Monday, 25 May 2015

Jack Strong and the Red Giant

Author: Heys Wolfenden
Genre: YA/Teen/Scifi/Adventure
Book Rating: 7
Personal Rating: 7

This book seemed like it was going to go well.  it had the makings of a really good, even excelent book but it just didn't quite make it. I can't say that I didn't enjoy it, but i didn't really enjoy it either.  The prologue started of as a great attention grabber.  But after that the story unfolded in a typical manner.

It dragged too much for me and was a bit predictable.  Jack, I wanted to love him, shy bullied poor boy who earns some friends and some courage.  There is so much win here.  Yet, i just didn't like him.  Getting bullied is one thing, but he jumped, yes jumped, from that to this insane boy on a mission to save everyone.  It was just too much.  I found this hero element fell into the I don't use my brain i just have to save everyone because they are all alive.  I guess I'm a bit jaded but yes, if there are no signs of life and you are slowly dying yourself at some point you have to let go.  And stranded on a planet that's about to blow up.  First priority how the hell are we getting of this planet.  Save people after you have a plan.  Every minute you spend saving people is one more lost trying to escape so you are all going to die anyway.  Lets just say He bugged me.

Vyleria was okay as well but ultimately, after being set up to be a rather level headed girl is stupid enough to fall for the race me ploy and lose command of the ship.  Her introduction came as a 'vyleria continued' but i can't recall her ever actually saying her name before then so it felt awkward that it appeared in a way as if I should've known this.

I could go on about the characters forever.  I can honeslty say I almost liked Vyleria, but the only character I genuinly liked was grunt.  And to my dismay, this may be a spoiler, it went nowhere.  I was secretly hoping he'd turn out to be, well, anything.  He pretty much stayed the same the whole book no matter how many hints of him being something were layed.  So that just sucked.   Physical appearance does not count as a character development change.

Ross just not liking people because he can was annoying.  And then the whole man rule the world women hate stuff what is this stuff still doing in books.  Thankfully that argument barely lasted three sentences.  All in all i just sort of was annoyed by the characters.   

But the real reason I just couldn't get into it was the slow plot.  The book takes such a long time in the middle to flit in and out of earth and Vyleria's simulated planets in the middle of the book.  Just who cares.  I'm halfway through this novel and still have no clue what 'Red Giant' in the title is there for.  We've got this mysterious alien, who's name I cant remember, pretending he can't control the ship and an invisible girl wondering around.  So much good plot things to use and most of it is spent on little arguments over control of the ship, what to do with the ship, and so on and so forth.

The other thing about the plot that botthered me was the backing in time.  Rather then tell them simultaniously.  As in go up to a certain point, usually the point where they all converge, stop and then give the other view point,  I always felt like I was moving forward and then I'd get to something I already read and be confused, and go back and reread, I couldn't tell a lot of the times that it was different vantage points because they picked up off of each other in a cntinuous motion.  As if each story arch had ended and that I would be taken back to that part after this other persons bit.  But more often than not i was reading something that was leading up to what I just read and I felt like it was so good the first time.  In fact all the times it was just brilliant that I quite litterally didn't need to know all the other stuff.  I was just thoroughly confused reading the end of this book at some parts.

And one thing, going back to invisible girl.  Jack thinks he saw her.  Says nothing.  I am okay with that.    The ship tells Vyleria that there is a little girl running around that she cant see.  Chapters and chapters later, Jack finally brings this up and Vyleria says he's crazy.  You can't be serious?  Our first meet is with her explainging how to use the ship and how it can imediately translate languages so everyone can understand eachother.  Yet here she is someohow refusing to accept the ships assesment and telling Jack he's halucinating when she can prove it.  She cant have faith in the ships awesomeness through the whole book and then just suddenly be like this life form doesnet exists now that jack has confirmed what the ship has told her.

And lastly some phrases are just too repetitive, this one in particular:
but no sooner was he in the air but what...
But no sooner than she could jump but what...
And it's longer variates such as,
No sooner had they begun to race down the narrow corridor but what…
The sooner to but what combo literally done my head in.  Yes I know what it means.  And yes I say it but when writing usually you try to go out of your way to find new and ingenius ways to say the same thing.  Before I hit half way through I just couldn't deal with it anymore.  Repition is a bit distracting. 

All in all the ship was awesome, the story line had imense promise, and once the reason for the title was revealed I was feeling like okay but then there was the one big thing, and yes I've reread this book.  I'm still completely unaware of the prologue.  Who is this boy?  Did he die.  Is he one of the people on the ship.  Most prologues either the characters die, or are directly related to the plot, or are actually revealed to be one of the characters.  There is always a pay of. My opinion went from yes this is awesome to, okay who is this boy and why did i need to know this.

I feel a little let down because there was so much good here, lots of really great and fun things happened.  This book should've been brilliant.  But the characters all just beeing moody 12 year olds who fight all the time; A little bit of kiddie romance that just didn't quite sell;  Repeteivie phrases and the fact that the vantage point style of story telling, which i actually love usually, just wasn't quite handled well.  All of these things sorta served to bring the book down for me.  The characters just didn't seem to be given the chance to be anything more, Ross, I will admit I liked by the end of the book.  He made the most logical sense.  Grunt had the most room to grow but didn't, and then the typical anoying rich boy.  Invisible girl needed moree page tiime.  She was kinda just floating around until she was needed.  Like she wasn't part of the cast.  It just didn't move.

The moody uncertain characters are what make this genre of book, in this case it just didn't quite work out.  That being said I most definitly want to read another book.  There is more than enough set up in here to lend itself to an excelent series.  And, this may seem like a really stupid reason to want to read on, but with all that happened i quite literaly only want to see what happens to grunt.  And maybe Ross.  But definitly Grunt.  And I want to know enough that I will read the next in this serious.  And who knows I might be madly in love with it. Stranger things have happened.

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