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Review: Spectral

my thoughts in a few sentences: You know those generic and super cliché paranormal stories that make it easy to pinpoint the formula? Spectral by Shannon Duffy is exactly that kind of book. It’s a paranormal book with no surprises and total cheesiness, and is responsible for a TON of eye-rolling. Every moment is predictable, the dialogue is pretty tacky, and what the what is up with the characters and their so-called romance? It was such a struggle to get through Spectral by Shannon Duffy, as all I really wanted to do was shut the book up and move on after about a quarter of the way in. I was bored, unimpressed, and, by the end, I got irritated because of all the time lost trying to power through it.

hooking first line: "Living in the witness protection program didn't make me feel so much protected as it made me feel cursed."

Tribute Books • Blog Tour • Paranormal Romance • 4/10/12 • $2.99

Spectral by Shannon Duffy
Convinced she’s a part of the witness protection program, sixteen-year-old Jewel Rose is shuffled around the globe with her family like a pack of traveling gypsies. After arriving at lucky home twenty-seven, she stumbles upon a mysterious boy with magical powers claiming to be her guardian . . . and warning of imminent danger. Despite the obvious sparks between them, Jewel discovers a relationship is forbidden, and the more she learns about dark, brooding Roman, she begins to question who she can even believe—the family who raised her, or the supposed sworn protector who claims they’ve been lying to her all along.

As she struggles to uncover who her family has really been running from, she is forced to hide her birthmark that reveals who she is. With new realities surfacing, unexplained powers appearing, and two tempting boys vying for her heart, Jewel battles to learn who she can trust in an ever growing sea of lies, hoping she’ll make it through her seventeenth birthday alive.
True, Butterfly, Maple Leaf, Armageddon, I’m dizzy

Some of the most ridiculous things in the entire book are the nicknames Jewel Rose manages to acquire. I found myself quite embarrassed on her behalf, because they all sounded like patronizing pet names and I HATE THAT. But, more than that is the girl behind each one. Jewel has so many names; however, she has absolutely no exciting personality traits to match up with any of them—at least they tell some story, whereas she doesn’t. I swear she’s one of the dullest heroines I’ve ever run across in YA. In Spectral by Shannon Duffy, Jewel is raised to believe that she’s been on the run from some sort of mob group and that she’s part of the Witness Protection Program. Just the fact that she never bothered beforehand to question any of this, instead going with wallowing in depression and self-pity, generating a ‘woe is me’ attitude proved her uninteresting, as if she had no real thoughts or assertive nature, which felt totally fake and bizarre. And her annoying and tedious personality doesn’t stop there.

Jewel is one of those TStL characters that shouldn’t be given the reins as narrator. All her decisions are wacky and totally illogical, running not on impulse—which I could appreciate, even as a flaw—but on damning childish petulance, which put her well below her soon-to-be seventeen years. She’s fine-tuned her blame skills so that everyone else takes the hit for poor decision-making and all her frustrations but herself. Then, she reels with overwhelming guilt and tries to redeem herself with self-sacrificing actions of stupidity, which of course make the situation ten times worse and only more predictable and obvious.

None of her actions are relatable where they should be, and she just goes along with what most people tell her. And then when she does make her own conclusions, she doesn’t know what the heck she’s talking about and starts getting others killed and whatnot.

Two words: Oh, brother.

This plot, writing, characters—they make me want to gouge my own eyes

Spectral by Shannon Duffy is, to make matters far better, completely what you would call a formulaic paranormal novel. You know the one. Girl has pent-up questions, girl meets hot enigmatic stranger with all the answers, and they go about stealing forbidden embraces as evil groups of people chase after girl for being some all-powerful being of prophecy or other. Duffy doesn’t even try to go outside of the box, and creates these cookie-cutter characters and puts them into stale and very worn-out situations that happen exactly as you imagine them.

There is some overbearing recapping and the most clichéd sentences ever to be written in a novel. If I had to read about his soulful eyes one more time, I’d planned to cut to the chase and just be done with it, striking my own head through my mahogany coffee table. Repeatedly.

None of the other characters are memorable or exciting. There isn’t a single one who shows up that steals the breath, pumps the blood, or tickles the hell out of you. There’s no clever banter and intricate, well-written plot. It’s all very basic, and I starved for way more.

Excuse me, instaluv, while I proceed to *head-desk*

Then, to top things off, Spectral by Shannon Duffy has a horrendous love triangle and mega ‘instaluv,’ so much so that I wanted to barf in someone’s lap. Saccharine love phrases, trite tug-of-war between guys who KNOW NOTHING ABOUT HER, hot guys and hot kisses with no substance. Both guys have the knack for creating these really corny nicknames and are kissing the breath out of her within the week of their acquaintance, claiming to know her and love her and SHE’S SO BEAUTIFUL, OH MY G and I wanted to knock their heads together.

Duffy tries to make Jewel noble with honesty toward both guys, but then she botches that up with the character’s pitiful self-doubt and constantly aggravating decisions that contradict her previous thoughts. I’ve never met a more indecisive main character with such horrible instincts and MIND-NUMBINGLY TERRIBLE decision-making capabilities. It’s hard to pull back the urge to smack some sense into Jewel’s kind of character because otherwise the kindle would get the brunt of the blow without restraint. *grumbles*

A gorgeous cover and intriguing synopsis does not The Perfect Book make

One of the first things that drew me in about Spectral by Shannon Duffy, apart from the unusual title, was the cover. I’m so in love with the colors and the way the model looks. It’s dazzling and it looks wonderful. But the story inside? Yeah, not so much.

Spectral by Shannon Duffy is just so typical, whatever interest I’d started with completely faded by the time I was done, so that every turn of the next page was a deliberate and frustrating struggle.

Rating: Toilet-Drinker
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Liz. R said...

Ugh. There is nothing I dislike more than TStL characters and insta-love. Thanks for the honest review, I will be avoiding this one! It's a shame, I thought it sounded pretty good, but now I don't think I could put it up with it.