Monday, January 14, 2013
Review of Glimpse by Claire Merle
Goodreads Book Description: In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.
Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.
Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society, and as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe.
My Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
My Review: I have had this well hyped book on my list for a time now. It's gotten mixed reviews, so I went in with an open mind. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a train wreck. I award this book 2 stars.
The Glimpse by Claire Merle is about Ariana, who is a Pure (does not have any mental illness) and whose father has invented the test for the Big3, genetic alterations that supposedly cause mental illness. She is about to be joined in marriage to her biggest crush, Jasper, but things start to spiral out of control when she realizes that everything her father has taught her may not be true. Jasper also starts acting out of character and secretive-- she knows he is hiding something and suddenly on the night of their joining, he is abducted. The book chronicles her journey to finding out what really happened to him and the dark undercurrent of what is actually happening in their society.
It sounds like a good premise, right? And I would say that this could have potentially been a good set up for a book. But from the start, I never could really sink into the story because of odd plot choices and inconsistencies. Furthermore, I never could like Ariana-- she was a weird conglomeration of righteous indignation, talented in ways that seemed odd, and a penchant for making bad decisions and running straight into danger that seems completely obvious to everyone else in the world. Also, while I'm a fan of never letting the pace let up with a plot, it seemed like Merle was trying to cram too much into one book and the transitions were difficult to follow. I found myself struggling to get through the book. The way the book starts is also weird-- we see a snapshot of Ariana, and then skip forward in time several years. We seem to miss out some really important stuff during that time.
MINOR SPOILER ALERT: One of the biggest issues I had with the book is the beginning when her father thinks it is a great idea to take her to meet some woman who is posing as her mother so that she will stop asking questions. REALLY?! Does he think that a child can't recognize her own mother? It's not like she was only a baby when she was taken away. I couldn't get over that for the entire book because the whole plot hinges on this discovery.
Overall, while the premise could have been promising, the execution was clumsy, and the decisions made about the plot were not good ones.
A few more points that I wanted to add to my original review. First, a lot of the people who gave this a poor rating actually did that because they were so offended by the discrimination of Crazies (those with mental issues). I think that authors can make whatever world they want to (but of course, it'd probably be better to deal with a subject that's a little more PC so it's better received by the general public). This didn't bother me, actually. It MORE bothered me that the world so quickly changed in ways that don't really seem feasible.
Second: SPOILERS FOLLOWING. I had a reader remark that I didn't understand the plot, and the woman that was shown to Ariana, was actually her parent. I don't think this is true, and think that perhaps this person doesn't understand the plot. But maybe it's me that doesn't understand the plot. The issue is, I wasn't compelled enough by the story to begin with to care and check back if I was correct or not.
Lastly, what's up with the title? The significance of the world "glimpse" is revealed later in the book, but almost offhand like it needed to show up so the book could have a title. OK, done with ranting.
What did you think about this book?
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