Book Review: Predestined

PredestinedWARNING! This review contains SPOILERS, if you haven’t read Existence then don’t read this review!!!

Details:

Title: Predestined (Existence #2)

Author: Abbi Glines

Publisher: self-published

Release Date: March 26th, 2012

Genre: Young Adult (maybe New Adult???), Paranormal, Romance

Pages: 247

Synopsis:

You would think after helping save her boyfriend from an eternity in Hell that things would go back to normal. Well, as normal as life can be when you can see souls and your boyfriend is Death. But for Pagan Moore, things are just getting weirder.

The high school quarterback and reigning heartthrob, Leif Montgomery, is missing. While the town is in a frenzy of worry, Pagan is a nervous wreck for other reasons. Apparently good ‘ol Leif isn’t your average teenage boy. He isn’t even human. According to Death, Leif doesn’t have a soul. The quarterback may have skipped town but he’s still showing up in Pagan’s dreams… uninvited.

Dank has known from the beginning Leif wasn’t human. But he hadn’t worried about a simple soulless creature. Now, he realizes he made a grave mistake. Pagan’s soul has been marked since birth as a restitution, to a spirit so dark not even Death walks near it. Dank knows saving Pagan’s soul won’t be easy but Pagan is his. And he’s already proven he’ll defy Heaven to keep her. If Hell wants a piece of him too, then bring it on.

My First Thoughts:

I honestly forgot I had this book until I looked at the bottom of my TBR stake and found it there. Since the first one was fun to reread, even though the story was slightly flawed and simple, I decided to continue the series!

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

What the f*** did I just read? If you read the review that I did for the first book I mentioned that it would have been better with an editor. That’s not the case for this book. Oh no, this book needed to go back to basic grade school English for some grammar lessons! While reading I was tempted to fix all of the mistakes with a red pen, however, I thought better of it when I realized that I would make the pages bleed…And yes, this book sadly had an editor listed, but apparently they didn’t know how to use the most basic commas (or verb tense in some cases). So this editor wanted to eat grandma instead of telling her to eat (You know: ‘Let’s eat, Grandma’ instead of Let’s eat Grandma)!

Aside from the grammar this book was a train wreck that got worse as the pages went on. The story started out fine, until the author explained what Leif was and who the bad guy of this tale was going to be. All I’m saying is that Voodoo is the big baddie in this story…Yea, voodoo. But it’s okay, because Pagan is dating Death himself and no one messes with Death, right? Wrong, they mess with Dank and time and time again he makes the same mistakes that lead Pagan into getting herself into trouble!

For a being that probably existed at the beginning of humanity, Dank is a dense character. He’s cocky, which gets Pagan into trouble, and he doesn’t learn from his mistakes. He also has an issue controlling human emotions such as jealousy and rage, especially when Pagan is concerned because even though she won’t leave him he still gets pissy when another guy even looks in her general direction. In this installment, Dank’s character development went downhill fast, which can happen, however, his character lost all sympathy from me. Also, his name is too ironic, Dankmar is an old name meaning famous for his spirit. Glines, do you need to hit it on the nose any harder?

Pagan got really annoying in this book. Her character is very static. She didn’t change any from the last book, her attitude didn’t change, and there was no character development what’s so ever. A piece of cardboard probably has more dimension and character to it than Pagan. By the end of the book her character screamed Mary Sue to me, and honestly, I would not have shed a tear if her soul ended up trapped in Hell forever.

Leif wasn’t any better. Like Dank, his character development took a turn for the worst. In a nut shell, he is a weak, ball less, and stalker-ish Voodoo spirit or something. Yea, big softy that felt bad for causing Pagan to almost die is weak and psychotic. Again, Glines really doesn’t like noses because Leif’s name is like Dank’s. Leif has Scandinavian origin, coming from Old Norse meaning heir. Though why a voodoo spirit would give their child a name from a different race (with a totally different belief system) is beyond me!

And don’t get me started with Voodoo being completely evil and blah, blah, blah! Again, this author seems to have no research capabilities to save her life and relies solely on stereotypes (By the way, I did a search on Ghede and found serval important voodoo figures with that name). She uses tiny details here and there, stringing them together like the stereotypical whack-job conspiracy theorists on TV, you know with all the random pictures on a tac-board connected together with red string. Anything about voodoo in this book made my eyes bleed. All the scenes that pertained to voodoo made me want to stab this book with sharp pins like a voodoo doll. Glines also doesn’t have a concept about biology, specifically about genetics and skin color…

The minor characters were so much more interesting than the main characters. Honestly, if she wrote a story about Miranda and Wyatt I would probably read it because I loved those two more than Pagan and Dank! However, Pagan’s mother I could have done without. The mother did something big and awful and Glines barely touched on it. The mother should have been beside herself, possibly becoming suicidal for what her actions did to Pagan. Instead, the subject was blown up and then left on a back burner, like the author didn’t know how to write the mother’s reactions and decided not to bother with it.

Finally, the main fight scene was a total let down. The author built it up and up for a good chunk of the book, only to have a show of muscle be what saved Pagan. Yea, this scene put the final knife in this book. It was disappointing, infuriating, underwhelming, and actually a bit sexist. All around, it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Final Thoughts:

This book tried too hard to break out of its Young Adult shell to be a part of the New Adult genre. With that said, this book is not for the faint of heart. There are some crude things that the author briefly describes, but gives enough information for a detailed mental image.

The main characters of this story were unredeemable in every way, and Pagan is as flat as a piece of paper between two marble slabs. The minor characters (for the most part) were the shining light of the book. Glines can’t write from the male perspective or do intensive research on her subjects. The author also can’t seem to write realistic reactions from her characters. The dialogue was horrendous and half-done, like the research. The main battle was underwhelming and the story ended with a prom scene and graduation (oooooo, exciting!).

Also, the title of this story makes no sense. Predestined literally means determine (an outcome or course of events) in advance by divine will or fate. The only ‘divine will’ in this book with that kind of power, as the author has set up, would be this faceless Creator mentioned a few times. However, this Creator is as useless as an oxygen tank for a fish underwater. There’s nothing about this character that screams divine, or powerful. Instead, they’re a wishy-washy character that is empathetic, even when it’s their curtains getting pissed on by the voodoo spirits. Instead, this book should have been called Restitution.

Rating(s):

1.5/5

Predestined had a few shining aspects that were completely muddied by the rest of the book. I enjoyed the minor characters and the concept of souls and soulmates. However, the rest of the book drove me insane. The grammar was horrendous, even though it had an editor listed. If I gave this to one of my English teachers the book would’ve come back bleeding with a pen stabbed through the back. The research for this book was half-assed, the dialogue for the New Orleans characters was hard to read, and the book had enough plot holes to give Dr. Who a run for its money. Overall, this book has ruined any chance of me finishing the series. I just can’t do it. Abbi Glines, I wish you luck in the future, however, I doubt I will ever chance reading one of your books again to see if you’ve gotten better.

Related Reviews/Books:

Existence

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(Reread) Book Review: Existence

Existence

*This review will be a little different than the others, because I have read this book in the past. So this can be considered a re-read book review!*

Details:

Title: Existence

Author: Abbi Glines

Publisher: Wild Child Publishing

Release Date: December 13th 2011 (first published March 4th 2004)

Genre: Young Adult (Almost New Adult), Romance, Paranormal

Pages: 161

Synopsis:

What happens when you’re stalked by Death? You fall in love with him, of course.

Pagan Moore doesn’t cheat Death, but instead, falls in love with him.

Seventeen year old Pagan Moore has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn’t let them know she could see them, then they left her alone. Until she stepped out of her car the first day of school and saw an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he’s dead.

Not only does he not go away when she ignores him, but he does something none of the others have done. He speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What she doesn’t realize s that her appointed tie to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul at all.

He is Death and he’s about to break all the rules.

When I first read the book:

I first read this book my freshman year of high school, so that was a while ago. When I read it back then, I thought it was a decent book with some grammar and spelling errors that a good editor could fix. I think when I read it the book, it was basically the printed adaptation of the kindle version, and it looked like it too. I’m not sure if the recent editions have changed slightly, but I had to say that I had one of the original printed editions. But, let’s see how this book holds up the second go around, especially now that I’m older!

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

Warning! This book has some dealings with mental illness (such as Bipolar, PTSD, and Schizophrenia) and psychiatric homes!

I believe that age has definitely changed me as a reader. I remember when I first read this, all the tiny writing mistakes that I found in the words, and that was all I really found wrong with the book. However, now that I’m older, I have found a few more errors in this book, though mostly to do with character building and really bad Google research.

Some of the character reactions to certain events didn’t sit well with me, especially to some of the traumatic events. What do I mean? Some of the characters were almost unaffected to some events that would make normal people just absolutely flip their switches or go into shock. When the main character reacted normally to the same situation, she was labeled as overreacting or mentally ‘fragile’. There were some other character actions that I found didn’t fit with their personality or age group. As for some of the dialogue from the teens, sometimes they didn’t fit. Teens are notorious for using slang, contractions, and the use of less formal variations of the same word when speaking to their parents or other teens. They don’t reply ‘Yes’ to every question, and they don’t say ‘Oh my G!’.

As for the bad Google research, well that mostly ties in with later in the book with some of the afore mentioned mental illnesses in the warning. Some of the things said and described in that section of the book really aggravated me because it was clear that the author had no concept or experience with such things. Instead, her opinions/thoughts on mental illness and those who suffer from them were very stereotypical sheltered.

The end was also a little twisted, not in a sick way, but in the sense that the author didn’t really completely explain some of the reality building she did in the book, especially in the last few pages. The author briefly mentioned some important themes in the dialogue, but didn’t fully explain them for the readers to get a clear grip on what she was saying. Maybe there will be more explanation in the next book? I can only hope, because I never got around to reading it!

However, despite these issues Existence for the most part was still very enjoyable for me to reread. It was fun to remember the feelings I had when I first read the book, and to remember the parts that I had to keep myself from squealing about in the back of the classroom my freshman year of high school. It was also interesting to see how my taste in books and how I rate them or feel about certain things has changed. It’s an easy story to follow, for the most part, and there aren’t a lot of things to confuse the readers.

Final Thoughts:

This book will be fun for anyone who has an interest in Death, well obviously. And it will be enjoyable for anyone looking for a low key, simple, not a lot of adventure, paranormal story. I can say that this book will probably not be for everyone, especially with all of the current discussions and awareness of mental illness as a whole. However, regarding that area, this book does not spend very many pages, maybe 20-25, with the issue of mental illness. It reads as if it was thrown in last minute as a way to help push the story toward the final conclusion, but that’s just my opinion. The rest of the book is pretty enjoyable, if you don’t mind going back to high school, some continuity errors, some repetition, stereotypical portrayal of a ‘farm girl’ (that one really pushed my buttons), or the old stereotypical way of portraying people with mental illnesses. It’s a fun concept that I have not seen many people play with in other stories.

Rating(s):

Story: 3.5/5

Re-readability: 4/5

The story as a whole was pretty interesting. The concept was one that I had not read about when I first picked up the book, and I have not found many books with a similar concept since. With that being said, I think what I liked best about this book was the concept. The writing is okay, it isn’t the best that I’ve read, but it certainly isn’t the worst. The main characters are, for the most part, pretty fun and enjoyable to read about. The only marks that I have against this book are some of the hideous grammar mistakes that I found (I have an older edition so they may have been fixed by now), some of the unrealistic reactions of some of the characters, and the clearly high school, stereotypical way of portraying mental illness and the care that goes into those patients. If it weren’t for those this book would have gotten a 4 for the story.

As for the re-readability (if this is not an actual word I will make it one!), this book was fun to read again and remembering the different feelings I had while reading it years ago. I even remember how angry I got towards the end when I read it the first time. Now that I’m older there were other things that bothered me that I either never caught or didn’t think about before. But overall, this story was pretty fun to read again!

Related Reviews/Books:

COMING SOON!