Monthly Reads | May 2015

 reading a book

Ask the Dark by Henry Turner

Young Adult | Mystery | Suspense

Billy Zeets is an unlikely hero. He is from the wrong side of the tracks, a thief, and a troublemaker. Although he is trying to be straight, temptation takes over as Billy learns his family is losing their home, and his depressed father will do nothing about it. Through a series of events, Billy finds himself in the middle of a series of teenage boy murders.

I wanted to like this book. I read the blurb and was instantly intrigued. However, only a chapter in, I knew I would struggle to finish it.

Ask the Dark is told from the perspective of Billy Zeets as he retells his story into a tape recorder. Turner writes Billy's voice as uneducated and vernacular. I found this so off-putting and it didn't feel natural to me.

Advertised as a mystery and thriller YA novel, I was expecting the usual twists and turns of any good mystery. Not in this book. There is no mystery, no false perpetrator, and not much thrill. As Billy gets caught up in solving the murders, he stumbles upon one man who he thinks (and turns out to be) the murderer. I felt that this whole story gave everything to readers and forget to leave in the mystery. Most of the events were lackluster except for a little thrill towards the end of the novel. I also didn't feel like any of the characters developed throughout the story; they were very flat.

This was a novel that had great selling points, but couldn't deliver on them

 

Mother of Eden by Chris Beckett

Young Adult | Science Fiction

Mother of Eden is the second book in Dark Eden series by Chris Beckett. I have not read the first novel, Dark Eden, but felt that there was enough back story provided to understand the present situation.

Eden is a dark planet comprised multiple civilizations whose ancestors traveled from Earth. Each of these civilizations have developed their own culture and ethics based upon the ideas of their original founder. War is brewing as citizens of Eden differ on notions of power, religion, philosophies, and natural resources.

Readers follow Starlight Brooking, a female from a small island community, as her curiosity has her traveling across the sea to communities she didn't know existed. Starlight quickly learns about politics and realizes that the grass in not always greener on the other side.

Every chapter in Mother of Eden is told from different characters’ point of view. I always love when an author writes this way because if offers a perspective we aren't privy to in real life. Beckett has created dynamic characters that illustrate true weaknesses and strengths of men.

I found it difficult to push through this novel at times; it was not a book I could binge read. The pace of action was slow-going and I had a hard time visualizing certain aspects of the story. That being said, the social dilemmas and undertones of criticism towards societal notions are captured beautifully.

I will probably go back and read Dark Eden and look forward to reading other installments of this series in the future.


Note: This post contains affiliate links. I received digital and print versions of these books for free through Netgalley and LibraryThing in exchange for review consideration. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.