Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review: Torn by Erica O'Rourke

by Erica O'Rourke
Published: June 2011
Publisher: Kensington
Available: Amazon

Swirling black descends like ravens, large enough to block the glow of the streetlights. A dull roar starts like a train on the 'L', a far-away rumbling that grows louder as it pulls closer, until it's directly overhead and you feel it in your chest, except this doesn't pass you by. Verity, white-faced and eyes blazing, shouts through the din, "Run, Mo!"

Mo Fitzgerald knows about secrets. But when she witnesses her best friend's murder, she discovers Verity was hiding things she never could have guessed. To find the answers she needs and the vengeance she craves, Mo—quiet, ordinary, unmagical Mo—will have to enter a world of raw magic and shifting alliances. And she'll have to choose between two very different, equally dangerous guys—protective, duty-bound Colin and brash, mysterious Luc. One wants to save her, one wants to claim her. Which would you choose?


Okay, so from the blurb it sounds like the book is going to open with some action, right? Well it doesn't, because guess what? The first half of the blurb happens before the book even starts! Yeah, how exciting. I don't even care that this wonderful friend is dead, because I never even meet her.

This though, is the least of the problems I had with Torn. I'd like to start with something positive and I'm finding it hard. That's not to say the book was horrible. It wasn't. It was just okay. I received this from a LibraryThings give away and it's taken me almost a month to read it. I finally forced myself to take it to the gym and read on the treadmill, just so I could finally get it out of the way.

There were so many things I wanted to like about it, but I just couldn't. So, starting there, the first thing was the cover. The cover put me off, right away. I know I shouldn't judge the book by the cover, and in this case I truly didn't. I hate the cover. The girl looks boring, and pasty, and I hate the weird part in her bangs. And what was up with the cloth wrapped around her head? The blurb is what made me want to read this book, and I hope that the next book in the series has a better cover, because this one didn't do the book any favors.

Moving on from the superficial...

The characters, oh how they drove me nuts. Mo, or Mouse as random people call her, is supposed to be nice. Yes, nice. We're told multiple times throughout the novel that she is nice one, while Verity is the energetic, pretty, vibrant, friendly, outgoing, special one. The problem with nice is that it's boring and we never really see Mo do anything or even say anything that would label her as super nice. She has very few interactions with people other her own age, other than her love interests. She doesn't seem like the nice type. She's mildly rude to her mom, her uncle, her lawyer, the police and even her love interests, and only hangs out with another friend because she doesn't want people to talk about her not being nice and normal. I'll get to her love triangle in a bit.

Luc is the first love interest to appear, and oh what a tangled mess she gets into with him right away. He's weird, and is pretending to be a doctor, and he might have been dating her dead friend Verity. But what's so bad about that? It's perfectly normal, and nice of course, to lust after your dead friend's boyfriend at her funeral, right? (See why I don't buy the whole, Mo is sooo nice aspect? I was seriously trying to keep the characters separate from the love triangle, but it's not working) For the first half of the book, Luc is weird, annoying, frustrating and filled with a superiority complex. Nothing appeal at all about him, yet apparently he's hot and that is enough for Mo. The second half he gets a bit better, although he becomes a bit boring and predictable then. O'Rourke, it seemed, couldn't decide who Luc was. One moment he's talking as if he were an old fashioned, middle aged man, and the next he's using the word ain't. Considering the sometimes unusual (not is a good way) vocabulary O'Rourke chooses to use instead of a well placed common noun or verb, I'm think she was often pulling things from the dictionary just to sound smart. Maybe this is what happened to Luc.

I did like Colin. He was independent, distrustful of everyone, even Mo, and he seemed to have a believable attitude to the world he was living in. Too bad O'Rourke had to ruin his consistency by having him fall for Mo. Considering he's a few years older, and obviously has more maturity from his life experiences than Mo, I couldn't figure out why she appealed to him in the least. The kiss between them was steamy though and I'll give O'Rourke props for that.

The plot dragged. Seriously dragged. Like cut the first hundred pages of Mo flip flopping between lusting for Luc and then trying to focus on her dead friend's death all while lusting after Luc just to remind us that Mo is a mature high schooler who doesn't want to be trapped in her hometown forever (Oh, sucks to be you Colin -who-will-never-leave-his-hometown)

The action once it starts in the last few chapters, is confusing and lacking specific details. The magic blasted into her, the magic blazed around them. The nebula consumed me. Let the nebula consume me. (Yes, that nebula consumed her twice within two pages!) There was also something about lines and were actually an infinity of worlds and lives that crisscrossed, and they were beautiful. I wished I could have visualized what O'Rourke was seeing as she wrote the final scene, but alas, she didn't give me any details!

This is obviously part of a series, but sadly I will not bother picking up the next book. I value my time too much to be bothered spending another month of time struggling to be interested in these characters and a magical world that I have to create on my own.

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