Monday, February 9, 2009

Water Song (Once Upon a Time Series)

by Suzanne Weyn

Summary: Young, beautiful, and wealthy, Emma Pennington is accustomed to a very comfortable life. Although war rages abroad, she hardly feels its effect. She and her mother travel from their home in Britain to the family estate in Belgium, never imagining that the war could reach them there. But it does. Soon Emma finds herself stranded in a war-torn country, utterly alone. Enemy troops fight to take over her estate, leaving her with no way to reach her family and no way out.
With all of her attention focused on survival and escape, Emma hardly expects to find love. But the war will teach her that life is unpredictable, people aren't always what they seem, and magic is lurking everywhere.

My review: I think it's a pretty bad sign if you don't actually start to like the main character of a book until it is about4/5ths of the way finished. Right? I think that pretty much sums up how I felt about this book. It had a few interesting moments, but on the whole, I thought it was a waste of time.

The author's attempts to tie this war-time story to the fairytale of "The Frog Prince" were laughable and haphazard at best. I got a little bit sick of the "Jack swims like a frog" routine. I get it, I get it, he's supposed to be the frog prince. Thank you for spelling it out for me...repeatedly. And let's not forget, he was a "prince among men" --says his MOTHER.

Irritating repetitions aside, ultimately, there was very little chemistry between the two main characters. When they fought, there was no underlying romantic tension, they were just bickering back and forth. Jack seemed like a mildly likeable character but Emma was a self-centered brat pretty much through the entire story. She even abandons an injured Jack to fend for himself in a house full of hostile Germans on multiple occasions--though she eventually turns back because of outside circumstances. But somehow I'm supposed to believe that she's madly in love with him?! Sorry. Nope. I don't buy it. I won't buy it. And neither should you.

So basically, if you couldn't already tell--I didn't like it. At. All.

My rating: 1 star.

If I had to sum this book up in one phrase it would be: If I kissed it, it would still be a frog.


Melissa Paul said...

Surprising review. In general this seems to be a can't miss series, how unfortunate that this title didn't fit with the others.

MindySue said...

It's not like their earth shattering or anything--they're just fun reads for the most part. I've been thinking about going back and lowering them all a point in the scale. It's hard with a series of books that's huge because you find one that you like, and you THINK it's good, until you read another that was better or worse. I feel like I have to keep adjusting the scale.

For me, on this one, it was like--come on, it's not that hard to DO, this series. They're fun, light, and not much is asked of you but a little bit of creativity and a way with words. In comparison to the one I reviewed just before, it was completely stale and common. If she couldn't even pull THIS series off then I wasn't too darn impressed.

MindySue said...

Also, a lot of the books from this series are by Cameron Dokey, who is significantly better at writing them than the others.

I really think (or rather wish) that we had a different rating system for young adult books (i'm not actually saying we do that) because I think there is a lot less required of them than adult novels. You can't really expect deeply introspective novels in the YA genre and so its hard to judge them along side, say, The Secret Life of Bees or Life of Pi.

Heather said...

Wow, a one star review! I won't be wasting my time with this one either.
I know exactly what you mean about the rating system. Each time I read a really great book it makes me reconsider the ratings I have given to others. However I think that a rating encompasses more than just the writing style or the story being told, it also entails the reader's mood at the time the book was read. This is why I am having such a difficult time coming up with my favorites list. What is my favorite today may not be after I read something better or if my mood changes. So I feel like in order to make the list some of these books need to be read again, but I have no time for that. Therefore I think I will just make a small list of books that I really enjoyed at the time I read them, books that I still think about often, books that I would want to read again one day or that I would recommend to others.


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