Monday, August 12, 2013

Review of Infinity (Valkyries: Soaring Raven #1)

*I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

The premise for Infinity sounded great. You wouldn't even know it was a fantastical paranormal story unless you checked the book out on Goodreads and read reviews. It isn't until the prologue with one of the main characters, Kara, that you realize it isn't just a contemporary romance. There are shape-shifters, vampires, Immortals, Valkyries. A whole world of paranormal creatures. And a whole world of trouble.

*If you haven't read this book, I strongly urge you NOT to read this review. This may or may not have turned into a rant...

Rating: 2 stars!
Like I said, the premise sounded great. But with little in the way of plot and one of the worst heroines with an ugly personality, Infinity fell short of that expectation. 

If there'd been more that had to do with the paranormal aspects, and less to do with Infinity, the main character, I would have been more inclined to want to finish this story. I did anyway, because it really did grab my attention and I was reading it for review. After that intriguing prologue, I was left wondering about the fantasy element, and I was interested in seeing how everything came together and why Infinity was so important. 

But then my interest started to drop...


***

There were a few reasons why I didn't care for this story that much, and the main character was appropriately the icing on top of the hate cake that is Infinity. Okay, that's a little harsh. I didn't hate the book; I thought it was okay. It was entertaining, to say the least. 

First and foremost, if I hate a character, especially the main character, I'm going to end up hating the book. Or, at least, not liking it enough to even grab the sequel. Yeah, that happened. So, anyway, Infinity is this spoiled, drugged-up superstar singer who is blatantly oblivious to all that goes on around her, and who acts like a child when she doesn't get her way. I have some shining examples of this girl's stupidity and horrible personality. See below

Exhibit A: Her personality. It's awful. She's a spoiled, stuck-up rich girl who happens to sing very well. Her moods are so up and down that it's difficult to even understand her reasoning and understand how she's feeling about certain characters and certain situations. She also acts like a child when things don't go her way. Case in point: Because Torch (the leader of the security team) told her that she couldn't go to a party, she sneaks out without her bodyguards, while knowing that people want to kill her, just so she can one-up him. Not to mention, it turned that night into a disaster, and she lost her two best friends. Okay, all her fault. Ten points to Torch for shoving it in her face (I'm harsh, I know). But it's those stupid, childish antics from the heroines that piss me off so much. Assuming something about a character or a situation is a mistake. Getting your friends killed because you wanted to show everyone who's the boss does irrevocable damage and cannot be erased. There was just no real depth to Infinity, and no real character growth.

Exhibit B: She does drugs. But when this story starts out, she's just out of rehab. Yet, she's still doing drugs. Why? Because she wants to drown out her dreams and these visions she keeps getting about the future (which she studiously ignores). Now, I can overlook a lot in a character. But only if their development grows. And hers did not. So, no. I didn't sympathize with her need for the drugs. She wasn't going through anything traumatizing. Yet. Oh, and her charity is about helping the poor people get the drugs, called Rejuvenators, so they don't have to donate blood (which ultimately goes to the vampires). I'm sorry, but why is she raising money for people to get the drugs when she just got out of rehab?

Exhibit C: Her obliviousness to everything around her. Her mom, Kara, has been training Infinity in martial arts and badass ninja moves (my description) because she knows that one day her daughter is going to need to protect herself. And when Infinity finally realizes that shade-shifters are real, like werewolves and vampires, she doesn't do much with that information. Plus, Kara won't tell her anything, so I guess part of her naivete is on her mom. And part of it is on Infinity. Although, when she was attacked by a vampire named Alik, he erased her memories of him. I wonder if he also erased her memories of being told about those paranormal creatures. She does realize that Boulder and his team of bodyguards are werewolves. Yet, when two people called her "brother" Mason a tiger, she didn't think anything of it. It was so obvious, it wasn't even funny.

Exhibit D: I felt like Infinity was used as a sex object. Every single male character had the hots for her. Her "brother" Mason does. Alik, the rogue vampire. And her "true mates", Torch and Boulder. Except for Diego, her best friend, every guy wants her. She's supposed to be some goddess, but in reality, her personality just makes her seem like a bitch. And when Boulder shows up, the only guy who has been able to make this virgin's blood boil, she finds out he's her true mate. One of them, that is. I get instant attraction, instant lust. But I'm still not entirely convinced that this isn't going to end up insta-love. 

Yeah, I hated Infinity. She's supposed to be this savior, someone to stop another war from starting between the vampires and werewolves. Yet, she's got an awful personality and she's sorely unprepared thanks to her mom's secrets. But I did like Kara and Torch. :)


***

What really confused me about the story was the synopsis. It's poorly misleading. There is no love triangle; there isn't really any romance in the story at all. Actually, with the idea of these true mates and how sometimes you can have more than one, I'm not sure it's going to be a love triangle where the main character ends up loving both equally and having to choose. Anyway, Torch doesn't even show up until 80% into Infinity. His and Boulder's security team doesn't even get called in to "babysit" the superstar until way past the halfway point. And that is where there is finally some action. Before, Infinity had had a little skirmish with a rogue vampire named Alik. But that's it for the action, and I think I was a little disappointed about that because the prologue set the book with enough suspense and interest to keep me reading. And yet, nothing happens until Infinity acts like a child and has a run-in with Alik again. A run-in that results in death, destruction, and gives Infinity a sense of distrust with everyone around her.

After that, secrets finally come to light. We finally get to know why she's so important, who her father is, and what she is. Infinity finally understands what's really going on around her with the different councils of shape-shifters. And with steely resolve and a strength that was missing throughout the book, she makes a decision. Her own decision. It didn't make me like her any better, but it did make me see that maybe, just maybe there's room for her character to grow and develop. To blossom into a kickass heroine who will fulfill her duty and save the day.

That's a big maybe


***

It wasn't even just the main character that had me rolling my eyes and wanting to throw the book (well, my laptop, but that would never happen!) against the wall. It was interesting, but over the course of the pages, I felt myself growing bored because nothing was happening. The plot consisted of Infinity and her need to lose her virginity. It did have some interesting plot points that, I'm sure, will be more developed in the second book. But with my dislike of the main character, and my attention waning, it was hard to keep going. I wanted to see how it all ended, and I wanted my questions and the mysteries answered. But by the end, I already knew everything, thanks to some chapters in her mom's POV, and when Infinity finds out the secrets, it took away the mystery. In paranormal stories, as well as with fantasy ones, I want action. I want mystery. I want to get lost in a new world. It needs to be fresh and exciting, and it needs to make me want to stay in that world and not leave it. Infinity didn't do it for me.

***

I'm not sure if I'm going to continue this series. I mean, I hate to not finish a series, because I know that things can get better. Characters can either grow on you or make your feelings for them in the first book seem like nothing. It also gives the author a chance to improve his or her writing, to develop plot points more thoroughly, and to redeem themselves if their first story wasn't that great. 


***

I was really excited for this book, and it sounded like something I'd really enjoy. I'm a paranormal and fantasy junkie, and the synopsis grabbed my attention the first time I read it. But even a pretty cover and an intriguing blurb can lead me astray.