Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Not my review of Carrier of the Mark

So, this was supposed to be my review of Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon. However, I haven't finished it. Erm, yeah - I know. It doesn't exactly make me qualified to talk about it at all so I'm not going to.

However, I'm going to talk a little about stuff that I like in YA fiction and some stuff I don't. This is a bit of an extension from Liz's post about MFB in 2012 and what I'm personally looking for next year and what I'm not going to read.

I've always had a rule to finish a book but had a bit of an epiphany this week. Full disclosure - I'm not a teenager, just someone who loves to read and write YA fiction. I know this isn't much of a revelation but worth mentioning. Does this make me qualified to review YA? Well, yes, I think so. However, I'm looking at relationships in the books I read from a woman's viewpoint. So when I see insta-love my eye gets a bit of a twitch going on. I also get a bit worried by the prevalence of overprotective boyfriends who, for example, stare at a girl for a few days, kiss and then the relationship goes from casual to - quite frankly - bonkers. I mean, if I kissed a boy at a party when I was at school I would have been pretty freaked out if he had then driven me to school the next day, taken me home and then stayed half the night. I'm not even getting started on what message these relationships give out. Whenever I read about a girl who suddenly feels that she can't talk to her friends about her boyfriend because they just wouldn't understand I get worried. I know that in many stories it's the supernatural aspect of the boyfriends that make the girl secretive but the message is still the same.

Yeah, I'm aware I'm getting a bit ranty now and there's room for all types of main characters in fiction. But, for me personally, I want a bit more of a kick-ass heroine. I want a heroine who's as passionate about her friends as she is about her man. I adore a good love story but I don't want the man to take over her life from dawn till dusk. I like passion in my books but I also want an amazing plot with characters that are going to make me think.

I've read some great books with male protagonists recently and have loved them because their voice is so refreshing. I've also read some fresh female voices too this year which only serve to underline what I've started to get tired of in YA fiction. Basically, I want to admire my main characters. I want to be thinking about them after I finish the book and I want to be doing that for good reasons.

I'm sorry that I couldn't finish Carrier of the Mark but it really wasn't for me, in part for the reasons I've mentioned above. What I read was well written and the main character is appealing. However, at the moment I'm looking for characters like Uma's The Bride from Kill Bill and although that sets the bar pretty high I like a challenge.


Vivienne said...

Very honest post, Sarah. Well done. We just can't like every book, we wouldn't be human!

Geetanjali said...

I know what you mean. I just struggled through a book that many reviews have been raving about. I'm still learning to write reviews and I try very hard not to bash up the book or it's author--but at times it's just SO hard not to!

AmieSalmon said...

Do have to agree with some of your points. I love romance, but I wish there were more strong friendships in books. I don't know where I would be if I didn't have the friends I do.

Liz said...

I have to say that I agree - I am tired of the insta-romances and the odd obsessive compulsive behaviour girls are subjected to in so many novels by their new boyfriends. And how they completely cut their friends off or feel estranged - admittedly, those things happen in abusive relationships in real life, and they aren't healthy, yet at the moment they are portrayed as the sort of thing that's okay and acceptable, rather than creepy and scary as hell.

This is one of the reasons why I love books by the two Cathy's - Cathy Cassidy and Cathy Hopkins. They are usually aimed at younger teen girls and they are all about friendship and family and boyfriends and priorities and growing up. I know a lot of readers may turn their noses up at these books, thinking they are VERY pink and probably quite fluffy, when in reality they are very real, very down to earth and you come away feeling empowered and cool and pleased to be a girl with good friends, or the potential of having good friends.

I am very pleased you wrote this blogpost - and I look forward to "sitting in" on you discovering new kick ass heroines.

Jenni (Juniper's Jungle) said...

I agree with you so much, there have been a number of relationships in books that have left me feeling really uncomfortable, and at times I've felt like I must be missing something 'cos reviewers galore are raving about the love interest I'm finding entirely creepy.

I've read a couple of books with male protagonists and I definitely want to be reading more, there is something that works so well for me with them.