Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book Review: The Glimpse by Claire Merle

Title: The Glimpse
Author: Claire Merle
Published: June 07, 2012
Rating: 2 of 5 stars

My thoughts: **POSSIBLE SPOILERS!**


Since I find it terribly difficult to write a blurb for a book I dislike, I'm going to just copy down the synopsis from Goodreads to make this review easier on myself.

So, from Goodreads: 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 interfere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. 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, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before.

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And I thought my blurbs were too long? Sheesh.

Anyway, let's get on with this. For the record, I don't enjoy doing reviews on books I don't much like, but I must.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

DISLIKES:

* Let's start with the term “Crazies” - yes, this book is a work of fiction. I get it. I get that people use the word with abandon all the time in real life. I suppose I added this book to my to-read pile before the full synopsis was up, or perhaps I overlooked the word “Crazies” - either way, for me personally, that probably would have kept me from reading it to begin with. I find the term offensive and people who use it uneducated. It's putting a stigma on people with mental illnesses (in the book as well as well as every day life) of any sort. In this book, all people with mental illness are grouped together and considered BAD BAD BAD by the “Pures” (folks without the gene that supposedly spreads mental illness around). They're all considered uncontrollable, violent, and below everyone else. They are even used as slaves workers by the Pures. They are not even permitted to live within the Pure city. I found it very hard to read this book due to my extreme anger throughout the entire thing. This brings me to my next issue:

* This story is set in the year 2041. Do you seriously mean to tell me that it is even remotely possible that mankind could have devolved SO MUCH within just 30-ish years? That is probably one of the most ridiculous and unrealistic things I've ever read in a dystopian novel. For one thing, it's like they've gone back in time. Women aren't allowed to leave home without a man as their escort. Then, of course, there is the whole Crazies thing. Again, it's like they went back in time to where people didn't yet understand what mental illness was. It's so backward to me. In a futuristic society, it only makes sense that people would evolve in some way, not the opposite. Doesn't that makes more sense? They've forgotten everything we know now in just 30 years? I don't think so!

* The protagonist. Ana. What can I even say about this girl? I didn't like her. Not one little bit. She has some leeway about how she is due to the fact that she grew up on this maddeningly ridiculous society, but in order for me to like her, she'd have to really grow through the story; come to a conclusion other than what she's been taught for so long. She really didn't. She runs off from home in search of her betrothed, sees things that she probably never dreamed of, learns the truth of the “Crazies”, the who, the why - she becomes educated on what's really happening in society, but she doesn't seem to grow from it. She's the same annoying and ignorant girl we started off with. She's more worried about sucking face with a boy than trying to make things right.

* Everything else: World-building. There were holes. WAY TOO MANY HOLES. Plot. It was boring and moved slower than death. Romance. The love triangle had no substance. Neither love interest had any real reason to like Ana, nor she them. Closure. There wasn't any. Is this the first book in a series? Doesn't appear to be. Maybe I misunderstood the ending, but it seems like this book needs a follow-up.

LIKES:

Well, I don't really have any. How can I explain this? I gave this book 2 stars instead of 1 simply because I can appreciate the fact that this author came up with an original idea and, although very flawed and offensive to me, the book has what a lot of readers want. Does it have what I want? No. I guess I feel that some readers will be turned off immediately by the Crazies/Pures idea, and even though I was one of those people, I think I can step outside the box and admit that there are things about this novel that a reader could appreciate if maybe they could overlook the bad parts. Does that make sense? I hope so.

Basically the extra star boils down to this: Originality.

OVERALL:

This book is flawed.
It has the potential to be very offensive to a whole lot of readers.
The plot is packed with holes.
There isn't enough closure.
It's dull.
It's slow.
The world-building isn't great.
The characters are not likable.
IT MAKES NO SENSE.

It's an original plot idea, but the execution is just a mess in my eyes. I don't recommend this book, but if you do decide to give it a try, I will leave you with these words: BEWARE & GOOD LUCK. That's really all I can say. Like they say: Opinions are like you-know-whats, and this is just mine.

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Book source: NetGalley
Publisher: Faber & Faber