Monday, November 4, 2013


by Sarah Rees Brennan

Publisher's Blurb:
It’s time to choose sides… In this second book in the Lynburn Legacy, the sorcerous roots of Sorry-in-the-Vale have been exposed. No one in the town is safe, and a decision must be made: pay the sorcerers' blood sacrifice, or fight. Will the townspeople (magical and not) become "owned" by the sorcerers who believe it is their right to rule? If Kami Glass has anything to say about it, evil will not win. Despite having given up her own piece of magic, she is determined to do everything she can to make a difference. And whether they want to or not, her circle of friends (and potential boyfriends) will not be able to help but go along with her unusual tactics.

My Reaction: 
I enjoyed this book less than the first, but considering that it's the second book of a (modern) trilogy, I'm not surprised.  I'm sure everything will work out by the end of the third.  (If not... Well, I don't feel particularly emotionally invested in most of these characters, to tell the truth.)

That said, I still plan to read the third volume (assuming I notice when it's finally published). 

Random Specific Tidbits (with potential SPOILERS):
--  I believe I mentioned, when writing about the first book in the series, that it was "funny" (but not surprising) that Kami's parents seemed to let her come and go as she pleased.  (And let's not even get into Angela's parents!  They've yet to make an appearance, as far as I can recall... But at least their behavior has been explained.  Kami's family is supposed to be more loving and involved.)  Well, it's even more apparent in this book.  There are a couple of times when Kami kinda-sorta has to answer to her parents, but for the most part, it's as though she's free to do whatever she likes.  Ok, it's a YA novel and YA readers like more independent characters-- and it's not exactly a realistic setting (what with the magic and sorcerers and all), but still...

--  "'A journalist has to make editorial decisions.  Nobody can report everything.  If you try, you'll only end up giving people false impressions.  ...  So one must judiciously edit reality in order to convey to people the, if you will, soul of the truth.  The true truth.'"  ...Ah-ha.  So that's what they're doing...

--  Chocolate pasta?  I'd never heard of it before this, and to be honest, it sounds disgusting.  (In the author's defense, the only character who likes it, apparently, is a little boy.)

--  Kami pulls her "trusty notebook" out of her bra.  I've heard of women keeping things (money, keys) in their bras, but it's just mystifying to me.  Why would you do that, except in the direst of purse-and-pocketless circumstances?  It sounds uncomfortable... and kind of weird, honestly.  Maybe I can't understand because I'm not "ample" enough-- but bras fit pretty snugly, and there's not a whole lot of room in there for extra baggage.  I would imagine that stuffing a notebook in your bra could create an odd-looking bulge.  But whatever.  Maybe it's just me. 

--  Characters behaving crazily-- forced unrealistic misunderstandings and missed opportunities to connect with one another-- UGH!  Maybe some of it is necessary to prolong the story, but at some point, it begins to feel less like "necessity" and more like "lazy writing" or "lack of creative ideas".

--  Why are characters constantly going off without jackets?  It's winter in England, people.  You're gonna want a jacket, mkay?  Wear a bleeping jacket!  But no.  We need Kami cold and shivery so that Jared or Ash can loan her their leather jackets... Or we need Jared walking around in a thin short-sleeved t-shirt so that the delicious contrast between freezing and cozying up can be emphasized. 

--  Related note:  Kami has a real thing for grabbing a fistful of a guy's t-shirt while she's kissing him, doesn't she?

--  There are a few racy scenes in this book-- more than in the first.  Honestly, the Holly/Jared scene was annoying and kind of embarrassing to read-- especially in a YA novel.  (I guess I'm a prude, but if I had a young teen, I wouldn't want her reading that kind of thing.  It's just a bit too much.)  Kissing/hugging/longing scenes?  Fine, but when you have two teens tearing clothes off one another on a bed, it's too much, in my humble opinion.  (Not to mention that the two teens in question don't even know one another very well-- don't even think they're in love.) There's already a lot of temptation-- and sometimes peer pressure-- to "get physical" at that age.  Do we really want to add fuel to the fire and make it look like acceptable behavior?  I wouldn't want to encourage my own hypothetical teenagers to behave that way.

-- Another thing I might not want my imaginary young teen reading?  All the "alternative sexuality" stuff.  Ok, ok. We get it!  You have made your point, author.  Now can we please move on?  As an aside, it struck me as a little funny that Rusty thinks homosexuality and bisexuality are fine, but apparently does have limits:  "...I love my sister.  Not in an 'I love my sister and I want to make out with her' way, that would be terrible and disturbing..."  I mean, don't get me wrong-- I agree that loving his sister romantically would be disturbing-- but it's kind of funny that he's so willing to flippantly "judge" that kind of abnormal relationship in almost the same breath that he explains to Holly that "being able to love more than one kind of person, in any kind of way, doesn't mean there's something wrong with you."  I just wonder where Rusty stands on the sticky issue of poly-amorous relationships, etc.  ;o) Where does the all-knowing Rusty draw the line?  ...My point is, why is it ok to "judge"(/find personally distasteful or unacceptable) one kind of relationship but not another?  I'm tired of people acting like you're some kind of monster if you don't happen to agree with their personal system of what's ok and what's not. 

--  At one point, Kami is thinking about "how little actual allure" she seems to have for guys (which is of course ridiculous, seeing as several guys seem to find her attractive, but whatever).  She follows it up by imagining people saying that she's "about as sexy as a teapot".  Which... I found pretty annoying.  Even if it were true (which again, it obviously is not), so what?  I mean to say, good grief!  Goodness knows teen girls as a whole already expend way too much energy worrying about how attractive they are.  So... yes, maybe it's realistic to have Kami worrying about it, too... but... Augh!  Do we really want to harp on this subject?  Its one thing to have a character worry about it in passing, but this type of thought has come up repeatedly in this series.  I don't know how I'd like to see it handled... Maybe someone-- Kami herself-- saying/deciding that there are more important things in life than seeming "sexy"-- especially seeing as she's a teenager and would be better off waiting until she's older, anyway... This just irks me.  A lot. 

--  Kami's supposed "mojo" on the phone with Henry feels unrealistic.  He must've just been very easily persuaded.  But then again, Kami's always been a little too good to be true-- or rather, we're meant to believe that she's that good.  The actual result is that she doesn't feel especially real.  (I'm also less than impressed with her supposed "journalistic abilities".)

-- The whole "magic" plot feels very thin indeed.  The novel's focus is much more on the frustrating relationships than the supposedly life-or-death fight between the magical forces of good and evil.  I don't really mind the emphasis being on the relationships-- except when characters are being too slow-witted/thickheaded for belief.  Oh, or when too much of the story focuses on relationships that, frankly, didn't interest me that much.  (Yeah, I'm talking about Angie and Holly.  Sorry, not my cup of tea.)

--  When Lillian kidnaps Ten-- but before Kami knows that he's actually been taken captive by the evil Rob, who may intend him for a human sacrifice-- Kami freaks out maybe a little too much, I think.  I mean, obviously Lillian was wrong-wrong-wrong to take him against his will, and he shouldn't be forced to become a source, but it feels odd that it's suddenly soooo awful to be a source.  Maybe it's not pleasant-- especially if you aren't doing it willingly-- but her reaction feels overblown to me.  (Maybe the author wanted/needed it to feel Very Dramatic at that moment?)  Besides, Kami or someone else could have told him that the connection was up to him, and he could sever it at will, unless I'm remembering incorrectly.