The Holy Terror

A possible retreat from goodreads ... though I'm tempted to yell "get off my lawn" at this site's tumblresque-ness. Yes, that's totally a word.

The Deepest Cut (MacKinnon Curse #1) - J.A. Templeton This was a buddy read with Lucy, Wendy, and SubCat, and before anyone gets the idea that we picked this to "tear it apart," we were all really excited to start this. I have to say though, that I hated this book. This had so much potential to be good: a controversial topic, a girl who can see and talk to ghosts, Scotland and an old inn and castle for a setting ... and yet it fell ridiculously short. If you only read the synopsis you could skip the first third of the book, because not much else happens. After that, the story quickly shifts to be nothing more than an insta-love romance between a teenage girl and a 200-year-old ghost.If the romance aspect isn't something that would bother you, there are a bunch of other things to be mad at. For one thing, the magic and physics of everything are never explained and only barely developed. When Riley was 15 she was in an auto accident with her mom and her mom died. After this, Riley can see and speak to ghosts. Why she suddenly has this ability is never really explained, much like a lot of what happens in this book. Riley can walk through ghosts but she can also kiss them (and smell them for some reason.) Ghosts can touch her and each other, but only some humans can feel when this happens. Ghosts absorb energy from wherever they can and also apparently have union meetings. Just kidding. (Mostly.)Riley learns everything she needs to know about ghosts and how to fight them from a cursory Google search, a few library books, and some random knowledge from her housekeeper and her housekeeper's medium friend. Everything Riley learns ends up being fact regardless of where she finds it or if it makes sense. She reads that spirits absorb energy from any available source and so they do. She reads that ghosts can read minds and so they can. She looks up spells and finds the exact one she's looking for right away. All of this is way too convenient and it smacks of Templeton making things up as she goes along to suit her narrative. And then she isn't even consistent. At one point Riley questions how a ghost can make sounds all throughout the house, but then she never questions how another ghost can tongue-kiss her, and this just shows how sloppy the writing is.Speaking of the writing, if the content of this novel didn't irk you, surely the writing would. This book is supposed to be creepy, what with the ghosts and all, and this effect is completely lost when the writing is so stilted. Transitions from one scene to the next are practically nonexistent. Here's an unedited bit from the book:I looked down at the book and quickly flipped through to the pages I recalled reading earlier. "It says here that small stones and pebbles placed along the floor can ward off evil spirits." I glanced up at him. "We can always go to the river. There are plenty of stones there."We raced to the river and I picked up as many stones and pebbles as my jean and sweatshirt pockets could. The sun was slowly slipping behind the horizon when we entered the inn again.I unloaded the rocks the second I made it to my room, and Ian helped me place them around my bed and along the doorway and window frame.They go from her bedroom down to the river and back again in just these three small paragraphs. This kind of thing happens throughout the book and it really lessens the impact a lot of the scenes might have had otherwise. It killed a lot of the creepier bits because the proper tension and atmosphere were never built up.What was built up was the romance. I had no idea this book was going to focus so much on the romance between Riley and her ghost boy, Ian. Riley falls head-over-heels in love with Ian and states numerous times that she loves him, trusts him completely, and wants to be with him forever. This sort of insta-love really, really bothers me, and it's just another instance of sloppy writing where she tells us Riley loves Ian rather than shows us. Why does she love him? Why does she trust him? Ian does nothing to prove either of those things. They both lust after each other (which is kind of hilarious considering Ian is dead) and Riley decides to help Ian for no other reason than the fact that he's got "brilliant blue eyes, long dark lashes, high cheekbones, and full lips." (Trust me, you need to remember this, well, Templeton thinks you need to remember this since it's repeated ad nauseum.) Riley constantly chooses Ian over her living family and friends, and it's a bit sickening to watch. If I was her sibling and I found out she trusted a ghost more than me, well, I wouldn't be too happy with her. And I'd question her judgement, that's for sure.There are a plethora of YA clich├ęs thrown into the mix on top of everything else. Riley and her family are uprooted to a new town after a tragic accident. Riley's younger brother is angry and hates her because it's her fault they moved. Her mother is dead and her father is always working so the parents are conveniently absent for 90% of the story. All of the teens in this new town are good-looking, except for the lone mean nerd villain with bad teeth. The hot guy is interested in Riley (of course he is) and so his last girlfriend is a jealous mean girl and acts bitchy towards Riley as soon as they meet. The teens all meet in a mysterious spot that no authorities know about so they can drink and smoke and haze Riley. I kind of lost count after this, but I think it's pretty obvious how unoriginal this story is.And finally, Riley is a cutter. I believe this was tacked onto the story to set it apart from the bulk of YA paranormal romance, and I also think it's a bit insulting to people who actually cut. You know what cures the need to hurt yourself? Sexytimes with a ghost boy. Yeah. That's all I'm going to say about that.I wanted to like this story, I really did. I had been looking forward to reading it alongside my friends and I originally thought this book would be different from the rest. I'm sad that it wasn't, and hopefully the next book we pick is better.

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