Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bout of Books 8: Day 1 & a Book Review

Hello, dear readers! I am proud to report that on day one of Bout of Books 8, I actually completed a book!

Granted, I came into this with it half-completed, but I still read over 150 pages yesterday. Since my goal is not to read strenuously, but rather just read more than usual, I still played my requisite 15-20 minutes of Animal Crossing: New Leaf because I am not a rock, and my villagers needed me. However, after that, the boyfriend and I reheated leftovers and sat down to watch the WWE Summer Slam. (yes, I enjoy wrestling and watching it with my boyfriend. Never thought I'd be 'that guy,' but I love it, so who cares?)

I tend to half-watch wrestling, or any TV that's super-long. Usually, I've got a game on my 3DS going, but last night I decided to switch tactics and just read. I read through the 3 hour special with sporadic bits of watching TV, obviously. By the end of the night, the Summer Slam was over, Daniel Bryan was throned and then dethroned, and I had finished Vampire Academy.

What did I think of it? Well. I actually put the second book, Frostbite, on hold at the library. It was at least that good. It wasn't "all of my friends need to rush out and read this immediately" good, but it was interesting and I actually did not see the plot twist coming - in a lot of YA, they hit you over the head with the plot twists and so you can see them by standing on your front lawn and squinting. Vampire Academy did a good job of making me not know about the central conflict's resolution, but it also made me not care. I was extremely apathetic about the main character the entire way through.

The MC, Rose, is a goddess. Not literally, but she might as well be: she's gorgeous, and she knows it. There's the trope of a character who is gorgeous but doesn't know it - Katniss Everdeen, Tris from Divergent - the trope of the character who is average but inexplicably sexy regardless - Bella Swan, for instance - but then there's this character who is hot, knows it, and hates it. If there is one thing I can't stand, it's an arrogant pretty girl.

Rose is pretty snarky. She's cynical, she's a fighter, she's not gonna take anything lying down like Bella might. But she harps on her own good looks constantly. Boys in her class are always fawning over her, tripping over their own feet to get her to like them, and she just thinks about this in this absurdly boring way. Top that off with the icing on the cake that she isn't too smart. For instance, a friend speaks of primary and secondary sources, and she has no idea what that is, despite being 16 or 17 years old. She only pays attention in one class in school, she just doesn't have need for "book learnin'' because she's pretty.

I looked it up: this is "movie" Rose.
If you don't look at Rose's willful objectification - she uses her looks to get boys to do things for her more than once in the span of 300-odd pages and thinks it's awesome - the book is pretty decent. A mystery, characters that do undergo some development, though admittedly the males save for about two are pretty one-faceted (that facet being "Rose is hot"). There's a pretty graphic "let's take our clothes off" scene that never actually gets anywhere, but squicked me out. Not because I am a prude or I don't like that sort of thing, but because I know the target age group for these books is 13-15, and I don't think I'd want my 13 year old reading that. (I'm 24, I know. But bear with me). I can just envision a lot of high school girls wishing they looked like Rose, and with the film coming out soon, I can only imagine this getting worse.

Overall? I give it a 3 out of 5. It was incandescently mediocre, a forgettable YA read with some interesting plot twists. It would have a 4 were it not for Rose's sex appeal. Sorry that I'm not sorry, Rose.

As far as Bout of Books 8 goes? Well, here I am in day two! I will be spending the night by myself, and I see some bathtub reading in my future. Next on the agenda is In the Woods, which is lengthy and verbose and I highly doubt it will be finished before Sunday night. If for some reason it is, however, I'll add my third book to the list: Rick Riordan's The Red Pyramid, because I've read both the Percy Jackson oeuvre and what's been written of the Heroes of Olympus oeuvre, and all that remains is the Kane Chronicles. (I adore Riordan's writing, and I will say why in another entry!)

So, a TL;DR: Finished my first book already! Didn't totally hate it, on to book two!

My Reading List for Bout of Books 8.0:
1. Finish Vampire Academy - 332/332 - 100%
2. Finish In the Woods - 3/429 - 0%
3. Begin The Red Pyramid

Page Totals:
Day 1: 156
Grand Total: 156


  1. Congrats on completing a book on first day! I totally understand because I finished one too, well the last 170 pages at least :)
    I've read Vampire Academy a few years ago, and I didn't like the first book much for exactly these reasons that you stated. I mean, come on, how hot can one girl be? The only thing missing was a boy having a heart attack because of her hotnes. We get that she's hot like, on first page, and she didn't need to say it like 8493x times. I loved all the other books in series though, so I hope you'll like them too!
    Have a great Bout of Books!

  2. Well done. I am trying to keep it casual, but it does feel good to get some reading done since my TBR is enormous.
    I know that you genuinely like wrestling, but it makes me laugh since we were just on the topic of Gone Girl. Amy had quite an opinion on such things. Remember her rant about girls who pretend to love football?
    -Dilettantish Reader

  3. Hurray on finishing a book! I'm intrigued by VA, I've heard that the series gets better as the books go on, so I'll be keeping that in mind if I don't love the first one straight away...

  4. Well done on finishing your first book Patricia! Hope you enjoy the rest of the week.

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