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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Book Review: Pretty Dark Nothing by Heather Reid

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Blurb: It’s been twenty three days since Quinn has slept for more than minutes at a time. Demons have invaded her dreams, stalking her, and whispering of her death. The lack of sleep and crippling fear are ruining her life. Energy drinks and caffeine pills don’t make a dent. When Quinn dozes off in the school hallway, Aaron, an amnesiac with a psychic ability, accidentally enters her nightmare. The demons are determined to keep them apart, and Aaron from discovering the secret locked away in his memory. Together, they could banish the darkness back to the underworld for good. That is, unless the demons kill them first.

Review: Thank you to the publishers via Netgalley for an e-galley to read and review.

The premise of this book sounded so incredibly interesting and terrifying: waking nightmares, insomnia, demons and people that can invade your dreams? Wonderful. Unfortunately, this book did not live up to the blurb and was just not for me.

How is the "Dark Nothing" pretty? Death is pretty? That is exactly what the protagonist, Quinn, said it is. Quinn's thoughts, and she's got many, do not make sense especially when she's constantly fighting for her life against the demons. And Azrael, the self-professed sentinel, and Quinn's guardian? If he is such as he's professed, why hasn't he been doing his job and prevent the demons from constantly harass Quinn in her dreams as well as in the real world?

Aron, who is drawn toward Quinn for some reason, repeatedly assists her. Suddenly, Quinn is in love with him!!! And yet...she has sex with her boyfriend, the cretin who just unexpectedly dumped her after a four year long relationship. Quinn is in love with him SO much and they have oh so many shared treasured moments, and then she miraculously doesn't have those feelings for him anymore. What?

There are just too many inconsistencies and I could not connect to anyone or anything within this story. It was difficult to soldier on and get through to the end. Still,  I finished it. Why? Why would I continue reading something that I nearly walked away from several times? Well, dammit, I was curious to find out who the heck Azrael is, how Aron fits into Quinn's horrors, and see how it all ends.

The teenage angst is one thing. I expect that out of YA books, I do. I expect it and set aside a certain amount of tolerance for it. But Quinn? I found her to be nothing more than a whining five year old child! Pages and pages and pages of "why me", "pity me", and okay I'll just pity myself. Why did my dad leave me even though I had begged him not to? Why did my boyfriend, Jeff, break up with me? Why are my grades slipping? Why did I get kicked off the Captain's seat and why was it given to my enemy, the chick who stole my boyfriend? Why is this all happening to me? Why does it seem like the world hates me. Whine. Whine. Whine. Whine some more. I was waiting for her to get up and DO something about it and take charge, but all she did was freaking whine. Frustrating, aggravating, and unappealing.

In between the constant whining, she "analyzes" herself and tells herself that it is ALL her imagination from lack of sleep. She doesn't want to sleep because of the nightmares with the "foggy darkness" pulling on her. So she consumes caffeine tablets and drinks to combat drowsiness. Then there is more self-pity and blaming herself. Taking responsibility? Oh no. She's just unlucky, nothing but bad luck since these things just spring up out of nowhere. In the past she was Perfect Quinn who could do no wrong, who had the perfect parents, the perfect grades, the perfect...really? These things happen out of nowhere without a single indication? Pffft.

So I read on. I get to the answers and even these aren't consistent and satisfying. I actually re-read the last few pages several times convinced I was missing something as it just left you doing the Jackie Chan meme of

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