And I thought that Bella’s love was superficial and grounded in nothing other than what the boy looks like. This book makes that love story look like the deepest, soul reaching, romantic and well developed love story ever. **Shudder** I know that so many books, Para-YA and PNR especially, don’t exactly do the whole getting-to-know-you thing between the characters before they declare themselves madly in love, but here, it made even the fastest move at a snail’s pace in comparison. And, unfortunately, it’s not smart enough or well enough written to be love-at-first sight. Instead, it’s love at first “OMG isn’t he the most gorgeous person ever”.
I am talking about the first installment in the Guardians series, titled The Girl by Lola St.Vil. It is not all that original a story as we are looking at a good vs evil, balance needs to be kept or the world will end, a human and an angel relationship, and a quest plus a prophecy of some sort. Not that I need it to be that original – look at what I read for goodness sakes, mostly clones of one of a few stories with subtle differences. Here, the difference is the idiocy and angst of some of the characters is off the charts. Also, the inconsistent grammar, character development, and detail vomit that happen from time to time just get to be a little too much.
Believe it or not though, I am reading the next book. Because despite all the issues I had with the first, and there were plenty (I will share just a few), I still thought it was a fun little read. It was a great little distraction and I am interested enough in a few of the collateral characters that I want to see where the overall story takes us. How can I have so many issues with the series after just one book yet keep reading? It’s like watching a soap opera – the terrible acting, terrible scripts and story lines, pregnant pauses for the sake of it taking three weeks to get out a single sentence – and yet you keep watching anyway because it is still fun. So, this is a review after all so I will share a few of the things that were (more than) a little eye roll inducing. Before I do that, though, let me give a 10 second synopsis. We have angels who are trying to prevent the devil (and her minions) from letting evil take over the world. Marcus, the leader of the angels trying to do the saving is dating another angel on his team. His team meets Emmy, who is important because she is a clue that can lead to how to either let evil win or how to stop evil. And Emmy falls for Marcus. Chaos ensues. Fights break out (not just the physical kind either) and characters die and others make-out. And the angels have some cool powers but there are rules to the game that is being played and mostly the good guys have rules while the bad guys have very few. Ok, I think that’s enough for the review.
First, and worst of all, the life-changing insta-love that Marcus and Emmy, the two main protagonists, feel for each other – because the kicker is that even though I see this all the time in the stuff I read (I readily admit that I am not a great literature addict – I love Dumas, Bronte, Shelley, Dickens, Carroll, Tolstoy and more but I am addicted to the… hmmm… crap, for lack of a better word), readers typically at least see that semi-developed over the course of the protagonists encounter – they spend time together, talk to each other, get to know each other (a little)…. The point is, it becomes something that is easier to understand and substantiate. Here, does that happen? Nope. They spend no time together (I am ignoring the one car ride they take, because it is so insignificant) and yet they are turning their lives upside down because of this love that they feel. I will lump in the awful amount of immaturity and jealousy that Emmy displays into this problem as well. It’s almost comical it is so extreme. And since there is no real relationship to back it up, the awfulness is magnified. Honestly, it makes me really dislike Emmy as a character. I know she is merely 15/16, but she is really hard to stomach. Instead, it is all about how drop-dead gorgeous he is and he’s soooo handsome **swoon** so that means I luuuuurve him. Lust at first site is love at first sight for Emmy. And all Emmy really cares about is what everyone else looks like. It’s really pretty pathetic and disgusting. Marcus has the personality of a cardboard box, but he’s pretty, so she’s in love. Ugghhh. You know it’s pathetic when I am comparing this to Twilight and saying that Twilight is so deep in comparison. Because even if you adore Twilight, you have to admit, the relationship wasn’t exactly built on mutual adoration, friendship, trust… you know all those things that make for a good relationship. Instead, it was “he’s smokin’ hot, I am in love.” Again: Ugghhh.
Problem two is the information vomit that the author does. I can’t believe I am saying this – because recently my complaint has been lack of enough to keep me interested. But clearly, I am looking for that perfect balance of enough information to understand what is going on and not too much that I have little desire to read more. Here, we get (what appears to be anyway, although maybe I am wrong and I will have to eat my words after reading the next books) all but one of the mysteries solved in the first book. Too much. There’s no sense of suspense left really, at least not with respect to the world building.
Problem three is the grammar. I am no grammar queen, I admit. I have problems with tense sometimes and pronouns, dangling participles, etc. But, I don’t write novels for a living. If I did, the first thing I would do is get a book or take an English grammar class. Come on people, learn the language you are writing!!!!!! Better yet, HIRE AN EDITOR. Because, you know, the best idea ever it to have your friend who thinks s/he is good at it to do it. Pay a professional, who does it for a living! Because they really are good at it, they don’t just think they are good at it. While the ability to self-publish has lead to some great stories it has also lead to some really terribly written ones. Even worse are the great stories that are written very poorly. Because they are even more of a let down. And don’t even get me started on the typos. They were everywhere. When I realize I have typos on this blog I am embarrassed and pissed off at myself. But I write, then proof-read right away. And it is easy to miss typos and misspellings when that is the process – my brain reads what I knew I wrote (or meant to write). If I were attempting to put a book out in the public or if I made my living writing this little blog (gee, don’t I wish!) I would have someone who is good at proof-reading do just that before publishing. But I guess that makes me crazy and abnormal, for thinking logically like that and thinking that I would care about the quality of my work.
Problem four is one particular scene. That’s right. One scene is bad enough that it is a significant enough problem to mention it by itself. Marcus meets with the Sage and is told that he needs to use Emmy, he doesn’t need to be nice to her. Then Marcus takes his girlfriend to spend time together and convince her that he loves her. And they do all sorts of angel adrenaline junkie things (their version of sky diving and stuff). Then, he heads off to Emmy. And, given the sequence and what the Sage said, I assume that when in the very next scene Marcus is confessing his undying love, that he is just going to use Emmy. But apparently that wasn’t the case. The melodrama, the unintentional (I assume) sap that virtually flows off the page giving the reader sticky finger, is so overdone, it’s turned a hunk of meat into a lump of charcoal. He really does a 180, and in the most unrealistic so over the top kind of love confession it was stupid. Not romantic but idiotic. Here’s a passage: “Since I met you I have been unable to count in days. I can only count your eyes. How long until I see your eyes again? That’s the only clock I have in my head.” When Emmy calls him on that, he say’s it is all true. So, here I am thinking the whole time that he is going to really turn out to be just using her. But nope. And, not to mention the confession about taking all the invisibility snaps so he can be a peeping tom and not be seen – that’s just creepy. Like EL James, 50 Shades stalker creepy. That whole scene, the dialogue, the way it came about… yikes. Just yikes.
Problem five is that the author completely disregards certain elements of Emmy’s home life. Emmy end up grounded, but goes out anyway and gets beaten up and no mention of the fact that she had been punished. Since a big deal was made about the punishment and Emmy’s not being able to read or listen to music, I thought, great, some realism. Them two months of grounding turns into like one day and then going to West Africa and no repercussions – not even a passing mention of one. It’s a failure to plot out (or outline) the story well enough. It’s an oversight that felt amateur.
Problem six is the cover. So, I got this book because it was a suggested on goodreads in the YA category. But the cover implies something definitely other than YA. And while the writing style and actions of Emmy are juvenile enough to justify the YA category, at least at the moment, that is not the impression I got from the cover. And, ok, there are other version of the cover. But the one I have is the cover shown above. the other two cover options in goodreads are certainly more aligned with the whole YA category.
Is there anything redeeming here? The story is just interesting enough, that despite its lack of originality, it isn’t wholly without value. And Miku, Rio, Reese and Jay are great characters. In fact, in many ways they are the characters that I feel I know better after finishing. Emmy is too superficial and so green with jealousy that it is beyond annoying. Scratching my own eyes out would probably be more pleasant than reading one more word of her jealous inner monologue. Miku, Reese, Rio and Jay? Like the fantastic four though. We learn more about them, including things about some of their lives and deaths, then we do about Marcus or Mimi. And we learn a little about what motivates them, how they think and feel. Where the heck is that character development for Marcus and Emmy? It’s just poorly balanced. But, I want to see more of the wonder twins and if they ever join their powers, I want to know what happens to Jay. So, I am already into book two, and think unless it gets much worse (although not sure how it can) intend on riding this out until the end. Although I do think that is a sad commentary on the series – that I am saying this has to be rock bottom so I will read because it has to get better….