Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Review: Destined by Aprilynne Pike (Whitney Finalist)

Title: Destined (Wings #4)
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Enjoyment Rating: **
Whitney Finalist
This book would be rated: PG for lots of troll-fighting

I read and enjoyed the first book in Aprilynne Pike's Wings series three years ago for the Whitneys. And in the meantime, I forgot everything that happened. I mean, if pressed, I could probably tell you that there was a love triangle, and a girl who discovered, after years of thinking she was a human, that she was actually a plant-based life form, but that's it. I couldn't tell you her name, the guys' names, anything. I just remember lots of descriptions of trees and fairies.

Fast forward three years, and I'm supposed to read Destined. So I turn the first page, and I'm lost. I figure, there will be some back story, just give it some time. But no, there is no back story. Pike picks up exactly where she left off with the previous book. As I'm reading along, I don't know who's a human and who's a fairy, or who is bad or who is good, or why they're fighting. But fight they do, until the book mercifully ended 300 pages later.

And that's the problem with the YA Speculative category for the Whitney Awards. So many YA Speculative books are part of a three or four or five book series. This year, four of the five books are later books in a series, and in several cases I haven't read the previous books. So what's a girl to do? I'm already reading 40 books in two months-- it's unrealistic to read additional books to fill myself in. But it would be nice if the finalists who had books in series were allowed to give us sort of a cheat sheet so we could understand what's going on. As it stands, I do my best to glean what's going on, but in a case like Destined, I find myself lost and frustrated, which is sad, because my friends on Goodreads who have read the entire series say it's fantastic, and I feel like I'm doing a disservice to Pike (whose first book was excellent) to discount her because I was so lost, but I also don't know what else to do.

1 comment:

Stephanie Black said...

Thanks for the suggestion regarding a "cheat sheet" for books that are part of a series. It's a great idea--I took your suggestion to the committee, and we'll be offering authors that option. I don't know how many will take us up on it, but at least they'll have the opportunity to bring judges up to date on earlier books in a series if they desire.