Saturday, June 7, 2014

Blur (Night Roamers) - Kristen Middleton

Seventeen year old Nikki and her twin Nathan have moved to Shore Lake to start over after their mother is brutally attacked. When Nikki starts seeing shadows outside of her bedroom window and hears whispers of vampires in town, she realizes that there are worse dangers than what they left behind in the big city.


Nikki, her mother, and her twin brother, Nathan, move to Shore Lake after her father sexually assaults and rapes her mother. However, what originally looks like a great place to at least start getting their bearings turns out far more deadly than anyone could have foreseen. A dead body the first night, and mysterious figures outside at night cause fear in both Nikki and Nathan.

My rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Ugh. Ugghhhh. There are not many books I would just consider bad, but this certainly takes the cake. In fact, I think that I may have preferred Mythical to this, and that's saying a lot. While it was a quick read, it had me groaning all the way through. 

The entire book is women losing consent over their bodies. It starts off on the very first pages, with the mother brutally raped for ~shock value~. Then, we find a dead girl in the lake, which looks like an accident at first but looks more and more like a covered-up murder as time passes - another violation of a woman's body. Then we have yet another girl killed. An older woman killed. Nikki herself forcibly taken and essentially drugged into wanting to have sex. Soon we learn her mother has the same sort of thing happening to her. We have men fighting over Nikki and not giving her a right to say anything. Someone says Nikki came of her own free will to a place, when, pages before we read her literally saying "no" while being carried to said place. A guy says that whoever has been spying on Nikki while she bathes is a 'lucky guy' and worse, we're supposed to see him as a good guy and that comment as a flirty compliment. It. Is. Disgusting. 

Even if we were to look past this, the writing, nor the characters, nor the plot could have saved this book. It is frankly guilty of bad writing all around.

The author has no real idea how to use commas. There are oodles of commas where there oughtn't be, and commas mysteriously disappeared into the night when they are needed most. There was an "effect/affect" error and a "your/you're" error. I can usually forgive a few typos, but those are two typos that a writer always looks for in their writing, so for these to be so egregiously overlooked is a sign of lazy editing, to be quite frank. The few times the author attempts italicized internal monologue (which isn't exactly necessary since we already have Nikki NARRATING THE STORY) she writes it in past tense. Sorry, but do you think of an even happening to you right then in past tense? Even in the regular narration, there's a lot of weird tense changes for no reason, usually from past tense to past perfect tense. Again, these are situations in where regular ol' past tense works fine and even better than past perfect.

The characters are bland. Nikki is a straight, white, "average" (which is the author saying 'pretty' without having to say 'pretty') girl who undergoes a personality change during the second half of the book, from "vaguely interested in guys" to "unable to control herself around guys". Nathan is the Big Eater man who Loves The Ladies. Mom is the Supernatural Skeptic who is mutating into something while going "nah, nothing's wrong". Caleb and Ethan are Obviously Evil and the fact that the author thinks the reader is too dumb to figure out the former is a vampire is Kind Of. Duncan is the Boy Love Interest who is Very In Love For No Reason Except That The Plot Demands It. None of these characters get deeper than this. None of these characters ever progress their development in a realistic way. I hated all of these characters and didn't care very much what happened to them, save for when ETHAN RIPS THE DOOR OFF A CAR TO GET TO NIKKI AND THIS IS NOT PORTRAYED AS SCARY.

The plot could have been good. You have a bunch of evil vampires in one area, several of whom have closed in on the family. That could be the plot beginnings of a Stephen King book. But, weird, out of place, badly paced, dumb as hell romance plots pop up out of nowhere. I'm fine with romance. I actually enjoyed Twilight the first time through, I rooted for Ron and Hermoine ever since the third book came out, I'm a fan of Pride and Prejudice. There are a lot of ways for romance to be done and to be done well. Even sexual romance which is, again, not my thing. But these characters had zero chemistry whatsoever. Duncan and Nikki had no chemistry, Ethan and Nikki had negative chemistry, and while we do see the mom and Caleb a couple times, their relationship isn't stellar either. If you want me to believe these relationships are good for the characters you have to make it a bit believable. But the plot goes all over the place, the characters, barring the family, know each other for a week at best during the entire duration of the novel and yet everyone is Super Tight. Not to mention the chapters just end. I think the author meant to be suspenseful but it was just someone saying something and the chapter ended, with the next chapter continuing the conversation. The book also ends on a cliffhanger in which absolutely nothing is resolved. Doesn't make sense. 

I could go on further. But this book isn't worth any of your time, even if it is free on Amazon. I'm not even going to post a link to the book because I believe in you all and I urge you all to love yourselves. Needless to say, I give it a 0.5 out of 5 stars.

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