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Nessa's Thoughts

Just a British girl who reads a bit too much.

Currently reading

The Dead Zone
Stephen King
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
Jean-Dominique Bauby
Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady
Samuel Richardson, Angus Ross
Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
Piper Kerman
The Cuckoo's Calling
Robert Galbraith

Fade (The Ragnarok Prophesies)

Fade - A.K. Morgen Imagine you are an aspiring author with a book deal under your belt. In lieu of actually writing something interesting and mould-breaking, you go for the same old bog of ideas that the YA genre seems to have gotten itself stuck into. Paranormal setting/characters? Check. Instant love (just add water)? Check. Love triangle? Check.So, please excuse me for this tired old pun: Fade, the first volume in the Ragnarök Prophesies series is so bad that I'm quite surprised Heimdall hasn't tooted the Gjallarhorn and Jormungandr hasn't let go of his tail.If there's one thing I'm getting pretty sick of seeing in YA novels, it's lack of research. I don't claim to have encyclopaedic knowledge of Norse myth, but I do know when it's done badly. In this novel, the main romantic interest Dace is supposedly a descendant of a Berserker. Berserkers who apparently have the ability to transform into wolves and bears in a battle rage, much like how Final Fantasy characters have Limit Breaks. ...Nope. Can't find any real source for that. Most sites and translations I've seen of the edda state that the only lupine thing about Berserkers were the wolfskin pelts they wore into battle. And even if there is a myth about Berserkers turning into wolves, it's a really flimsy thing to make an entire werewolf/shape-shifter plot out of.I know there's more of a plot later on, but I really could not bring myself to care. The writing style is juvenile and abuses similes more often than a certain Cassandra Clare. (A particular highlight was somebody looking tired, 'as if he'd been running toward home for years only to realize home lay in the opposite direction.') It also suffers a lot from the 'what in seven hells is going on?' syndrome, where one can precisely explain what is going on in a scene, but whilst reading it, is utterly baffled at the writing.The biggest problem for me was the myopic focus on our two main characters. And only our two main characters. Arionna is our main heroine. Her mother dies, and we get over 50 pages of Arionna going: 'I am sad. So very, very sad.' and talking about how much her heart aches. She feels just like post-fall Humpty Dumpty! Get it? Because all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put poor Humpty back together again. Excuse me while I play a song on the world's tiniest violin.Anyway, that all changes in... 15-20 pages. Because the moment Dace comes into the picture, Arionna DOES NOT SHUT UP ABOUT HIM. AT ALL. I've got proof!A thousand different sensations whispered through me like a summer breeze, freezing me in place. Joy, fear, loss, hope, sorrow... I couldn't separate one emotion from the other. Before I even had the chance to try, a current of energy washed through me. (Page 17)When the fog of pain cleared, I had no answer to that question. But I did know one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt: My life had just gone from complicated to impossible, because the gorgeous boy wasn't human, and we belonged together. Somehow. (Page 19)I wanted to cry. Not because he was a total jerk, but because I'd only imagined our weird connection. That hurt for reasons I couldn't even begin to understand. (Page 32)My obsession with him had grown by leaps and bounds. He didn't make any sense. Hell, nothing made any sense anymore. Yet again, I tried to convince myself to forget about him, but couldn't. The fact that part of me, a big part, didn't want to stop didn't help the situation. I still hurt, but I felt better. Stronger. And I owed that to him. (Page 39)"The wolf did," I said, "but you didn't. Besides-" I started walking again "-maybe we are soul mates, like you said." (Page 46)I wasn't big on puzzles or on scary, but apparently I was big on Dace Matthews. Especially since Dace Matthews came wrapped in one heck of an interesting package. (Page 46)My mind had inevitably turned to Dace. My thoughts were always with Dace these days. That fact irritated me. I wanted to yell at myself that I'd been a normal, rational person once upon a time. I hadn't obsessed about anything, let alone about a guy I barely knew. (Page 64)I wanted to lean into him and the strength he offered. I wanted to bury myself in him and stay there, let him be strong and brave for both of us. (Page 85)I don't really understand how this could have happened. I want more than one character for the story to revolve around. Other characters do come into the story, but they're so one-note and boring that I just did not give a rat's arse when they died or had other terrible things happen to them. Maybe it's my threshold for boredom, but I am way past the point where I care about teenagers falling in love. And not being able to be together due to society or some supernatural quandary.Speaking of supernatural quandary, Dace being a shape-shifter, and it having to do with Norse mythology... ugh. It was terrible. You'd expect it to come into the story a lot more than a couple of scenes ripped straight out of Twilight. (You know, the old: 'I love you, but I'm dangerous' schtick that aged as well as a bottle of milk.) Arionna is supposedly special, and Dace offers to help her through this part of her life, and honestly, I found no reason to care about these two characters.I mean, Arionna is a girl who shares one glance with Dace, yet feels a spark almost immediately. To the point of completely zoning out and allowing Dace to probe her mind. And of course, we the readers are privy to all these amazing psychic experiences she shares with Dace. You'd think she would be a little bit confused about these new telepathic powers she seems to have, or at least invest in a good-quality tinfoil hat. But no, that's just as natural as the changing of the seasons to Arionna. What the hell?This novel was not a purring motor when it came to story progression. It was a sputtering old engine. Arionna spends most of her time at home, going to school, walking through the forest, looking for Dace, or talking about how sad she is. I wouldn't mind any of this, but for goodness' sake, please make it interesting! I don't care for the 'oh, real life ISN'T always full of twists and turns' rebuttal. Reading should be a form of escapism. Not some teenage girl's daily routine and how much her lip wibbles when she sees a boy she likes.In all, this novel has poor writing, an awful plot where not very much happens, the focus of the novel sticking way too much on the two main leads, boring side-characters, poorly-done mythology that deserved much better, and the hated old chestnut that is insta-love (just add water). I may sound like I'm being a bit too harsh, but I'm at a loss for any redeeming qualities. At least I didn't have to spend any money on it...? Sorry. 1/5.(This review is also available on my blog: http://book-wyrm.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/fade-by-ak-morgen.html)(Thanks to NetGalley for providing the ARC.)