Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Ten by Gretchen McNeil
Published by Blazer + Bray
Genre: YA horror/suspense
$17.99 (US hardback)
294 pages
What it's about:
Don't spread the word!
Three-day weekend. House party.
White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

My Thoughts:
It's no secret that I'm madly in love with Agatha Christie. I talk about her books all the time, so when I saw that someone wrote a newer, teen version of Ten Little Indians (or for you British people out there, And Then There Were None) I was excited, really really really excited.

Then the reviews started coming in. All the Agatha Christie lovers out there were saying run, run away as fast as you can from this book. I still have not seen one review from a Christie fan that has liked this book. Obviously, this made me a little nervous going into the book.

Knowing both the book and the play version of TLI, I knew what to expect. I knew that there are two possible outcomes for this book and that it was most likely going to be the play version. This did take away some of the suspense of the book, but McNeil added a lot of her own characteristics to the book. The one big big big change McNeil made to her version is that the death message is on a dvd, is a little cheesey, and didn't explain much. Part of the brilliance of TLI is the little song that is posted on the table with the little Indian figurines. The party guests didn't think anything of it until a few deaths in. But with Ten, you didn't have that. You didn't know how each person was going to die and there wasn't the added song to make it errie. Because of this, it took away from the cleverness of the story and turned it more into a teen horror movie feel.

So for being an adaptation of a beloved story, it was okay. Adaptations of other stories can be very difficult and I think that McNeil did a pretty good job taking TLI and adding her own twist to it. I would definitely recommend mood setting while reading this book. Read it at night, a cold, rainy night. In a dark house. Set yourself up for the mood of the book and I think this could be a really fun read.

My rating: 7/10

Review: Undeadly

Undeadly by Michele Vail
Published by Harliquen Teen
Genre: YA paranormal
$9.99 (US paperback)
272 pages
Format I read: Netgalley
What it's about:
The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird...

Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she's shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite boarding school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath.

Life at Nekyia has its plusses. Molly has her own personal ghoul, for one. Rick follows her there out of the blue, for another...except, there's something a little off about him. When students at the academy start to die and Rath disappears, Molly starts to wonder if anything is as it seems. Only one thing is certain—-Molly's got an undeadly knack for finding trouble....

My thoughts:
This book had such potential and yet fell short.

When I first started, it was the perfect pace. It explained everything just enough to not bog down the book but told you enough that you could follow along. I was really enjoying it and then all the sudden the pace sped up and there were so many story plots going on that it was becoming increasingly hard to focus on all of them. Some got left behind and then at the end had to be picked up real fast and explained. With all these story lines going on, it also meant that the characterization was starting to lack. I never really got to learn all the quirks of the characters, was never really able to connect with them. I found it odd that the second Molly gets to school, she all the sudden has these great friends and an enemy. I would have liked to see a lot more of this.

What I really want to say is that this book just needed to be longer. Take the time to fully explain what is going on, let the reader get emotionally involved in what is happening to Molly. It had some really good ideas, I loved the whole Anubis angle and how zombies are an every day thing. It reminded me of the end of the movie Shaun of the Dead. I just really wish the book was longer. It has a fantastic voice to it and Molly is a character that could have been a lot of fun to follow around. This book was just too short.

My rating: 7/10