Today is my 2 year anniversary with WordPress! In honor of this, today I will be reviewing 2 books (I know, not much of a celebration, if you feel the need to find some confetti or something go for it). Maybe this makes up a little for how long it’s been since I posted anything? Anyways, here’s the double feature:
Intrepid by J. D. Brewer (Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)
I’m a big fan of J. D. Brewer’s writing style, but this story just fell flat and cliche to me. It wasn’t bad, but it was not as exciting as I had hoped. Intrepid follows Texi, a teen living in middle-of-nowhere Texas, who suddenly finds out that she is not as normal as she thought. I can’t say much on this without giving away most of the book, but I’m sure that within a few guesses anyone familiar with the YA dystopia genre could figure out the general plot of the book. The setting, however, is incredibly creative. The world Brewer forms and places Texi in belongs almost as much in a philosophy discussion as it does a novel. Texi lives in the Multiverse, a physical example of the theory of parallel universes which I have not encountered in casual reading before. This unique concept is infused into every detail of the story, and worked out incredibly well. This world is so complex, yet everything fits together coherently; Brewer has definitely spent a ton of time into developing this world. The setting and background of the story vastly outshines the actual plot, which is a significant disappointment. I just couldn’t get into the story; the relationships between father and daughter, friends, and mentor and student didn’t gel, and the plot lagged. Also, the ending was so abrupt that I still (a day after finishing the book) feel no closure at it. The ending made no sense. Unless there is a sequel in the works, which I haven’t heard of, I just don’t see how anyone could be comfortable with the amount of loose ends left and the suddenness of the ending. There is a good amount of personal development for Texi, and her characterization is solid, but at the expense of some of the secondary characters. There is another main character, a boy names Liam who is “similar but not the same as” Texi, but I we don’t get to know him as thoroughly as we do Texi. His chapters interrupt hers; I feel like he would have worked better as a minor character whose mind we do not know, rather than trying to tell his story at the same time as Texi’s. Texi just takes over the story, and still manages to fall into cliche and eye-rolling tropes which detract from the excitement her story ought to generate.
I hesitantly give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars, because there are some really cool parts of Intrepid which make me want to rank it higher, but overall I just did not enjoy it. I would recommend it to anyone interested in sci-fi/alternate realities, or anyone who would like to see a possible interpretation of the multiverse theory, but would caution not to expect a terribly exciting story.
The next book I am going to review is not a contemporary book. The Coquette by Hannah Foster was written in 1797, and I recently read it for my Early American Literature class. Because we spent a week discussing it in class, there is so much that I could say about this book, but I will try to be concise. Also, despite the fact that this has been around for a few hundred years, I will still attempt to refrain from including any major spoilers.
The Coquette is a cautionary tale from the early United States. It is set in various high society cities such as New York and Boston, and told through the unique method of letters between friends. In this we get to see into what each of the important characters is thinking, or at least what they would say they are thinking. Through these letters we learn of Eliza Wharton, a young but not juvenile woman who was in an arranged engagement to a man she barely knew who was much older than her, and has recently died. She is then sent to stay with some friends in another town, where she meets two men: Mr. Boyer, a small county preacher, and Mr. Sanford, whose profession is never revealed. I read the implications are that he is an early form of investor. Both men pursue a relationship with Eliza, although we see from their respective letters that one of them is truly in love with Eliza while the other does not really care about her. Eliza spends most of the novel asking people for advice, and then ignoring what they say. She wants to do what is right, but she is insistent throughout that she does not want to give up her “freedom”, which is what she sees marriage as. As a woman in the 18th century however, she does not have any other real choices. Unfortunately, she does not choose the man who the audience sees as the obviously better option, and after many attempts at redemption the novel ends with Eliza in a situation from which the reader can see the moral Foster wanted to get across. In the 18th century novels were written for upper class women, who had time to sit around and read while their husbands worked and their brothers studied. There are definite feminist aspects to Eliza’s character, and even a good deal of humor from some of the side characters. I mostly enjoyed this book, and agree entirely with the moral it is stating. It reminded me a lot of Daisy Miller, except that more people sympathise with Eliza than with Daisy. If you enjoy historical fiction of the late 1700s/early 1800s, or if you have read and enjoyed Daisy Miller, then I would recommend The Coquette.
4 out of 5 stars.
There you go, two reviews in one day, a contemporary and a classic! I hope everyone is having a good fall and looking forward to winter as much as I am. In a few weeks I will take my finals for this semester, and then I will get back to reading and posting more regularly.