Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Book Review : Select

Title: Select 
Author: Marit 
Series: Select #1
Genre: Young Adult, Teen, Urban Fantasy
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars 

This is not a bad book so much as to say that's not great. The premise is interesting (albeit a bit overdone perhaps), the characters are okay and while plot was missing for the first half of the book it turned up later on. I didn't hate every minute of reading Select but I can easily pick it apart to some degree. There are three major things I didn't like about Select that heavily influenced my three star rating: 
1) The Info Dump
2) Where's the Plot
3) Specialist of all Special Snowflakes

Let's chat about these three things: 

1) The Info Dump
I often wonder how some authors manage to bring readers into complex, magical fantasy realms without the 'info dump'. Sometimes it seems that dialogue about situations going on helps, other times it's a first person musing in a characters mind, and other times I'm baffled that I learned so much for a non-info dump start. It's clearly a talent and one that, unfortunately, Marit Wiesenberg has not yet mastered. 
I wish I could provide solid advice on what to change here or how to get away from the info dump; all I know is really great books don't do this. 

2) Where's the Plot
I feel like a broken record on this point. If you believe Twilight has plot before the 300 page mark then you have failed to understand what plot is. As this is a continuing issue in stories lately let's talk about what is not plot. 
Plot IS NOT: 
- two people liking each other
- someone moving somewhere
- an existence of a world
What Plot IS: 
- a mystery to be solved
- a situation to be resolved
- a catalyst of some sort (and the catalyst cannot be lust/love!)
The difference is that plot is a tangible thing. Unfortunately, Select has no plot until we get to at least halfway and realize that there is something afoot with our lead gal's father's "relocation plan". Prior to that we just have our lead gal lusting after a boy (insta-love warning!), her struggling to attend school everyday, her whining, etc. All things but not things that equal plot.

3) Specialist of all Special Snowflakes
So once we get some plot going (halfway point at best) we realize that perhaps part of the plot is that there is a search happening for a certain 'type' of person. Our lead gal and her family are members of a 'Select' group of people already. Okay cool. However to then infer that your lead character may be even more special is like adding too much icing on a cake. There is such a thing! Maybe I'm just tired of the specialist of all snowflake stories but this grated my nerves and felt like a cheap ploy to keep me reading (yes it worked but that doesn't mean I liked it).

Overall
Once you reach the point at which there is a mystery or issue to be resolved in Select it gets much better. Unfortunately it's too little too late for me. I finished the book if only because the writing was pretty good and I liked the characters (despite their annoying insta-love connection and 'selectness'). I will probably read the second book because the ending of Select sets up a very interesting circumstance I'm intrigued by. There's a lot going for Select it's just that Wiesenberg happened to hit on some of my major irritations with YA fiction lately. 
Be forewarned (like all YA books lately...) this is not a stand-alone book and you may be frustrated by the ending as it's a resolution of sorts; but certainly not an ending. I've already put book 2 on hold at my library (as I was declined for an ARC, sad face).  
My final note is that Wiesenberg probably has a successful career ahead of her if she can work on a few aspects of her stories. Writing is solid and characters are well developed. Just some tweaks here and there plus some plot and she is likely to be someone you will be hearing about in the future. 

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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