Review originally posted here
.Why I Read It:
Since its publication in 2009, I've read almost nothing but positive reviews for this book and its sequels. Two years ago, my then 18-year old brother, who is a VERY reluctant reader (in that he never read before then ever unless it was for school), had received a gift card to Chapters and wanted to use it. I recommended this to him because he was into the show Supernatural, and I thought this title had some similarities (two brothers fighting against supernatural forces). He decided it was worth a try and lo and behold, he actually read it and LIKED IT! I've been meaning to pick it up for forever but just never got around to it. However, at the end of the summer I'm going to be moving out of town for school, so I figured now was as good a time to read as any, while I still live under the same roof as my brother. Spoiler-free review ahead.
I'm sad to say that I'm not quite as impressed with this novel as other bloggers and my brother have been. I think the novel has some promise, but there was just a little too much lacking here for me to really dig in and enjoy this.
First off, I wasn't crazy about the writing. This is a debut work, so this point is easier to forgive, but there was a weird fanfiction-y vibe from the writing. It felt very amateurish, with weird turn of phrases or expressions and some lame dialogue. The dialogue problem is mostly because of Nick. Now, I'm not really into Bad Boys in YA (or otherwise), so that's probably more where the problem stems from, but that kid had me rolling my eyes so far back into my head I was scared they were going to get stuck there. I never felt like Nick was actually dangerous; he just felt like an overly-angsty teenager. Of course, the reason for his surliness becomes clear at the end of the novel, but even that didn't really surprise me or make me care -- I just thought he was annoying. And he goes on and on about certain points (how he doesn't have feelings, or feel fear etc.), which I also thought was a weakness in the writing; more showing than telling.
Which brings me to my next point: the characters. Nick was just straight up unlikable. The twist at the end is making me wonder if that was the point, but I have a feeling Brennan was hoping we would like Nick DESPITE the fact that he was a douchecanoe. That didn't happen with me. Yeah, he loved Alan (his brother) which was sweet and everything, but he treats him like crap all the time too! He didn't have enough redemptive qualities to ever make me like him despite his flaws. The other characters, Alan, Mae and Jamie, were all right, but Alan was Too Good To Be True (I'm sorry, but no one is that nice all the time), I thought Mae could be incredibly dense when it came to her romantic decisions (there's a love triangle between her and the two brothers and she's inexplicably attracted to Nick even though he's a huge ASSHOLE to her almost all the time. *sigh*), and Jamie... Jamie was actually kind of cool. He's surprisingly not around all that much, but when he is, he's actually pretty funny. More Jamie plz!!
I thought the world-building was a little lacking too. It's fantasy, so I don't mind when everything isn't explained to me, but I do like to have SOME kind of parameters and rules. Brennan attempts to do this, but I could never really understand any of the WHYs for these rules. For example, it's stressed quite a bit in the novel that demons will do ANYTHING to have a taste of the human world, but near the end of the novel, there's all this talk that being stuck in a human body is debilitating. Wha? And I don't know how I feel about the idea that just because someone is born a magician, that immediately makes them BAD PEOPLE!! I think that's going to be touched on more in later books though, because of a revelation near the end of the book. I hope so.
Despite all this though, there's SOMETHING that makes me want more. I think it's partly because my brother already owns both sequels, so I have easy access to them, but regardless, I do think I'll be reading the other two books in this trilogy. I won't be reading them back-to-back-to-back though; I'll read one or two books before reading the next book.Final Verdict:
This book unfortunately didn't really work for me. I thought the writing was amateurish (had a fanfiction vibe to it, and too much repetition), the world-building was lacking (but I do want to say that I've read worse -- I just think it could have been improved), and the characters weren't very likable (I thought Nick didn't have enough redemptive qualities for me to like him despite his flaws.) The twists at the end of the story felt pretty obvious too. HOWEVER, I'm still willing to read the rest of these books. Brennan looks like a pretty rad lady and I would like to support her, and I think there is some promise here. I guess we'll see how it goes.