May 9, 2016

Gifted by J.A. George

Title: Gifted
Author: J.A. George
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date: April 13, 2016
There is no chosen one in this story.

Avery Gray was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to make a decision that altered her future forever. It happens to all of us every day.

Avery is a size twelve university student with a penchant for dry humour, and she's as normal as they come. One rainy afternoon, Avery had to make a choice: go through the alleyway or around it. Two possible options. One would have had her future continue on as planned, the other would ensure that her future never remained the same again. She unknowingly went with the latter.

Change can be good. It can bring new opportunities, new friends and a life you never thought possible. Change can be bad. It can bring you people determined to burn your city to the ground.

It all depends on the decisions you make.
I received a .epub file of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I really wanted to like this book. The premise sounded interesting, and parts of it were very original and unique. Unfortunately, I wasn't too impressed overall.

I'll start with the basics. There were multiple spelling and grammar errors, and while they didn't necessarily take away from the story, I definitely noticed them and it made it a bit of a choppy read. The pacing also wasn't great. The first half of the book felt much too long, and then the end felt rushed. There are going to be four books in this series, so maybe the next one will be better because all of the introductions have been taken care of.

I think that I was expected to be attached to the characters by the end of the book, and I wanted to be, but their personalities weren't shown enough for me to connect with them. At times it was hard for me to remember which character was which, and after reading the book I still don't know much more about some of them other than how they dress.

Avery's relationships with these characters aren't done justice either. She goes from meeting them to being friends with them very abruptly. In the timespan of the book it makes sense, but we never read about them growing closer, so it's a bit of a shock when they appear again in later chapters acting like they're best friends.

There was a romance plot that was present throughout the book, but it wasn't anything extraordinary. I was never really rooting for them to get together, and I didn't really care how they ended up relationship-wise. (I'm totally biased on this front, though. It's no secret that I'm not ever that excited about male/female couples in books - I've ranted about it before.)

Finally we get to a more positive note, and it's why I rated the book as highly as I did. The idea of being "gifted" has been used time and time again, but George was able to write something new. I was a bit wary at first, but the world she created was fun and magical and put together well enough that it didn't seem too outlandish. 

My overall impression of this book is that it wasn't bad, per se, but it wasn't great either. There were actually only two things that really pissed me off. Both are due to own preferences, so they probably won't even matter to you. 

The first was that a male character directly called a female character a bitch. At least to me, it feels like a very derogatory term when men say it, more than just an insult. I don't want to get crazy feminist on you though, and I know it's just me reading into things too much. (If you're interested, this slam poem describes my feelings on the word in a much better way than I have here.)

The other thing I wasn't thrilled about was that the word queer was used as a synonym for abnormal. Obviously I know that's what that it originally meant, but at this point in time it's very clear that it often means something entirely different. I know that many people reclaim the word for themselves, and I support that 100%, but the fact that it was (and still can be) used as a slur shouldn't be ignored. Using it in this context seemed like a poor choice of wording.

Geez. This has gotten much longer than I intended it to be and I feel like I'm coming off as preachy, so that must mean it's time to wrap this up. Long story short: if you've got nothing else to read, you may as well start this book. I'm really hoping that the rest of the series will be stronger, because I'm definitely interested in it.

My rating: 2/5 badly drawn books

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