns in literature get. I actually had some idea of how to navigate around Gatlin, and I actually remember the name of the place without looking at the book! That's pretty good.
- The supernatural concept. I normally don't like books about witches. They end up being hokey, stereotypical and a whole host of other things I don't like. But Casters, while basically witches, were cool. I definitely got the feeling that there's much more about the concept that's lurking behind the pages, to be fleshed out in future books, but there was enough resolution that I didn't feel too cheated. Okay, I felt a little cheated. See below.
- The myriad of characters with unique personalities. Often it seems like in YA books, especially ones with romance, that the main characters are completely wrapped up in each other. Other characters end up on the periphery and serve only to cause conflict or for humor value. In this book it seemed as though another book could've been written about any of the other characters. Everyone had some bit of interesting backstory.What I Didn't Like
- In a small town/city like Gatlin, the library would not be empty no matter how people felt about the "head librarian." Everyone would be there, on the computers.
- Lena and Ethan are far too mature for their ages. Ethan in particular never once felt like a sixteen-year-old to me. Even Ethan's crazy sidekick Link (who constantly made me think of Legend of Zelda
) seemed too mature. They would've been better suited for this story to happen when they were out of college, at least.
- Not enough conflict. There were several villains in the story and they all sort of felt tacked on or shoddily created, and it feels like they're there to pad the page count and create false drama when I'd really rather be reading about the actual source of conflict.
- Sucky ending. I know it's a series, but dang it I just read 800 pages and I wanted a little more. I don't want to go into detail since I don't want to spoilerize this review, but honestly...
- The accent didn't need to be in the dialogue. I didn't really need to read "a" for "of" in every single sentence. It felt like another cheap way for the author to remind us this is the South. It wasn't noticeable enough that I could use it to tell when other characters weren't
from the South, so it didn't need to be there at all.
- TOO. LONG. Just like this review is getting.