Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Book Review: Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth

Reader Friends, today I am sick.  Not sick enough to stay home from work in bed, just sick enough to be miserable.  Because of my misery and cold-induced brain fog, I'm not even going to try to come up with an original summary for this.  Here's what Goodreads has to say (you can read what I thought below the summary):

I'm sitting on my couch, watching the local news. There's Chloe's parents, the mayor, the hangers on, all grouped round the pond for the ceremony. It's ten years since Chloe and Carl drowned, and they've finally chosen a memorial-a stupid summerhouse. The mayor has a spade decked out in pink and white ribbon, and he's started to dig.

You can tell from their faces that something has gone wrong. But I'm the one who knows straightaway that the mayor has found a body. And I know who it is.

This is the tale of two fourteen-year-old girls, best friends, and one terrible summer when lies, secrets, jealousy, and perversion ended in tragedy more tangled and evil than a tight-knit community can possibly believe.

A dark tale with a surreal edge, Jenn Ashworth's gripping novel captures the intensity of girls' friendships and the dangers of a predatory adult world they are just grown up enough to think they can handle. And it shows just how far that world will go, sacrificing truth in the name of innocence.

Honestly I was just not a fan.  The author jumps back and forth between the present (what Lola, our narrator, is doing with her life after Chloe's death) and the past (the terribly twisted relationship between Chloe, Lola, and a third friend, Emma).  While I appreciate this device in many books, this particular book is hard to follow.  There isn't a good indication of when we have moved to Lola's past and when we are in Lola's present.  As I read, I found myself constantly confused about what point in Lola's history I was supposed to be in. 

The characters present my other main issue with the writing.  I hated them all.  And this isn't always a problem for me.  I can actually really enjoy a good character who has no redeeming qualities (see Giliian Flynn's books or Dare Me, which I'll be reviewing soon).  But I do need characters to interest me.  I don't have to like them or like anything they do, but I have to want to know about them and be curious about what their motivations are.  I didn't have that interest in any of these characters.  Not only were they annoying and unlikable, they weren't even interestingly annoying or unlikable.  They were such generic bratty teens, with generic uninvolved parents, and a generic jerk boyfriend.  If you're going to go with dark and unlikable, make it interesting and unique.  This wasn't.

Entertainment Value
It crosses over with the characterization I mentioned under the writing section of my review.  Didn't like or care about the characters.  It also starts off so slowly and the lack of distinction between time periods made it even more difficult to read.  I hate to say it, but in the end this one felt like a chore.  I've been really enjoying some darker reads this fall, so I was excited to hear this one described as such, but this book just didn't live up to that for me.

I do want to think TLC for the opportunity to read the book!  Click here to see the rest of the tour stops!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry this one wasn't your cup of tea. I appreciate your sharing your thoughts as part of the tour!