Friday, April 22, 2011
Author: Gena Showalter
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
I noted that Intertwined didn't seem to know what it wanted to be, and consequently wound up reading kind of like a series of X-Men comics. Unraveled, however, seems to have decided that a series of X-Men comics is exactly what it wants to be. And so we get a lot of different plot threads coming at us one after another, to the point where you wonder if any of them are going to be tied up. There are indeed some closure problems, and by the end of the book some stuff seems to have been awkwardly pushed aside in favor of more interesting stories to come. But enough is explained, and the ride is exciting enough just in the present, that all in all it's still a worthwhile read.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Author: Shannon Delany
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
I diagnosed the first 13 to Life book as having Trilogy Syndrome, and the sequel is as good an opportunity as any to raise awareness of this crippling narrative disorder. Trilogy Syndrome occurs, appropriately enough, in three phases: Phase one is ADD: throwing out a lot of ideas and plot hooks and not following up on a lot of them, leaving the development and resolution for further books. Phase two is ennui: Having set up everything, and needing to put off the resolution until the big finale, the patient winds up meandering around and getting nothing much accomplished. Phase three is mania: running around half-crazed trying to tie up all these plot threads before you hit the wordcount limit. 13 to Life had a bad case of phase 1. Secrets and Shadows has moved on to phase 2, but the series' condition is being treated with an injection of wit and character, and I'm pleased to say that the patient is responding to treatment rather well.