You know I was a little skeptical going into this book. I heard about it a year ago, but kept putting it off. Then it was suddenly available in my library’s ebook collection. And it was #diversiverse. It was time that I needed to read this book. But due to the warning bells I’d received and so many times hearing that this was the weakest of the trilogy, I was nervous.
I wish I could report back that I ended up loving it. I wish I could say that I was blown away and all of the concern was for naught. Unfortunately, I can’t.
This book had problems. Very clear problems. Despite the cliffhanger ending, if I hadn’t been told that the series gets better, I would be stopping right here. Right now.
Let’s start with the good. This world is intriguing. I’m talking I want to dig in and find out more. From the way things were set up things were getting bad when Juliette was a child, but were still okay. Then shit hit the fan within the last seven years. What we see of the world is some morphed but recognizable thing. I want to know more about how it got that way and so fast. I want to see them move through the world and not just through abandoned areas or hiding out. Maybe, we will. Maybe, we won’t. Regardless, the world was set up in such a way that I was intrigued and compelled to know more.
I also really enjoyed the characters, for the most part. Adam was a bit of a limp noodle and I didn’t quite get his motivations. As much as he explained things and other things became more clear, I just never understood why Adam cared. More importantly I never believed he cared. Then there is Warner who is hardened and constantly seeking approval. It’s almost heart breaking to see his desperation and the lengths he will go to seek approval. That said, there’s an edge to him where you don’t quite know what he will do next. That makes him dangerous and compelling to me. Adam’s brother was sweet with a bit of edge and softness. We didn’t spend much time with him, but he’s spunky and I enjoyed it. Kenji was a bit of fun and the new elements he brought into the story worked well for me.
Then there was Juliette. The only way I can describe her is that she is a mess. She doesn’t know what she wants. She’s been locked away and been treated poorly for so long that she latches on and pulls away at the same time. She’s an interesting character even if her indecision and defiance can be annoying at some times. What I did really enjoy was the use of strikeouts in the writing to indicating her backtracking. The result was that reading the books felt like you were truly in the head of someone who didn’t have it all together. There was no clumsy well I kind of thought this or that. The strikeouts made her change of thought and self-correction feel natural.
Speaking of the writing, a lot of it didn’t work for me. Nope, maybe that’s too harsh to say, but that’s the overall feeling I got especially early on in the novel. You see the writing holds a lot of metaphors. I’m talking there are metaphors everywhere popping up in all the wonderful forms that metaphors do. There were just too many of them. Many times it took me entirely out of the novel leaving me feeling rather annoyed. Was it really necessary for Juliette to wax poetic at almost everything she encountered, dreamed, or hoped.
I also wasn’t a huge fan of the numbers. It seemed that sometimes Juliette was acutely aware of these numbers and other times not. I get that it was a personality quirk, but it just didn’t work for me since it came off as annoying.
While I was reading this novel I kept thinking soon something big is going to happen. Soon the plot will pick up soon. I was largely disappointed as there were only two big moments in the story. There were also a few minor important moments. Then there were a lot of lulls. The problem was that the pacing just felt so off. Since so little happened, I ended up feeling like nothing happened in the story. Also the way it was structure I ended up feeling that were we ended was more like the middle of the story. I was expecting more and it never happened. Which makes me feel like this trilogy might be stretched a bit thin. I’m not making any assumptions, but right now this feels like a two book series stretched into three. We’ll see.
So it isn’t that I hated this book. I wouldn’t be giving it 3 stars if I did, but I felt that there were so many things I didn’t like. Yet buried under the things I didn’t like were things I did like and I could probably love. So it is complicated with this one.