Friday, January 17, 2014

NERC Review #3: Song of the Fireflies by J.A. Redmerski

*I received an eARC of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 
*SPOILERS. SPOILERS ABOUND! 

I don't even know how to review this book. I liked it, but I didn't. I loved most of the characters but wanted to smack them so many times! And the plot was filled with some ridiculous scenes that made me want to stop reading. All in all, it was definitely NOT my favorite J.A. Redmerski book. 

Rating: 3 stars!
....Where do I even start? So, in The Edge of Always and in this novel, J.A. decided to use time gaps to further her plot and show the background of the main characters (or, in the case of Andrew and Camryn, it was the end of their story). But, I didn't think it worked out that well. I disliked the huge gaps in the end of The Edge of Always, and I disliked them in this. The time gaps seemed a little all over the place. I get that they showed Bray's and Elias' relationship from the beginning, but I didn't care for them too much. 

I loved Elias' POV, but he didn't have much of a life that didn't revolve around Brayelle. Everything was about her. I just felt like he wasn't his own person. He did everything for her, even ruined his own life just because he loved her too much to let her go. God knows what he sees in that girl. She wasn't exactly the best person, and it was always about what he could do for her. She even left him, stayed in South Carolina for four years, and then breezed back into his life with no warning. And he took her back without a second thought. Elias deserved so much more than Brayelle and her mistake. 

I thought it was admirable, what Elias did. But I also thought it was the stupidest fucking thing he ever could have done. He did it for Bray, the love of his life. But their relationship was very dark and damaged. I don't even think they're really that perfect for each other. I picture their relationship more like an obsessive addiction. They didn't necessarily bring out the best in each other, but they did love each other. I could see it, feel it--but the fact that Bray actually broke her promise with Elias and tried to commit suicide, and the fact that Elias would have killed himself if she'd have accomplished it, just makes me think twice about the whole dynamic of their love. 

I hated Brayelle Bates. So damn much. She was a poisonous human being who had dark, dark issues that made her seem selfish, neurotic, bipolar, and just completely unhinged. I can't believe that she would let the person she loved do what he did without even thinking about how it would affect his life. Elias said it best when he said: 
"I can't go down for you, but you'll let me go down with you?"
Her absolute disregard for his feelings and for his life just pissed me the hell off. She was a disaster, a poisonous person with so much darkness inside of her. She brought Elias down with her, and that's not love. That's bullshit. I don't care if she wouldn't let him testify as her witness, or that she would have left him so he wouldn't go down with her. Those were selfish decisionsIt was easier for her to lose the love of her life by leaving than facing her mistakes and telling the truth. She never once considered what it would do to him, how it would affect his life. She only ever cared about herself. I'm just so unbelievably pissed off with Bray and her actions. And I honestly never saw any actual character development with her. I just saw a girl who was only trying to save herself

The plot of this story was very.... WHAT THE HELL WAS UP WITH CALEB SHOOTING UP A CONVENIENCE STORE AND TAKING HOSTAGES?! Because let's be honest here, the only reason the author did that was so Bray wouldn't have to make the decision to turn herself in. It's such bullshit! Oh, my main character is a horrible, horrible person, so let me just slap Caleb (the innocent yet womanizing bastard) with another, much longer prison sentence because Bray is a narcissistic bitch who doesn't even want to live

But seriously, the plot was all over the place in that it was just filler stories before Bray and Elias finally got caught and they found their way out of the mess that SHE put them in. It was drinking and doing drugs, having sex all the time, and being on the road with complete strangers. But I did like those strangers! Well, Tate, Jen, and even Caleb, the bastard. I tended to enjoy the conversations between all of them. They were a mismatched bunch of characters, but I loved them together.

I just have incredibly mixed feelings about this book. The only thing I do know for sure is that I absolutely and undeniably hate Brayelle. I also thought Elias had no backbone when it came to her, and he did everything for her only to have her throw it back in his face by planning on leaving him because he wanted to go back home, and then again when she used the pond, their special freaking childhood place, to end her life. But no matter my hatred of one of the main characters, no matter that I hated her POV, I think I still liked this book. It was a slow, almost painful read sometimes, but the end did make up for it. 

That ending was amazing! I'm not a huge fan of Elias and Brayelle's relationship, but I absolutely love how the author brought it back full circle, to the innocence of their childhood and the love they found among the fireflies. It was my favorite part of the whole book, I think. :) Song of the Fireflies was a hard book to read, what with the sometimes absurd story-line, disastrous couple who made mistake after mistake, and one of the worst female MCs. Not to mention, the numerous dark issues surrounding Brayelle sometimes seemed too extreme and a little unnecessary. But I did like the general message that love can survive anything, and that love can be the ultimate balm to pain. That strength can be found in unlikely doses and places, and that true friendship can last through the worst storms. It wasn't my favorite J.A. Redmerski book, but I didn't hate it. I don't think it was her best, but that doesn't mean I'm not glad I read it.