Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Review: Forsaken by Jana Oliver


Author: Jana Oliver
Release: December 13th 2010
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, Demons, Angels, YA
#1 in the Demon Trappers quartet
Sequels: Forbidden (#2), Forgiven (#3), Foretold (#4)


Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself—and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on...

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get—even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart—and her life?


I am so, so sorry, Laura. 

This book really wasn't for me. It came highly recommended by a lot of stellar reviews from several Goodreads friends, and Laura even directly urged me to read it when I asked. So, I truly thought this would be good. It wasn't, however. Not for me.

The characters bugged me the most. They made this whole ordeal absolute hell. Riley is a special, special snowflake, and shows off almost all of the signs of a Mary Sue. She doesn't get along with other girls and only has one guy friend, seeing as she is the outsider and usual bully victim, but somehow, every single guy has the hots for her in this book, and Riley doesn't understand why. Seriously, every dude has his eyes on her, the hunks as well as the sleazebags. There is only one guy, one and that's her best friend since childhood, and I wouldn't even be stunned if it turned out he was gay or something and that would be the excuse he's not in love with her, too. But not only is Riley super special, she is also a fucking dumb idiot. She is a natural at trapping demons, of course she is 'cause she manages to catch a Three all alone without backup. However, the demon is snatched up because this moron forgot to bring a weapon. How. What. How could she not bring a weapon to a demon infested zone? And how the fuck could she have the guts to go out with the intent to catch a demon, actually get the job done, but then back off when two fuckwads come to scare her? Seriously? Set the demon loose, let it deal with the mothertruckers and catch it again if you're that good, but letting yourself be bullied by two douches, I just... I mean, I get the problem, I do. But if Jana Oliver takes the time to portray Riley as this super badass taking names at every turn, but then lets her be "defeated" by two random, ordinary dicks ... I'm sure there's some moral lesson to be learned there, but it just managed to make Riley look like a total wimp. 

Don't get me fucking started on Beck. I hate, hate, hate authors shoving accents down my throat. Honestly, fuck off. Fucking get the hell out of my face. There's almost nothing I hate more, it pisses me off to no end. So, that alone already made me dislike him, but then it turns out that he really is a major douche. At first I was angry at Riley for being a stuck-up brat to him and all, and I do think that this behaviour is unsolicited and makes her extremely childish and dumb, but then again, it is merited in some way. Because Beck really is a controlling jerk with absolutely no manners whatsoever, and even if he does have his moments, I just couldn't with him. Awful guy.
“He took a long drink of the soda, gave a distinct burp but no apology.”

And the writing. The fucking writing. It is seriously competing with the characters for worst feature of the novel, and I'm still not quite sure who takes the cake, actually. It's just cringe-worthy and made me want to throw up repeatedly, because Oliver tries to write like a teenager would talk, and maybe that was cool for a while and some teens might have been impressed by that, but I personally just thought it was horrible.
“ 'I'm so viral,' she said, groaning.
(...) Nothing seemed right, and she was freaking out. Simon was totally cute; there was no way he didn't have a girlfriend.
(...) At least the 'rents made the effort to explain after they ordered you around.”
The list goes on and on. Riley has many troubles, but her newly deceased dad isn't a lot of them. Instead, it's bully girls making a mess of her windshield with lipstick, what to wear for a date with a cute boy, being ordered around by another cute dude, being ordered around by an old dude, etc.

And that brings me to: plot. There was that one plot twist at the very beginning that I feel isn't that huge a spoiler because it happens pretty early on, and I thought it would be a major part of the book. And in a way, it is, but only to further underline how unique Riley is, because her father was either loved or hated, nothing in between. And that's how she gains most of her enemies or allies in this book. Harper? Hated her father's guts, is now out to make her life hell. The necros? Want to reanimate her father's body, adding troubles to Riley's life. Fireman Jack? Always on good terms with her daddy, so he supports her as well. And so it goes; and her dad's death doesn't really do much to develop her on an emotional level or anything, either. She cries a bit at first, has some puffy red eyes, but that is it. I mean, we didn't get to know that much of her before the death happens, but from what I can gather, she still stays the same stubborn, stupid child. She never learns, and her priorities never change, not even after being orphaned. 

I am just supremely mad at this book. I have nothing against a novel that is fun and doesn't take itself too seriously, with characters who are airheads for the most part, but at least provide me some half-assed plot that is at least entertaining and some okay writing. That's all I ask. And this novel didn't deliver, I didn't even enjoy any of it. I had to punch myself through.

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