TITLE: A Red Tale
AUTHOR: Nicola Mar
PUBLISHER: Smith Publicity
GENRE: Mystery, Fantasy, Middle Grade
RATING: 1.5/5 Stars
Snow has been falling on the Caribbean island of St. Michael for years, diminishing plant and animal life and leading to extinction. But underneath the island's ocean lies Surritz--a tropical, magical realm where water dragons known as Wayters have discovered their power of reason.
After being hypnotized, fifteen-year-old Stasia Forrester meets Billy, a Wayter that makes her realize she has the ability to reverse global cooling. But Stasia has something that Billy wants, and to get it, Stasia must travel back in time. She soon discovers that her connection to Surritz is more complicated than she could have ever imagined. When love starts to guide her conscience, she faces tough choices.
How will her decisions affect global cooling if her needs are more important to her than saving humanity? Does she trust that Billy is telling her the truth? If so, she may lose the only true love she has ever known.
What I Liked:
- The beginning instantly sparked my curiosity and caught my attention. I lied how the Wayters were introduced, it was a nice introduction and the subsequent first few chapters flowed well and seemed really promising. It's not too often that a book instantly grabs me like this one managed to and I was really excited about what it might have in store. Also, I've never read a book set on a Caribbean Island before and that made a nice change of scenery.
- The concept itself was pretty original. I loved the idea of Global Cooling, the Wayters were pretty intriguing creatures and the strange dreams of an even stranger land were intriguing to read. I didn't feel like I'd read anything similar before and I have to say, that was a pretty big plus point for me. I wanted to hear more about Surritz, the magic land included.
What I Disliked:
- I'll start with the really major problem for me first. After the pretty interesting introductory chapters, I really felt that the whole plot began to unravel a bit. Things happened without any real explanation, I felt like there was far too much going on at once and it began to get confusing. I felt like, at times, I was reading a stream of consciousness from the author. At other times, I would just sit with a befuddled expression on my face wondering what on earth was happening. It frustrated me to see a book lose it more and more as it progressed. There was a lack of explanation for how and why certain parts of the journey happened, I was just meant to accept it.
- This isn't such a major concern but I didn't really find myself attached to any of the characters. Stasia as a main character was a tad boring and some of the characters surrounding her were pretty irritating. Amelie was a perfect example of this, every time she came up with a crazy theory I just found myself groaning in annoyance. I felt generally the characters were not very consistent in their personalities or their opinions. I also had a hard time keeping track because one character might be related to others through past lives and in the end it all got a bit confusing and strangely creepy.
- I was left with quite a number of unanswered questions. What happened to Abe? Who on earth was Maisie really? Where did Maisie and Flynn disappear to? Were the Wayters actually bad or not? And how on earth did this entire book result in the end of Global Cooling because I see absolutely no reference to this end result whatsoever?! It was disappointing, given the amount of confusion I got while reading, that the ending was so abrupt and my burning questions were brushed aside.
All in all, this was not a great read for me. Yes there were some nice bits in there, especially at the beginning but I felt that during most of the book there was just too much going on and very little made sense. I didn't know who I was meant to like or trust, why most of the characters were even there, and why parts of the story even needed to exist. It felt quite messy and jumbled at times and I feel like there should have been a lot more focus in this one. Still, it wasn't totally terrible! I just wished that the very loose ends had been thoroughly explained at the end.