Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I just hate it when hopes are dashed.
Just look at that cover. Gorgeous. And it's about Vampires and Werewolves? Set in a restaurant? Was it written just for me? However can I resist? I'd been waiting for its release, and then had the agonizing lag for my library to actually process and get me the dern book. It jumped to the head of the stack. I relished my lunch hour. I actually took my breaks for once, just so I could read Tantalize.
Quincie is in love with a Werewolf. A Half-Wolf to be exact. And she's helping her guardian uncle remodel the family restaurant to have a trendy Vampire theme. Everything is going well; she's slowly convincing Kieren to take the next step and the menu is coming together. But when the father-figure head chef is brutally murdered in what looks like a Wolf attack, suspicion lands on Kieren. Quince is mostly sure her love is innocent, and she'll do anything to help him. Which isn't so easy with a restaurant to open, a new chef to hire and the world of Vampires to embrace...at least she doesn't have to worry about running into any real Vampires. They haven't been seen in years...
Cynthia Leitich Smith has a HUGE web presence. I link to her. I think that somewhere on her site she links to me, too. We even exchanged emails once. I think that she offers a great deal to this blogging world. This said...
I didn't love Tantalize. The first half was very strong - riveting. The second half was riddled with jarring leaps in time that left me feeling that I had skipped pages and missed plot elements. I turned back several times, re-reading chapters convinced that there was something ...more. I had a real issue with what I considered to be major character inconsistencies on the part of our heroine. There was a reason for weird behavior, but the 'recovery' from that happened in a manner that did not jive with what came before. What, she just woke up better? Why that morning? What was different? Nothing, as far as I can see. It's set in an alternate Austin, Texas. Were-people are apparently common, and to an extent, accepted. On one hand, the world was largely plausible, but not as developed as it could have been. Were-opossum? Really? Heck, why not. *g*
I know that I'm being harsh, but it's how I feel. There was enough good in this book that I'm still interested to see what Smith delivers next. I'll probably read it, and I know that I'll recommend this title to patrons. Since I've, you know, already done so. Just because I don't love it, doesn't mean I can't recognize those who will. It's, like, my job. *twirls hair* (take that, Mr. Sutton. And no, this isn't just a reactionary review because of that controversy. Most of this was written prior to that.)
Comparisons to Meyer's Twilight abound, but the tone, while darker is actually, paradoxically, (because the lack of Meyer's tendency toward brooding) lighter. In short, it might be more fun, if less engrossing. It's something to give the masses as they wait until August for Eclipse. Will probably work for Holly Black fans as well, although they have their own fangirl book in May's release of Ironside. Possibly fans of Blood & Chocolate, too, but I can't speak for that title. I hear the movie was atrocious. Now that I think of it, the Gothic feel may appeal to Libba Bray fans (among which, I am not. Although, her blog is good.).
I'll be at the state library conference for the rest of the week, so... I'll post about E. Lockhart's Dramarama if I grab a chance. There's a rumor of free wi-fi, but I'm not holding my breath.
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Ack! Got an error message when I tried to publish my comments, so let's see if I can remember what I said. I had two points.
1. Can't really comment about Tantalize since I, uh, didn't finish it. Which is a shame since I also love the cover and had been looking forward to it. But I think my issues were more to do with the fact that werewolves (were-anything, for that matter) squick me out.
2. I've been debating whether or not to weigh in on the blog review thing, though considering how much I wrote in my first attempt at commenting, I probably should take my long comments to my blog.
Basically, others have articulated at least some of my feelings much more clearly and eloquently than I can. But what I haven't seen elsewhere is what you bring up here: "Just because I don't love it, doesn't mean I can't recognize those who will."
I may call my long comments on books "reviews" (and they are in the sense that I make a critical judgment about the book I'm discussing), but that's mostly because I don't know what else to call them. Book Ramblings? Book Commentary? Readers Advisory Notes? If I wanted to be known as a reviewer, I would be trying my best to get in as a reviewer for VOYA, at least, and I'd describe the blog as "reviewing Young Adult books" instead of "blather[ing] about Young Adult literature..." I don't/can't review in the way reputable print review sources demand, but I try to do my best to discuss books in ways that will help others decide whether or not they'd like to take a chance on Book X or Book Y. And if book news, gossip, and interviews (not that we've done any yet) will encourage people to pick up a particular book, what's the problem with that?
I'm in complete agreement with you on the whole "gaps" thing... I just thought I was reading too fast (I have a tendency to do that sometimes).
And I can't wait to hear what you think of Dramarama... I'm reading it right now, and so far, loving it.
I'm so glad I'm not alone here. My review of Tantalize left out my personal response...it just wasn't the book for me. But we agree that it is the right book for someone. :) I know that it is just what someone else is looking for...and I think that is part of a reviewers job to distinguish between their personal response and recognizing its potential appeal to readers.
OMG Allie and I were JUST discussing this book on the way home from work! Appreciated your thoughts on the book for sure -- we've been hearing pretty negative things about it...
I'm starting to think I'm the only person who LIKED Tantalize!
Every book is someone's favorite. It's a mantra.
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