Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Harper Teen/ Edelweiss this has not affected my opinion of this book. I am also not a book archeologist or am claiming to be a doctor of any kind even though I have a JD which is technically a doctorate most people don’t call me doctor unless they’re my aunt.
From the Diaries of Dr. MJ—book archeologist: in LucasFilm’s set for Ancient Egypt (hey, I need something more dramatic than my storage unit)
I made a strange discovery today on the job. I found a book. Okay, so I find a lot of books hidden in these tombs of forgotten books-but this book it hasn’t been published yet. Why is an ARC in the Temple of the Forgotten? I must read it.
I read it. This happened.
Yes, my head really did explode. Or the little vein that’s on my forehead popped a little bit. It was that bad.
As a book archeologist it’s my duty to study how this book became what it is. It’s a hard job, I know, but I’ll do my best. I don’t blame who tried to rid it from this world of its existence though. Might I recommend burning it next time because unless…
Oh, God, I can’t believe I’m actually advocating burning a book. That’s not me at all. Now I feel dirty.
I need to be scholarly. After all, that’s what Dr. MJ is scholarly when she’s not fighting the Nazis with a bazooka and finding lost antiquities….different archeologist. I only visit storage units.
So, how do I tackle this books awfulness. Let’s start with the source: the author.
Kiersten White is probably best known for her Paranormalcy series which reads like a kid high on candy. I actually liked the first two a lot, but I never loved them like a lot of people did. I could never pinpoint why until now because of this book. After Paranormlacy was published White released Mind Games. The book was sort of a disaster. But it amazing that White tried something new, stream of consciousness, and that she wrote it in like two weeks (amazing, but it really shows). I had really high hopes for Chaos of the Stars. I thought that without being on a sugar rush or the weird stream of consciousness that Mind Games employed, this might be the White book I was waiting for.
Boy was I wrong.
Instead, I found out what I hated about Paranormalcy because this book had the same proble: it was gimmicky.
If you take a part the few differences: Sparkly character replaced by sullen character, secret organization of paranormal hunters replaced with Egyptian compound, beep replaced with floods, girl moving to realty, they’re very similar. Down to a lot of the same gags and humor. It’s blatantly obvious here that White relies on her own tropes. Other authors that I like do this, but it’s not this obvious. Take for example, Meg Cabot. You could make an argument that her characters are very similar, but each of her stories is unique and her tropes are altered more than changing beep to floods. Reading that just made me groan.
It probably also didn’t help matters that I hated Isadora. I know why she was not a goddess because no one would want to worship this girl. She’s horrible. She makes Bella Swan look like a happy character who loves life. That’s how depressing she is. And she’s just so self entitled. She hates her parents basically because she’s going to die like…you know, everyone.
Get over it.
Seriously. That’s her beef throughout the entire novel. And instead of trying to act all mature about it, what does she do dye her hair green and get a faux hawk and proceed to judge others on the beach and calls her brother Horus, Whore-us (real mature) .
I kid you not. She and her new friends also devote their times making fun of people in their swimsuits (in particular a pregnant woman).
A real sweetheart that one.
And of course because this is YA she’s guaranteed a man-cessory who helps her break that hard bitchy exterior of hers (he doesn’t, despite what White says). Let’s describe Ry. He’s described looking like Prince Eric and Evie Isadora keeps mentioning how blue his eyes are. There’s a paragraph that’s like blue, blue, blue (Oh, the art of the English language). And then bam, he’s the descendent of Greek gods which is just completely random and irrelevant to the story except for the fact that White puts her foot in her mouth when she states that Greek and Egyptian mythology is the same thing.
They might share some similar elements, but they are not the same thing. The Osiris and Isis myth is completely different from the Persephone myth, for instance. The thunder god rules the Greeks, the sun god is in charge of the Egyptians. Greek gods for the most part were human figures, Egyptian gods often were a little bit more animalistic in appearance. I could go on, but I won’t. And yes, White, I get your point that a lot of religions revolve around agriculture I read The Source for Mrs. R’s World History class after all, but still different mythologies. And WTF was Ri the some of Aphrodite and Hephaestus was it just so that Isadora could get access to their Wonder Woman jet for the stupid climax?
You know what, I don’t even care. It’s the same thing with the whole basis of human spawns from two gods. There’s no explanation for it. I’m just supposed to buy it.
And you know, I don’t. I don’t.
Maybe it’s wrong for me to question things when I read, but I want some explanation besides the facts you found about Ancient Egyptian mythology Wikipedia. Seriously, the tone of the info dumps read like Wikipedia.
It was pathetic.
It’s not difficult to breathe life into mythologies. Even Josephenie Angelini has done that to a degree in that shit storm, Starcrossed. The info dumping was hideous in that novel, but at least it didn’t seem to be like a ripoff of Wikipedia which made the rest of the book feel disjointed. It probably didn’t help matters that were just some random bizarre parts of the book. For example, at one point the main character talks about her dad’s magic penis.
Her dad’s magic penis.
That is one thing I don’t want to read about especially in a YA book. And yes, I know she was retelling part of the Osiris book but…mind bleach please!
I think the info dump, the lackluster narration, and the illy placed dreams made the pacing in this book seem very awkward and just sort of ruined climax. I didn’t really know what to make of it and wasn’t sure if there was supposed to be a sequel or much. I really couldn’t make sense of the plot if there was one because I just kept groaning so much. Like when Ry assumes that Isadora speaks Arabic because she looks Egyptian and starts randomly speaking to her in it despite the fact she spoke to him in clear English with no accent.
This book is best forgotten. It sort of reminds me of the term lemon (not the fan fiction term, but the term we talked about in several classes describing car or other product that seems perfect on paper but just falls apart once you actually use it). I understand why this book has been hidden in this temple of lost books. But it needs to be hidden better where no one can find it. Unfortunately, though I see many people falling for it like I did. But a White sucker I am no longer. Not after this.