19 April 2012

Review- Harbinger

Title: Harbinger
Author: Sara Wilson Etienne
Publisher: Putnam
Find it here: Amazon, Goodreads
Source: ARC from Putnam

When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn't expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she's going crazy. Fast.

But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she's come home. She's even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.

Faye knows she's the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can't trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her - and the rest of the world too.

Rich, compelling writing will keep the pages turning in this riveting and tautly told psychological thriller.

My thoughts:

Reading Harbinger did not go as well as I had planned. When asked if I would like to review it, I was so excited! I featured as one of my WoW’s because I loved the cover and I thought the synopsis sounded fantastic. I got it pretty early on so I put off reading it closer to the release date. I started it in November and put it down 80 pages into. The release date came and went and I decided to give it another try. Maybe when I tried to read it the first time I was going through some kind of reading slump and I might love it this time around. I hoped for these things, I really did! I so wanted to love this book.

First of all, I want to say that I know there has been some controversy around negative reviews. I personally don’t see anything wrong with them as long as the blogger/review is not personally attacking the author. I believe it’s rude and inappropriate and if someone has something to say to an author, it should be done in private and not on a public forum. With that being said, I’m giving my honest opinion of a book that just didn’t connect for me as it did with others.

I’m going to try and tell you exactly why I didn’t like this book but first just picture me struggling through every last page. Since I got this book for review and I wanted to speak honestly about my thoughts, I knew I had to read the whole thing.

A big part of why the book just fell flat for me was the characters. I wasn’t able to connect to Faye or Kel or any of the other characters for that matter. I felt like we weren’t given a chance to get to know them. All of a sudden they’re thrown into this school without a solid pretext of their lives before. Even after the last page I couldn’t tell you who was good and who was evil or even what had just happened.

I got the sense that Harbinger is set in an America that is not the same as the present America. It seemed to be a poor attempt at building a dystopian world. Nothing was clearing stated about the world outside of the academy.

Even after all my dislikes, this book still had some redeeming qualities. It was creepy and I liked that. It was also so confusing that I read to the end just to know what happened. These are all good elements for a book to keep the audience reading. I also liked that the island and the land that the school was on had a past and a history. I really enjoyed when the sections of the journal was revealed. It really kept me reading.

I’m glad there are readers out there who really enjoyed this book but it just wasn’t for me. Which is why I can’t justify giving it any more than 2 hearts.


Manda said...

I was looking forward to this too, sad to hear it isn't great. :/ I have read a lot of mixed reviews on this one though. Also, I don't get all the hoopla over negative reviews. Everyone has the right to state their opinion, and you can say you didn't like a book in a nice, respectful way, like you did. Anyway, great review! :)

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