Sunday, March 18, 2012

Book Review - Switched

Switched - A Trylle Novel (Volume One)
by Amanda Hocking
(2010)

When Wendy Everly was six years old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. Eleven years later, Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. She’s not the person she’s always believed herself to be, and her whole life begins to unravel—all because of Finn Holmes.

Finn is a mysterious guy who always seems to be watching her. Every encounter leaves her deeply shaken…though it has more to do with her fierce attraction to him than she’d ever admit. But it isn’t long before he reveals the truth: Wendy is a changeling who was switched at birth—and he’s come to take her home.

Now Wendy’s about to journey to a magical world she never knew existed, one that’s both beautiful and frightening. And where she must leave her old life behind to discover who she’s meant to become…


*** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

Ok, I'll just say it right off.  I *HATED* this book.  At first I thought it was so cool that the author had become successful through self publishing first, and then had gotten a 'real' book deal.  It sort of gives hope to all the people like me who have stories to tell but don't know how to get them out there.  The author lives in Minnesota, and the bulk of this story takes place in Minnesota, and you know how I love Minnesota.  They even drink Mountain Dew in this book.  Yay!  But wow, once I actually started reading this, not even those 'cool factor' points could save it for me.

There are so many things I hated about this book, I don't even know where to begin.  This might be a jumbled mess.

First, when it mentioned 'changelings,' it was not the type of changeling I was thinking of, what I know from video games, where the changeling can take on your appearance in order to fool or confuse others while continuing to carry out its evil tasks.  No, in this book a girl baby was merely switched with a boy baby and they were raised by different parents.  Well alrighty then.

Next, because vampires, werewolves, and fairies have been done to death this author decided to make her characters trolls.  Really?  Trolls?  Now we're just reaching to be different, aren't we.  And there was nothing really to make these trolls different than plain humans.  Oh, they might have unruly hair and don't like to wear shoes, and hmm, some just might have a barely detectable greenish tinge to their skin, and oh, some have special abilities like being able to levitate things or cause weather changes or possibly even read the thoughts of others.  But really, there was nothing different, nothing that needed these characters to be trolls.

The storytelling was crap.  One thing I absolutely hate in books is the use of stupid delay tactics to try and build suspense.  You know, when someone is about to reveal crucial information and someone else walks into the room or the phone goes dead or whatever.  This book does it All. The. Time.  And does it in the stupidest ways.  Wendy and Finn might be having a conversation and Wendy would ask a question about something that oooooh, we can't know too much about yet or it will spoil the story, so Finn gets all dramatic and tells her she'll need to wait for so-n-so to explain it.  Why??  So five minutes later she'll be having a conversation with someone else and will ask about something else and will be given some stupid answer like they don't have time to go into all that, yet will still stand around and carry on a much more pointless conversation.  It just kept happening, all the time, with everything!  And probably 99% of those things were never explained later.

There were so many instances of ridiculous and pointless situations or conversations.  It was like the author had all these random images in her head and tried to piece them together into a story.  And keeping with that, there were so many bits comparable to a certain blockbuster vampire series that it's almost like she was a huge fan and wanted to recapture her favorite moments again in her own story.

The dialogue was so cheesy and over-dramatic.

The sense of time was warped, if there was any at all.  Things like Wendy waking up one morning and finding herself in a spot of cheesy over-dramatic trouble, and following Finn back to his room while having an angry cheesy over-dramatic conversation, and then suddenly it had been an exhausting day and she just wanted to sleep.  Huh?

The characters were one dimensional and weak.  I never felt any connection to anyone.  I never got any sense of Wendy and Finn being deeply in love, so when she said she couldn't see it in him, well I guess she wasn't lying. HA!  Finn was probably my favorite character but there was nothing in this story to help him.

The actual wording of so many things was just so . . . weird?  Wrong?  Weak?  I'm not even sure.  Two examples come to mind but I don't have the book on hand to get the actual quotes.  One was when Wendy was about to go down the stairs one morning and another character is coming up and says something that sort of upsets her and she stops and sits at the top of the steps.  First, um, ok . . . but then the narrative said something like 'I didn't feel like standing anymore' blah blah blah.  It was just such a weird sentence.  And then later she's describing her brother to someone and talking about his personality and how caring, etc. he is, a deep meaningful description and then ends with 'and he's really, really strong.'  What???

So all this random pointlessness leads up to the oh so dramatic end, in which so many more things just failed to make sense.  I think we were supposed to be heartbroken and left anxiously waiting to see what happens in the next book but really I was just glad to be done with this one.  I felt so let down by this book, was angry and hating it, and had to do some searching online to see if it was just me or what.  I found others who appear to share my strong dislike, but I found others who absolutely love this book and this series.  I realize it's a young adult novel and maybe teen girls are more willing and able to just lose themselves in it, but wow, it makes me wonder what other books the people who loved this one are reading.

And I found that the author sold the rights to this series and it will apparently be made into a movie.  Oddly enough, I'm a bit curious about that.  Maybe without the crap writing this story could be tolerable?

Even with as much as I hated this book, when I was shopping yesterday I came across the second book in the series and actually stopped to have a look.  I even considered buying it just to see if got any better!  I will admit, I am a bit curious about how things end up but I could probably just find a summary online and not have to put myself through the trauma again.

What do you think?  Should I soldier on and see how the series ends?  Have you read this book?  What did YOU think of it?  I would *love* to know!

7 comments:

  1. Does sound kinda "HUH?" but would you say a 13 yr old could read this? My girl is bothering me about reading "Twilight" but I feel like that it is one book she should not read right now, with very sexy sounding undertones in it. Is that the case with this one? I have seen this in the young adult section of WM too.

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  2. There is a bit of violence...but not too detailed or over the top. There is only one spot, maybe two, that I remember where Wendy and Finn kiss, and that wasn't much either, just sort of a passionate kiss moment without clothes being ripped off or body parts being flaunted.

    I think a 13 year old would be more willing to accept the crappiness that an adult mind sees in this book. To her it might be a wonderful adventure story because she hasn't been tainted yet by the millions of other BETTER stories out there.

    ~Deb

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  3. Have you read the Twilight series? While it's true there is a building sexual tension throughout the series, it was also praised for NOT having them give in to their passions until they were married. Edward is very solid in his old fashioned values. :)

    ~Deb

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  4. A friend read this book and she liked it. She said it was such fluff that she just went with it and had fun. Wish I could do that! And I'm going to try, because I think now I will go ahead and get the next one in this series. O.M.G.

    ~Deb

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  5. you should tell about the book and not about what u hate

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  6. because we don't care how you hate the frist book or something Huh okay....... remeber write about the story

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  7. Anonymous ~ Thank you for visiting, but a book *review* is a person's thoughts and opinions of the book after reading it. I hated this book and that's what I wrote about it. A *review* also does not simply go through and tell a short version of the story.

    ~Deb

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