Title: The Fallen Star
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Series: Fallen Star #1
Genre: YA Paranormal
Summary (from Goodreads)
For eighteen year-old Gemma, life has never been normal. Up until recently, she has been incapable of feeling emotion. And when she’s around Alex, the gorgeous new guy at school, she can feel electricity that makes her skin buzz. Not to mention the monsters that haunt her nightmares have crossed over into real-life. But with Alex seeming to hate her and secrets popping up everywhere, Gemma’s life is turning into a chaotic mess. Things that shouldn’t be real suddenly seem to exist. And as her world falls apart, figuring out the secrets of her past becomes a matter of life and death.
I should have known this was a bad idea from the length of the book on my Kindle homepage. It was more than twice as long as all my other YA books, which either indicated an epic adventure with lots of different characters and plot threads cleverly interwoven, or that it would be a bloated mess. From the synopsis I suspected the latter, and I wasn’t wrong.
If you could call the wandering mess of a storyline a plot, then it started emerging maybe around chapter five or six? Prior to that was pages of needless whining from Gemma about her sucky life, school lessons, homework – the only mildly interesting thing being the introduction of potential love interest Alex.
Who despite being a complete and utter twat, is so dreamy and good looking, magically making electric sparks course through Gemma’s body, that she falls for him instantly – her head emptying of all thoughts. Well. There weren’t many thoughts going on in there anyway.
As main characters go, Gemma is about as vapid and stupid as they come. At one point, she overhears her guardians and Alex talking about Alex being sent to get close to her so they can learn her secrets. And she still questions what the hell is going on. Sorry, I should say ‘heck.’ What the heck is going on. ARGH. This probably won’t bother other people as much as it did me, but seriously, heck???? My nan says heck. If it was a little quirk of Gemma’s that she didn’t like to swear, I could buy it, but all the characters say heck, and it’s just ridiculous.
So, Gemma is wilfully ignorant, crazy about the hot, controlling, abusive idiot that just happens to make her feel all fuzzy and electrified aannd… not much else. If she had any character traits they weren’t consistently delivered or explored. The sum total of her defining features is her violet eyes (cliche, right there) and her utter lack of any gumption or braincells.
There are some interesting ideas – Gemma never experienced any emotions until very recently, paranormal creatures existing, Keepers, Foreseers etc, but it’s all handled so haphazardly, it just becomes confusing. Gemma never felt anything before, and yet she never stops to be confused about the new emotions she experiences – she just recognises them magically. Magical creatures and other worldbuilding things are thrown in as they becomes pertinent to the plot, leaving you just bewildered as to what is going to happen next.
In fact, the whole thing is just poorly executed, and even more poorly edited. There was a comma splice in the first sentence for God’s sake… Grammatical errors, spelling errors, the completely wrong word being used (rouse instead of ruse for one example) were frequent occurrences, along with flat out clumsy writing – repeating the same word three times in two sentences, cliched dialogue and spell-it-out-because-the-reader-is-cleary-too-thick-to-understand phrases, all hyphenated, just like that.
And then you have the flat out contradictions – like Alex giving Gemma a hard time for talking to someone who just started talking to her randomly, saying that she shouldn’t have answered, and should have just walked away, then two sentences later saying it was okay for him to be talking to some random because it’s impolite not to answer when someone starts speaking to you.
I can forgive the occasional mistake, especially in Self Published books – it’s so much harder for indie authors to finance and access the best editors, and we all make mistakes. I make them frequently. But there was confusion between ‘there, their and they’re’ are some points, and I just think any semi-literate friend ought to be able to spot that sort of stuff.
This is the sort of Self Published book that perpetuates the idea that all indie books are terribly written, rejected by agents and publishers for a reason, shouldn’t be touched with a ten foot bargepole. And it’s a real shame, especially when this is getting 5 star ratings by the hundreds and there are decent books out there getting no attention.
I’m just glad it was free. If I’d spent money on this, I think I would be baying for blood right now.