Posts tagged ‘patchandnora’

October 10th, 2010

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Crescendo

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick

Published: October 19th, 2010

Number of Pages: 432

Rating: 4/5

Official Review*:

Crescendo is a gripping, stomach-clenching sequel that is bound to ensnare readers – lovers and non-lovers of Hush, Hush alike – in Becca Fitzpatrick’s unique series. Though I found things to be desired in the main character, Nora, the supporting cast of wildly varying characters does a fantastic job of moving the story forward smoothly – not that the plot needs much of a boost. With a mystery full of an abundance of secret agendas and misleading clues, this book will keep readers on their feet. Or their noses in their books, for that matter.

Synopsis:

The sequel to the New York Times Best selling phenomenon, Hush, Hush!

Nora should have known her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described as anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away, and Nora can’t figure out if it’s for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father’s death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn’t answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch, or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine? [From Goodreads]

Review:

As many of you know, I had a heterogeneous mixture of feelings (can you tell I’ve had too much school?) concerning Hush, Hush. I liked this, I didn’t like that, but I sorta did and sorta didn’t like that… You get the gist of it, and I must say that, though I enjoyed the book immensely and believe it’s an improvement, I have similar feelings in regard to Crescendo.

First of all, I want to repeat that this book is an improvement. I read it faster (and not simply because I had a deadline). I read it eagerly and happily. There’s no doubt that it’s incredibly gripping and a whole lot of fun to predict (because a majority of the time, you’re wrong).

On a gloomier note, I had some issues with character – just as I did with Hush, Hush. Interestingly, I have issues with different characters. Take Nora, for example. You can tell from my review that I was very fond of Nora as I read the first book. She was refreshingly nonirritating and smart. I believed her only flaw to be choosing Patch out of the mess of men out there (and, no, I’m not comparing men to clothes strewn across the floor). Now, after having read the second book in the series, I like Patch more than Nora.

Oh, yes. I said it. I have time and time again declared that I am not a fan of Patch, despite my adoration of boys with weird P names. Throughout book one, he came across as selfish and murderous to me (sexy, right?). I even wrote a blog post on the ridiculous relationships in some YA books. In Crescendo, I had no problems with him whatsoever. Being who I am, I was uncomfortable with some of what they did, but I wasn’t too upset with them for that reason. Patch was more sensitive, likable, friendly… human (Irony Alert!), and Nora was quite pathetic (for want of a better word). Not only was she pining after Patch for what seemed like forever and playing rebound on a not-so-hot (I’m not talking physically) guy, but her obsession with what was happening with Patch and her seemingly insurmountable jealousy drove me insane.

Despite what how it might seem, I’m not trying to discourage you from reading the book – or the series, for that matter. Most definitely read them. The fantastical elements and the world of the angels is well built and intriguing. Plus, Vee, Nora’s friend, makes just about anything worth it.

On a more plot-driven level, when Nora wasn’t freaking out over Patch, quite a fabulous and suspenseful storyline reeked havoc on my sanity and my ability to put down my book for fourth period choir. Nora’s dad and his murder play an enormous role in this sequel. Becca toys with me by leading me to believe one thing and then proving me wrong over and over, thereby keeping me on my toes and eager to see in what way she’d surprise me next. In addition, she includes things and details that seem minor or insignificant that prove to be integral, and vice versa. The book reads like a good suspense/thriller movie in this way as your mind jumps from possibility to possibility, adding new ones… crossing out others… until, finally, the truth is revealed.

And that truth is pretty disturbing. I can easily imagine people holding their breath as they read the climax, only more terrifying due to the atmosphere. The book reminds me of what I learned in English earlier this year as we reviewed plot structure. Exposition – Narrative Hook – Rising Action – Climax – Falling Action – Resolution.

And what if I told you that there’s virtually no falling? That the end is just as page-turning as the book leading up to the climax? What if I told you that there will be absolutely no way you’ll be able to finish this book without pining after the third in the same ridiculous way Nora pined after Patch? (And, in case you were wondering, I find pining after books and obsession with books far more acceptable that pining after boys. Also: Please excuse my ridiculous overuse of the word “pine.”)

I most certainly recommend this book to lovers and like-ers of Hush, Hush. I think it will be fascinating to hear people’s varying opinions. I advise you to reread the first book in the series before reading Crescendo if it’s been a while since you read it. I know it took me a while to remember all that happened in book one.

Ultimately, Crescendo is a fast-paced sequel with an ability to make you queasy, eager, and possibly a little obsessed.

*Thanks to S&S for the ARC!

Everyone check out Traveling ARC Tours! Thanks to them for this book!

June 6th, 2010

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Hush, Hush

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick

Published: October, 2009 by Simon & Schuster

Number of Pages: 400

Rating: 3/5

Quote:

“Who are you?”

The boy walked up and pushed the blade aside … “One of the Devil’s brood.”

Review:

I hate it when I’m unsure concerning how I feel about a book because my indecisiveness turns my reviews into confusing mush. My rating for this book has wavered between a 4/5 and a 3/5, although I think it’s finally settled.

Hush, Hush reminded me of Twilight in the beginning, besides the fact that the opening scene of this novel is incredibly superior to that of Twilight. However, as the story unfolded, it was the main character, Nora, that made Hush, Hush unique. I had many issues with the premise and romance, and due to this, I’m going to dissect the Goodreads synopsis as opposed to writing my own.

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along. What is he, a Barbie doll? I mean, I like the name Patch. I simply wish I knew where it came from. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment. Issue number one. Girls, don’t follow guys against your better judgment. It’s better for a reason, so just don’t.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure who to trust. Well, not him, obviously. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. Ahem. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. At this point, I’d recommend she call the police. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life. Now, there’s the strong-point of the novel. The mythic features of it all. Very fascinating and new to me, as a reader.

Do you see my point concerning Patch and the romantic factors of his relationship with Nora? It’s more disturbing than sweet. More lust than love. You can read more of my opinion on “bad boy love interests” here. Patch, though intriguing, has very few redeeming qualities. So often, he seemed possessive, angry, and immature. Yet, there were moments when Mr. Bad Boy turned Mr. Softy, and they stood awkwardly on the page. For example:

“Keep in mind that people change, but the past doesn’t.”

And:

“If you can’t feel, why did you kiss me?”
Patch traced a finger along my collarbone, then headed south stopping at my heart. I felt it pounding through my skin. “Because I feel it here, in my heart,” he said quietly.

Those lines were so drastically out of character. If there had been more like them, the simply the number would have made them seem less odd, but, as they were few and far between, when they did appear, they might as well have been printed in bright red ink. Patch does not seem the type of boy to talk about the goings on of his heart. In addition, the first quote is off because Patch doesn’t seem to have changed. From what I read throughout the novel, he is very much the same guy. He’s selfish. The only reason he doesn’t harm Nora is because he loves her, but I can easily imagine harming another person’s loved one.

As far as girls-who-go-against-their-better-judgment-concerning-dark-and-mysterious-boys go, Nora is one of my favorites. As a character, as a person, I did like her. I wanted her to come out on top, unscathed. I wanted her to be happy. In reality, I would have been her friend because, honestly, she’s extremely likable. She’s not a whiny, self-centered idiot (sorry, Bella), but someone I can respect. Unfortunately, she sought after Patch, a decision I wouldn’t have recommended and don’t respect her for, but overall, I think her voice and person are very relatable.

My favorite aspect of the novel was the mythical background. I haven’t read books on angels before, and the intricate details of this angel-world are fascinating. I loved the fallen angel plotline. I appreciate the detail and the obvious thought the author put into this key factor. I’m eager to learn more about this world in the sequel and hope that the general plot has even more to do with angels and “the Devil’s brood.”

Becca Fitzpatrick’s voice and writing style are well-done in that I didn’t even notice them. Of course, I love to notice great writing style. That’s fine. But occasionally the author voices that seep through novels are the ones that can’t hide their inadequacy. It seems that Becca wants the spotlight to be targeted solely on Nora. The words and phrasing were Nora’s, as opposed to the author’s. The humor was nicely woven into the book, and it was mostly sarcastically funny Patch lines. For example:

“You smell good, too,” said Patch

“It’s called a shower.” I was staring straight ahead. When he didn’t answer, I turned sideways. “Soap. Shampoo. Hot water.”

“Naked. I know the drill.”

That, by the way, is a great example of Patch’s character. He is funny. You can read an “interview with him” here (it was great, by the way, so I seriously recommend reading it).

My final assessment of this novel is that it was most certainly an intriguing page turner, full of laughs and characters that gripped me tightly, but, looking back, it is far less satisfying and there are, in my opinion, crucial romance and character flaws. I recommend this book to anyone looking for an exciting, quick-paced read that, evidently, sprouts much food for thought (I got a post out of it and a lengthy review!). I will be reading the sequel Crescendo when it comes out in October (earlier, preferably), and I’m looking forward to more character development! (A lot more.)

June 1st, 2010

I Love You Despite My Original Intention to Kill You

by Madeleine Rex

Hypothetical Situation:

An innocent seventeen-year-old girl goes to her Biology class (the class where everyone seems to meet their soul mate) on the first day of her Junior year. She’s landed next to a boy. As all girls do inadvertently when they meet a new guy, she sizes him up:

Whispy, yet untangled black hair. Blacker than black.

Eyes so blue they look silver, as though you could touch them and see the irises ripple like water. They examine her closely, as though they are appraising a meal.

Black jeans, black, tight shirt that accentuates his lean muscles.

Perfect skin, excepting a mysterious, long scar that stretches from his right eye to his chin and somehow, although the girl wouldn’t usually, she finds this sexy.

Over the next few weeks, this boy, always clad in black and staring at her with those icy eyes, light reflecting off his sexy-somehow scar, seems to be everywhere she is. At the grocery store, gas station, and at the park where she walks her dog (although she can’t fathom how he would know she walks her dog there every Monday at seven because he absolutely refuses to speak to her in Bio). Actually, all he ever does is stare at her. She even thought she spotted him in the tree outside her bedroom window that, coincidentally, is planted in just the right place for someone to easily swing inside her room.

Of course, she doesn’t really freak out until she gets an inkling that he has a dark and dreadful past, one that she shouldn’t want to know about. And, going against her better judgement because this interest she suddenly has for this guy overpowers everything she’s learned in the past seventeen years of her life and her personality in general, she investigates. Then, this boy tries to get close to her, ensuring that she has to get a drive from him, walking from class to class with her, never really telling her what he wants but making it clear that he wants something. Badly.

And then, suddenly, because it’s oh-so easy to fall for a guy with a dark, dreadful past, social inabilities, and stalker-habits, she’s making out with him in her bedroom. But, wait: How did they get there? Oh, yeah, he snuck into her room at night with the aid of that strategically placed tree, and she didn’t bother to scream because she trusts him, despite the stalking, mysteriousness, the foreboding feel she gets around him, and the fact that everything she knows disagrees with the decision. Did I mention that he actually intended to kill her originally but found that he was too obsessed with her and that his lust could no longer be denied and that he really, really didn’t like the idea of making out with the girl he’d just killed? And, furthermore, did I mention that she was so in love with him that she didn’t care and simply, after his confession, said, “I know you, dear, murderer-stalker-lover, and I trust you. Now, kiss me again.”

You know, because murderers are just so irresistible.

I don’t know about you, but my heart’s doing cartwheels and I have the sudden urge to go make out with a guy at a bar with a weird scar.

Kidding.

Honestly, that hypothetical story didn’t sound very alluring did it? Were you attracted to this Mr. Stalker Boyfriend? Did you admire this girl for her strength of character and will?

I wasn’t; I didn’t.

Yet, how often is a story similar to this used in YA literature? It seems ridiculous that we instill this idea in young girls that going against their better judgment, oftentimes the better and wiser judgment of adults, and risking everything to delve deeper into the life of a boy, who, quite honestly, is probably not going to be good for them, is an admirable thing. There are innumerable faults with this theory. Here are a few that are instantly apparent:

  1. The girl shows an unfortunate willingness to abandon her values. I can’t find it in me to truly respect someone who cares so little about their values and sense to throw them away on a whim, especially when said whim is one that they know is synonymous with jumping into a lake when you can’t swim and hoping that everything will turn out all right. I want to read about a girl who is strong, not easily swept off her feet by the idea of danger and a mystery. Common sense is an asset, not a liability.
  2. The guy is a creep. A disposition that is not opposed to murder is not attractive to me. So what if he didn’t want to murder you because he’s fallen in love? He’s still willing to murder someone another man is in love with? The total lack of ethics is an enormous turn-off, in my opinion. In addition, in real life, I wouldn’t find the dark and mysterious past interesting at all. As readers, we take emotional risks, but we don’t take physical risks, and whatever may be happening in the novel, we can shut it out with a slam of covers. What if you couldn’t do that? Don’t you see how totally ridiculous the idea of chasing after a boy with a dark past is? In life, we tend to take the easy way out. We stick to  simplicity.

Obviously, the dark and mysterious past plotline is intriguing when you look at it from a reader’s point of view, and I don’t have much against it. However, there’s still an undeniable fault with the overall idea of a girl toying with danger for a guy she knows isn’t good for her.

You could argue that the girl’s emotions have taken precedence, that her common sense has been overpowered (BEEP! Another sign of weak will-power.), but, quite honestly, when has that ever happened? There is always a choice. We are born with the free will to decide what we’d like to do with ourselves. We have the ability to say no. We’re encouraged to say no to bad boys, remember?

Then again, I don’t mind reading this sort of plot, as long as the murderous attributes don’t play a part. That seems to cross a line entirely. It’s ridiculous. A man with little opposition to murder is not romantic. He is not a good man. He’s selfish, actually, for keeping what he wants (the girl), but being willing to take away someone else’s loved one.

I’d love to hear the opinions of others on this topic. I acknowledge that it’s fun to read things of this sort, but it’s the underlying selfishness and the murderous qualities that make certain variations of this story ridiculous.

Here are a few examples of similar love stories, some worked, some didn’t:

Nora and Patch from Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush: I did enjoy this book. I am looking forward to reading the sequel. However, Patch is not an admirable guy, for the most part. I liked Nora far more than I liked Bella (see below, and also see this awesome post entitled, “How Not to Pull a Bella Swan”; it’s ingenious), but I still disapproved of her silly and hasty decisions to go along with Patch at times. Often, there were other less dangerous alternatives. Patch was intriguing and exciting, but of the men in this list of couples, he seems the less desirable of all. A majority of the time, he seemed to lust after Nora rather than love her, and his general indifference to murder was plain creepy.

Bella and Edward from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight: First of all, of these girls, Bella is the most spineless, whiny, and irritating, in my opinion. As the series moved on, she was a slave to the “passion” she felt for Edward. I don’t want to be a slave to anyone or anything. Anyway, Edward’s urge to kill made much more sense. It had to do with primal instinct, not a murderous tendency in his personality. The stalking, though? The watching her sleep? Those were ultimately creepy qualities. And, later on, even he got really irritating. Why was he never mad at her for cheating or being a brat? TWILIGHT RANT ALERT. MUST MOVE ON…

Clary and Jace from Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones: Best combination. Jace does appear to be mysterious and brooding originally. His sarcasm could be a turn-off. He needs to grow up a little. Yet every little personality tweak that wasn’t admirable was something he could grow out of. He’s seventeen for goodness’ sake, not centuries old like the other boys. Indubitably, he is the safest bet. He was never prone to murder or stalking. He simply appeared to be dark and mysterious. This appearance had the same effect the others did, but the guy underneath was forty times less frightening. The relationship was more advisable. Clary didn’t go against her better judgment to follow him, but went with him out of necessity. In addition, he never gave an impression as foreboding as the others’.

What do you think is the best way to pull off the mystery bad-boy plot? Do you think it’s overdone? Is it stupid to begin with?