Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Another Just-Okay Read—and I Love NOLA Novels!

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Although her professor father can hardly contain himself at the prospect of studying history from the inside, 17-year-old Lucy Aimes isn't quite as enthusiastic.  She'd rather be hanging out with her friends in Chicago than playing Gone With the Wind all summer in hot, humid New Orleans.  Lucy promised her family she'd give life in Louisiana a shot and there is one thing she's excited about—interning with the preservation department of Le Ciel Doux, the antebellum sugar plantation/living history museum of which her father is the new curator.  It's impossible not to be intrigued by the elegant old mansion with its stately columns and ancient secrets.  Capturing it all with her trusty Canon is the one thing Lucy is looking forward to doing.

Le Ciel Doux's otherworldly atmosphere invades not just Lucy's camera, but also her dreams.  At night, she's plagued by vivid, unsettling scenes from a distant past she shouldn't recognize, but somehow remembers.  When she spies a mysterious stranger she's seen only in her night visions roaming the grounds of Le Ciel Doux, Lucy thinks she might be going crazy.  How can she feel so much for a person she doesn't know, a boy she's not even sure actually exists?

When a local girl is brutally murdered, Lucy knows the incident is somehow related to her strange visions.  Evil has descended on Le Ciel Doux once again and it's up to her to stop it, before it destroys everyone she loves—in the past and the present.

You may have noticed that I have a thing for novels set in The Big Easy.  The colorful, atmospheric portrayals of the city, with its unique history, culture, and customs, always capture my fancy.  So, when a book fails to bring all that richness to life, I feel a bit let down.  Which might explain why I found Sweet Unrest, a debut YA novel by Lisa Maxwell, disappointing.  The book's premise is intriguing enough, though not very original, so I had high hopes for a good read.  While the mystery did keep me flipping pages and I did enjoy the back-and-forth in time narration, Sweet Unrest just wasn't anything special.  The characters felt flat and cliché; the prose did a whole lot more telling than showing; the plot had some big holes; and the setting failed to come alive for me like it usually does in a NOLA novel.  I definitely wanted more from this book—better character development, a stronger voice, more dynamic writing, etc.  In the end, I felt this one was just okay.  Not horrible, not wonderful.  Okay.

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of Transcendence by C.J. Omololu and Ruined by Paula Morris)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and mild sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Sweet Unrest from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.  

2 comments:

  1. If you haven't yet, you should read Out of the Easy by Sepetys. Great NOLA setting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OUT OF THE EASY is one of my favorite NOLA novels. The setting comes alive SO vividly. Plus, it's got great characters, excellent writing, etc. Everyone should read it!

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