Saturday, 7 March 2015

Tangled Up In Drama

I know what I should expect when I pick up a Young Adult novel with a female lead. Young love, complex drama, coming of age choices, and a stubborn main character who thinks she knows everything. Sometimes, I don't mind that. I mean, I was a teenage girl once, and I know I was more than a handful at times. So reading about it doesn't usually bother me. Unless it's in dangerously copious amounts, like in Tangled by Erica O'Rourke. The story is basically about a young girl torn between two worlds and trying to find the one she belongs in. One of those lives, the magical one, tends to take a backseat, and it's hard to sympathize with a character who literally complains about everything.

A simple cover, though I have to admit the model is quite eye-catching.

A month ago, Mo Fitzgerald risked her life to stop an ancient prophecy and avenge her best friend's murder. Now, she only wants to keep her loved ones safe. But the magic—and the Chicago Mob—have other plans. 

Mysterious, green-eyed Luc is back, asking for help—and a second chance. Colin, her strongest protector, is hiding a shocking secret. And inside Constance, the magic is about to go terribly wrong. Tangled in a web of love and betrayal, Mo must choose between the life she's dreamed of and the one she's destined for.

The main plot follows a lot of the cliches of YA paranormal/urban fantasy. A normal girl growing up and having her life turned inside out when she learns there are forces out there hidden from the rest of the world. In this sequel, those changes have already happened, and main character Mo continues to struggle with the ramifications of her actions– basically becoming a conduit for magic.

Again, usually I don't complain out cliches and stubborn main characters, because they can provide for an engaging read when they're placed in well built worlds with complex rules that force them to adapt. Tangled, does not have many of those. Oh, there's certainly a magical aspect and it definitely has politics, but the world is too small for me. I was hoping for a detailed mythology and history to this other strange world that Mo has to choose between, and it feels like I've just skimmed the surface.

The story seems too focused on Mo's human life, the one that's filled with mobsters and backstabbers and betrayers. Sounds interesting too, right? To be fair, it is. But the dangers of her human life pale in comparison to the magical one, because we know so little about that world. If we knew more about the Arc– mage– world, I might have cared more. But honestly, I just couldn't grasp the real scope of the danger, even if it was laid out.

I wanted to know more about the monsters that attacked Mo, the Darklings. The enemy group is called the Seraphim, which if you're ino your Biblical lore, you know is a type of angel. Exciting, right? It sure would be... if we knew anything about the Darklings other than that they're ugly monsters. Not exciting.

Most of the characters are well written. I found Colin, Mo's bodyguard to be deeper and more complex than I originally thought. Even if he is overprotective to the point of psychosis. The other member of the love triangle, Luc, however, remains my favorite. He's loyal and playful and willing to protect Mo no matter how absurd she's being.

And that's what's been driving me crazy since reading these books– Mo. There is literally no one she doesn't bitch at, no one she doesn't fight with, and is insufferable in the way she thinks everything that goes wrong is a purposeful slight toward her. There was one point where Luc's loyalty came into question. It didn't last long, and he saved her life, so how did she respond? By almost pushing him out of her life. I read that part, and literally said aloud, "What? Are you kidding me?!" Mo doesn't act like a seventeen year old girl– more like a seven year old whose Barbies are being used by the big girls.

Now, this is my opinion. But I expected more, and better. Other readers might find the turmoil of a teenager's temper appealing. If so, trust me, this is the book for you. I'll be in the background, finishing the series, and praying for Mo to finally to the responsible thing– and grow up.


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