Tuesday, January 6, 2015

ARC REVIEW: Rogue Wave - Jennifer Donnelly


 Just when you think every possible idea for the next YA fandom has already been abused (Dystopian? Unashamedly so), Jennifer Donnelly enters with her Waterfire Saga. You might want to read what I thought about Deep Blue before you continue reading what I thought about Book 2 ‘cause then I can pass on the raving episode about unconventional mermaids, POC MCs, the matriarchal society (which if my memory serves right I didn’t talk about, but is actually a huge thing here), and the awesomeness that’s Merrovingia, and focus on the finer points of Book 2.
BEHOLD a fine example of cover art

OK, so it’s no big secret that I have memory problems which is why I wait till the series finale has been released to start reading the series. Sometimes, though, I can’t wait for three years so I start anyways. Therefore, unsurprisingly, I managed to forget the finer details of Book 1 but thankfully the book reminded me here and there. But the lack of subtlety and the frequency with which those recap facts appeared pissed me off. Some were even redundant enough that a wannabe initiate into Merrovingia could just pick up Rogue Wave and still know what’s happening.

Another thing that annoyed me was how much the progression of the plot depended on someone else’s sum of experiences. The truth about who the invaders are, what they are after, and how the merls can get their hands on them before the bad guys do, are all uncovered topic-wise as a result of  someone’s storytelling, rather than something that involves a lot more adrenaline and tension.

Then there is the plot. Yes, it’s turned out to be one of those “find the Deathly Hallows to save the world” stories, but even that somehow has its own indigenous flavour – what with sea-witches, dragons, shipwrecks, hot outlaws with tails, badass tribes, trawlers, and the like. I started reading at around eleven in the night and it was with a heavy heart and equally heavy eyelids that I decided to turn in for the night at around 3am. Yeah, because the plot? It’s good. Like “I-need-to-know-what-happens-next-right-now” good.

So, considering this solely as a plot-intensive novel, designed to be a really good read, this book is at least four stars. But, otherwise, taking the writing into account – meh. I am a big fan of puns and punsters (since yours truly couldn’t pun to save her life). And this book was a real treat in that respect. (Although SILT! some were just a bit too much). Then some phrases that have been considered cliché since long ago showed up here and there, which I suspect were intended to be under the Goodreads quotations tab. And I totally sympathize with the author for the quandary she was in – whether to concentrate on the finer aspects of the world building and flaunt her writing skills (for a clue as to how awesome they are, you just need to read all the songspells) and compromise on the plot or vice-versa so that we don’t end up with a massive tome on our bookshelf.  I really did wish that the other chosen merls beside Seraphina and Neela had a chance in the spotlight in this instalment though. That regrettably didn’t happen.

In fact, what happened was jaw dropping. What I thought was developing to be yet another love triangle morphed into something else entirely. I predict some hormone-driven drama in Book 3, and I decided I’m ok with that. Also, the cliff-hanger was a decent one; it didn’t make me want to storm into JD’s house and demand to know what happens next at gunpoint; just enough to make me badly want to start the next book.

VERDICT: 3 stars

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