Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Imagine is the first book in the Imagine series, a crossworlds/epic quest fantasy by YA author Jenna Greene and Champagne Book Group.

The premise is wonderful and I did like seeing a very young protagonist having a positive influence in a story and I thought her motivations were the most believable and reasonable of the characters.  The world building was interesting and the idea of a tide-shift age in magic in the world was original. However...

I struggled with this book.  There are some issues with the plotting and the story arc.  The character dialogue is often stilted and the characters seem unnecessarily angry and hostile (to one another, to strangers, to everyone). I'm not sure who the target audience is, it's quite long for younger readers at 344 pages, and there's a considerable amount of fairly graphic violence (stabbing, strangling, spine injuries, etc) as well as a fair bit of rough language (nothing completely over the top, but more 'damns' and 'dammits' than I would usually want in a read-along young reader book). The main characters spend most of those 344 pages running from one violently bloody encounter to the next without any pause or, frankly, reason.  One of the main protagonists is 10 years old, and every time someone said her name, Becky Thatcher, I was yanked completely out of the story. (Becky Thatcher is Tom's love interest in Tom Sawyer).  In addition, for my taste, the violence was often gratuitous with graphic descriptions of glass cuts and parasitic plant injuries, talons digging into victims' spines, etc.  It felt like every single page, the protagonists were right on the very edge of an unpleasant death.  Perhaps that will appeal to many readers, for me it just felt exhausting and unrelenting and somewhat meaningless. Then again, I haven't been a teenager for decades.

I understand that a certain amount of teen angst is just about de rigueur for YA books, but even by those standards, this book is on the outside edge.

The cover art is beautiful, though, having read the book in its entirety, I'm still not sure who it's meant to depict.

Not for me, but given the overall ratings from others on Goodreads and Amazon, etc, I seem to be in the minority.

Two and a half stars for originality and concept.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.

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