Saturday, January 24, 2015

Review: Perception (EVE #3)


Title: Perception (EVE #3)
Author: A.L. Waddington
Page Count: 264
My Rating: 2 TURTLES: A so-so read. It had some redeeming qualities, but not enough to recommend.

Description:
Questions, questions, and more questions.. they consume Jocelyn Timmons’ life—both of them. Questions that never seem to have an answer. They haunt her, eat at her, and dreams of a normal senior year of high school have finally floated away into nothingness.

Inheriting the gift of EVE (Essence Voyager Era) has become both a gift and a curse. One that Jocelyn doesn’t know if she wants or can accept. The world she once knew and thrived in has all but disappeared in the last two months. And now she wonders if she can ever find her way home again.

Her fianc√©, Jackson Chandler, and his family seem to be the only ones who understand what she’s going through besides her uncles, both of which she’s grown very close to. But even they do not fully grasp how turbulent the situation at home has become. Will Jocelyn survive the torments from her mother and brother? Or will she find a hidden key to finally unlock her golden cage?


Review:
I have been sent copies of all of the books from the series up to now by publicists and have been liking them less and less as I go along. The original premise of people leading two different lives at different times was so intriguing that I kept reading, hoping that the story would utilize this unique premise to create a kick butt story, but three books in I think that ship has finally sailed.

There are just so many things that have fallen short in this series for me, so I will try to string my issues together somewhat coherently and try not to rant. I have hopes for the first, less for the latter.

Here it goes....

One thing that bugged me about this story from the beginning was how much Waddington romanticizes "back then". The two times that the characters are living in are present day and the late nineteenth century, and while this book did address social issues of that time, it romanticized that era as much (more, in my opinion) than it criticized it. Present day Jocelyn praises the family values of "back then" and laments of how much we have lost, but this is mostly because her present day family is particularly messed up and her "back then" family is particularly close and put together. Its true that as the veil between the two times comes down and both Jocelyns remember each other, the "back then" Jocelyn gets upset that her family does not support her in going to college, but that's really the biggest one. She's not upset that she can't vote. She's not upset that she will have to depend on Jackson, modern and supportive he may claim to be(though he comes off as pretty patriarchal to me), for the rest of her life. Also, the only time she gets upset about the plight of her life back then is when it affects her specifically. I know if I were transported back then, I might have fun winning bets on who the next president will be or visiting my favorite late authors, but I know seeing the pervasive racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression would make me sick. I wouldn't be able to do it. This doesn't bother Jocelyn particularly, though especially seeing as the only people of color in her life are the house staff in her "back then" life, and even though they are servants they are "like family" so it's all good.

Now that I'm down off my activist soap box, the next pressing issue I had with the story has to do with the premise and the plot.
Premise: There are a group of people who have this special genetic gift (I think going magic instead of science fiction would have made more sense with this one, but I digress) that means they live two different lives at two different times. They are born unaware of the other life they live until around adulthood when the barriers come down and they can integrate living two lives at once.

Plot: A young couple in the 1800s are about to get married. The man has this gift, and when he figures out his fiancee does too, even though she has no idea, he and his family scramble to find her in their present day lives. The reason? If she gets pregnant in her "back then" life she gets pregnant in her present life. Yes, pregnancy carries over both lives, though illness and injury does not, go figure. This would cause problems for present life Jocelyn, but "back then" Jocelyn would be irked if her husband didn't want to do it with her once they were married.

You see my problem? We have this cool magic/science fiction premise and the author uses it to pose the question: "what would you do if you knew getting your life pregnant in one life would royally screw up her other life, but still wanted to sleep with her once you were married?" Not exactly like the spine-chilling mirror-of-reality questions that other science fiction novels have sought to shed light on.

The last reason why I didn't like this book that I will address in this review is the fact that I don't like Jocelyn and Jackson very much.

Jocelyn comes off as clingy and disrespectful. She rolls her eyes, smirks, and snickers quite a bit, and maybe the author just wasn't paying to the connotation of the words she was using and meant that Jocelyn looks up with amusement, smiles coyly, and titters a lot. As it is though, Jocelyn comes off as kind of a brat.

Jackson, well, for a guy pursuing law in both of his lives, he is a bit of an idiot. Despite being 22, when he finds out that his 17 initially, but turns 18 by book 3 girlfriend lives in present day too, not just the 1800s, he decides that the best way to re-win her heart would be to fake his age and re-enroll in high school even though his family moved in across the street from her. This, of course, means he and his family have broken a lot of laws to get him to be near his one true love, when a neighborhood barbecue would have done the trick. It is because he has these crimes hanging over his head, not, apparently, because he has grown or matured in anyway, means he cannot partake in the shenanigans he used to with his buddies. Shenanigans that included stealing a bunch of street signs from the road on a drunken stint that caused an accident. But it's okay, because no one died and Jackson's lawyer daddy covered for him so he and his friends didn't get in trouble. Any shred of hope I had for Jackson as a character ended when I read that scene.


I recognize I am just one voice with one opinion, and there are many people who do like these books, but I cannot recommend them. I held out hope, I've had enough, and I will not be continuing with the series.
 

Perception on Amazon



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