Reviewing Obsidian

For weeks I’ve been suppressing my urge to turn this review into a long rant on The Fallibility of Even the Most Dependable Reviewers (also known as The Hypocrisy* of Previously Venerated Reviewers) in an effort to give other readers a relatively unbiased opinion on a book I happened to pick up on the enthusiastic recommendation of someone, by an author I’d not heard of before.

But be warned, while the review will stay clear of criticising well meaning but very much mistaken reviewers, this is not me at my most objective.

Yep, look at it. You can just TELL that this a book that subverts all YA tropes.

Katy moved to a small town without knowing quite why her mom was so insistent about it. But her mother seemed happier to have moved, certainly more herself than she had been since Katy’s dad died, so Katy went along with it.

Then she discovered that the two unbelievably good looking siblings living next door, with the mysteriously-absent-parents disease, happened to be aliens. It all became quite clear (and not so very important) after Daemon, who was alternately glaring and smouldering at her, saved her life a few times.

Then Katy made the further discovery that other than the twins there were a few more of these people in and about her new town and even in her school, forming an elite, untouchable group. And her reaction to all this while mostly normal and believable was also heavily tinged with “they think they’re better than us humans!”

Which frankly is true. They did. But then they had super powers like shape shifting, super speed, invisibility and instant healing.Of course they thought they’re better than the people whose government penned them in small communities and monitored their every movement.

Also, Katy dear, these people had lost their planet. Their entire civilization had been wiped off. Consider that for a moment.
Not that the author dwells on such sad, momentous things much.

See our hero, his twin sister and their group came from the planet of light and are thus called Luxen and they have an enemy, the Arum who are evil people only intent on stealing their powers and creating havoc. This particular part of the novel bugged me a lot.
No war on earth has ever been fought unprovoked though most have been sustained by greed. The idea that the Arum were EVIL (and had powers akin to darkness) while the Luxen were GOOD (and all golden and lit up in their true forms) is just…so…simplistic.

Frankly I’m hoping this is the part that the author decides to subvert in the next novel. Please!

Anyway, so even without planets they’re fighting interplanetary wars. The Arums are hunting Luxen and for some reason the Luxen are letting the human government agencies, who’re giving them jobs and houses, mistake the Arum for Luxen and help them too. Also these seem to be very non-curious government agencies. And mind you, we are AGAIN talking solely of the US govt agencies, because no other country can have aliens land in them. In nearly twenty years, they don’t seem to have figured out how powerful these immigrant aliens are.

Another thing is the slight to science fiction. I’m a Star Trek girl. Voyager was my favourite series, right after the Original series. To have the alien protagonist brush off the science of bending time and space because ‘he wasn’t a scientist’ made me grit my teeth.
Now it makes sense if a human says that about astrophysics. But just like it’s snort-worthy if a human teenager says I’m not a scientist so I can’t explain how my feet carry me across the street or why I poop after I eat, it’s ridiculous that a being made of light can’t explain how his own super speed skills work! Shouldn’t they have had this class when he was a little kid? From one of the immigrant adults maybe, since the parents never made it?

And these aliens are supposed to be super intelligent too.

Also, how DOES that work? How can light exceed its own speed? How can travelling millions of light years be done in months, maybe weeks by a ‘body of light’?

But back to the story! I didn’t really think the entire thing was ridiculous. I enjoyed Katy and Daemon and their predictable struggle against mutual attraction through the novel. I liked Katy for knowing exactly what a big jerk Daemon was being but lusting after him anyway.
I enjoyed this book just the way I enjoyed Twilight. With deep appreciation for an unrealistic, escapist, every-teenage-girl-dreams-of-this situation. But while I liked Twilight for revelling in its own dreamland quality, this seventeenth retelling of the tale doesn’t even get points for originality.

Also, Daemon. Really. Daemon.

You just KNOW what he means by ‘work off’. =D

Some readers have seen this as the author’s sense of humour. They have chosen to believe that the author knew that she was using EVERY trope available in this genre and that her intention was to prove that her writing skills could survive even THAT.
I agree the writing was thankfully lacking overdone, dramatic messes that these tropes attract, but STILL. I honestly think the author thought she was being original.

“Look,” she’s telling us, “I gave you guys ALIENS in times of mythical beast creatures! AND….hold your breath…I gave you a book reviewing BLOGGER for a heroine!”

This book is begging for a good review with that last one. But the aliens have shape-shifting powers, ancient enemies, telekinesis and even telepathy. That makes them more in line with the supernaturals we’re well used to. Also the blogger bit is nice, but hardly something that defines an individual. (Nor should it!… in a perfect world.)

Finally, who’s surprised that Daemon is THE MOST POWERFUL OF THEM ALL?

So my final words here are: read the book if you like the tropes, not because you want to break out of them. If you (secretly) liked Twilight, it’s very likely you’ll like this one too, although the reviewers I keep not-mentioning hated Twilight with the fiery heat of a thousand young suns and still fell in love with this book.
I’ll tell you this though – I’m definitely going to read Onyx (if only because I’m hoping to be rewarded by a less hackneyed climax).

Cross posted at goodreads

* They have been telling me how much they hate the tropes, how much they want something new, they have been gutting even well written books just because they fall into the post-Twilight trend of vampires, werewolves and teenagers and then they dare to tell me that they love this?!! Effing Hypocrites!

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