Review: ‘Obsidian’ by Jennifer L. Armentrout #COYER

Girl’s dad dies. Three years later, Mom uproots the two of them from Florida to…West Virginia? Girl, aka Katy, is not happy. She doesn’t even realize that there are two teens her age living next door until her mom mentions it. Even though she never does this, she knocks on the door to meet them. Rebuffed by a super-gorgeous, green-eyed hunky jerk, she just doesn’t know what she’s done to deserve this treatment. Nevertheless, Katy, Daemon and Dee (the next door neighbors – and twins!) continue to have many interactions, culminating in Katy finding out their real story and seeing some crazy stuff happen. All while Daemon continues to push and pull at Katy. What an ass. Or is he?

So?: I have a policy (or a problem) that I try to stick to when I read something I do not like by a well-known author. I read something else, because, you never know, it might be better. I have seen Obsidian everywhere on the internet, with praises being sung and hearts throbbing. Since my library did not have it at the time, I read another one of Ms. Armentrout’s titles (aka, The One I Did Not Like). But still, there had to be something in this Obsidian book to have so many tongues wagging (in the manner of both talking and panting, it seems). I know that I am in the minority here, but I just am not in love. At all.

It occurred to me that perhaps I would love the type of drama in her stories if I were younger and more apt to see things in super crisp black and white. Maybe it is my maturity level and experience that makes me shake my head at these stories, I don’t know. Obvs, many people read and enjoy her books, so maybe it just all comes down to taste. Bottom line: I can only review this filtered through my brain and experiences, so here goes.

Katy, the main character, sure talks a good game. You know everything about her, because she tells you everything. Trouble is, her actions are not in sync with the way she describes herself. It’s the school of “I would never do this in a million years, but hey, let’s do this thang!” The character that tells the reader that they are nothing but true to themselves and their beliefs, but then, two seconds later, that resolve has dissolved. She comes across as cocky and self-assured, when she is neither of those things (or so she tells us). And yet, she says some pretty ugly things to Daemon in particular, even though we know that’s not how she normally acts. It’s hard to keep up.

There’s a tone throughout the story (which is, I think, Ms. A’s writing style); a tone of snark, cuteness, shallowness sarcasm. Boy, Katy sure thinks that Daemon is a jerk. Why does he have to be so hot? Whenever she’s angry with him (which is a lot), she cannot express that anger without mentioning how gorgeous he is. It is tiresome. And about that Daemon. It is typical YA fare to have the boy be so unattainable, but gosh, there has to be a reason! He can’t just be an ass or – Heaven forbid – just not like the girl. I know, I know; that’s not the plot. But this book has this clod of a guy who, in my opinion, doesn’t even have one redeeming quality. Other than those green eyes. (Oops!) A normal girl would just say “Forget it!” and move on. But not our Katy (who never even usually leaves her room!).

I have also noticed (and this is pretty prevalent in YA writing as of late) that there is a writing style where the author takes a verb and uses it in a different manner (“my back bit into one of the small trees,” for example) to try to amp up the action or catch the attention of the reader to make the action more vivid (my guess). I don’t have a problem with this, per se, but it can be tedious and overreaching and heavy and overdone. Plus, sometimes, it also isn’t really true. I understand what the author is trying to convey, but I think what she means is that the tree’s bark bit into the character’s back. I also jotted down “I dragged my hair behind my ears” and “I gluttonously (which is here an adverb) ate each breath.” Blech. It’s like reading the diary of an overwrought teenager, with the description of the turmoil sounding like a combination of molasses and a jackhammer.

There are other parts of the story that just aren’t interesting. Do you remember when you find out that the freaking scary clown in Stephen King’s It is really a spider? Sorry, but the clown was soooo much more frightening than a ginormous arachnid. OK, maybe not in person, but still. Once the mystery is revealed here, yawnitty-yawn city. So much emphasis was placed on “developing” the characters that little was incorporated into the story. It definitely felt like a distant runner-up to the oft-mentioned eyes/eye color. The remainder of the characters felt two-dimensional, especially the twins’ other friends. And Daemon’s sister, Dee, was immediately best friends with Katy, just like a first grader would be. Only they are in high school.

The Bottom Line: Nope. I cannot recommend. The story is so uneven, and as a reader, I felt lied to regarding Katy’s personality. There was zero chemistry between the main two characters, and less than zero reasons that Daemon would want to interact with Katy.

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout was published May 8, 2012 by Entangled Teen. Ink and Page purchased this book through monies earned by doing Google surveys.

Rating: 1

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Fantasy Science Fiction Romance Series
Ages: 14 and up
You Might Want to Know: Lotsa bad language

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