Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Flight...doesn't quite soar with me

Flight (The Crescent Chronicles, #1)Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

2.5 stars *Spoiler Alert!*

Started my review...deleted...started again...deleted.  Can I really begin my review with 'Well, I didn't hate it'?  Because I really really wanted to like it.  I read the synopsis and thought...Yes, ok - sounds interesting.  And really, I did like the premise of the story originally!  Reality is...well, I didn't hate it.

Our girl Allie is on her way with her flirty/boy-crazy BFF, Jess to New Orleans so they can work in Allie's (mostly absent) father's newly renovated hotel for the summer.  Allie has just broken up with her boyfriend and she has decided to swear off men.  They enter the Crescent City Hotel and Allie immediately locks eyes with a hot guy in the lobby.  So much for the no men thing.
Meet Levi...the hot (aggressive, confident, arrogant, bossy, doesn't-know-how-to-take-no-for-an-answer, infuriating, yet once in a while sweet) guy and his group of friends. After a couple of outings, Jess goes too far for her own comfort with one of Levi's friends and decides to leave the job, the boy and her friend behind to go home. Inexplicably, this also causes a rift in the friendship to the point she and Allie barely speak.  Umm, ok *shrugs*.  Enter Hailey, one of Levi's friends, to take the newly available BFF spot. (#convenient)

After hanging out for a couple weeks, Levi decides to tell Allie his secret...or show her, rather. See, he and his friends are shifters...crow shifters to be exact. Yes, I said crow...as in the bird.  They have big wings that come out of their back, but they stay humanoid otherwise - and they can fly (as Allie discovers when Levi pulls her off of a tall building), they are strong...and surely have some other super-human powers that we will discover in the next book.  And there are things like vampires (at the bottom of the paranormal society totem pole...they suck blood, you see), werewolves and werecats as well.  And the crow shifters are the leaders of this hierarchy.  Oh, and they are rich. Of course.
And Allie's reaction to all of this is ...no, not a mental break with intensive psychiatric counseling...no, she doesn't freak and get the hell out of dodge...not at all. She is cool with it - no biggie!  Well. Ok.

So, after knowing each other for a couple months...Levi takes Allie out on a 'real date' to a fancy restaurant and gives her this bright shiny ring with rubies on it.  She is a little wary (she believes this is a summer fling that will end when she goes away to college).  But yeah, she still takes the nice ring.
On the way home, there is kissing, groping and steaminess - a veritable spike in hormonal activity, which leads these two back to the 2BR Hotel suite Allie's staying in (did I forget to mention that earlier?) to explore their hormones in the dark together.  Soooo, the next morning things are all good...until Allie discovers she can't get the ring off.  Huh!
Hailey, being the good crow-shifter BFF, explains that the ring and the er..consummation..while wearing said ring, now makes Allie tied to Levi as his 'mate'.  Yup.  (And the ring can't come off.  Well, maybe if she amputated her finger or something, but apparently its like fused on there good.) Yeah, Levi did that...without telling her what it meant.  Douche!! Jackass!  Controlling, manipulative asshole!  WTF??!  Etc.

Allie THEN freaks and leaves town.  What the BFF neglects to mention is that her new 'mate' is the crown-Prince of ...well, whatever this paranormal society is called...oh wait!  I believe its The Society (Yes, that makes her the Princess) and, she is unsafe outside of New Orleans - which is the seat of power.
(Just stay with me here...)
Long story condensed...kidnapping, attempted rape, rescue, returned to New Orleans, talks to/doesn't forgive Levi for asshole-ishness, she is told she cannot leave the city for her safety (and to keep her other family safe  - it would be bad if she were to expose them to this life) so forget Princeton, and then onto a forced engagement party.  The End.
Wait, what?!  Oh that's right.  Book 2.

My thoughts:
OK. So, I liked the setting of New Orleans.  The description of the locale was pretty great. I actually liked the premise of different shifters, and a society of these paranormal beings with a royal hierarchy. It could have been really good.
I liked the IDEA of the main characters...they had real potential.  Levi was a guy, if done well, you would love (and love to hate).  Allie is a girl you could really like (smart, independent, stands up for herself) as lead character - but there was just something missing.

What was missing:
1.The characters.  Yes, I just got done saying I liked them...or really WANTED to like them.  However, there was no depth.  Very little character development whatsoever.  It was all ...they did this, they did that, they said this...blah, blah.  But you never really feel the relationships between the characters. You never really gain any insight into what any of them are thinking...even Allie's thoughts are shallow and vague...flat. The different relationships between ALL characters in the book are surface only, and makes it hard to really care about them (or believe they really care about each other).  Extremely disappointing, because I think that it could have been really good with proper development.

2. The dialog.  Holy crow (see what I did there?), it was bad.  I had to actually force myself not to skip dialog. Honestly, I found myself adding descriptors into the sentences as I read them (about how the words would be said, the expressions on the faces, the little impressions that give insight and feeling to the words) that were just...missing.  When I read some of the dialogue I thought - no, this is not how a college Freshman going to Princeton (!), and a guy going into his Senior year at Tulane would have a conversation.  It was immature and unrealistic (read:middle school).  The thought processes/arguments for the events that took place the way they did, were weak and didn't appear to be well thought out...contrived.  Pet peeve of mine was the seemingly excessive and gratuitous use of "Really?" and "cool" by our girl Allie.

3. Major glossing over of LARGE parts of the whole supernatural world that was introduced, but never explained...at all... in the book. Yeah, secret basement headquarters under the Hotel (read:upscale batcave?).  Levi says Allie can ask anything she wants, but refuses to answer pretty much everything.  Then Allie just doesn't ask anymore.  There are so many loose ends and unexplained elements to the whole 'Society' - that it leaves you confused as to why it was ever brought up to begin with.

4. The fact that the ending of this story is that the girl must essentially give up her family (to keep them safe), her Ivy League education (because she won't be safe on her own), and be engaged to a guy who tricked her (by lies of omission) and took away her choice for her future due to his own selfishness.  But, yay...she is a Princess.  (Kill me now.)
And yes, I get the concept of letting go of one version of your life to start another...I just don't believe this was executed well in this story.

#Frustrated.  I wanted to like this story a lot.  I liked the idea of it, and parts were ok. I wanted SO much more.  I am not sure I will be able to continue in the series...which kind of irritates me because I think the story line could be interesting.  I just do not think I could endure the lack of development and dialog for another whole book.

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