My Rating: 2 of 5 stars
I picked up this one from the used bookshelf because I hadn’t read any in the series and I’m trying to take a look at as much teen/ya fic as possible right now. I flipped through it and thought the sarcastic, quick witted writing style was fabulous and brought it home.
Granted, there are 5 books in the series before this one and I’m literally jumping in the middle but this was a hard one for me to finish.
The whole experience felt like this: Make some snarky, wise-assed comments, run from the alien bug race, fall asleep so you can work in a copy store in the real world, run from the alien bug race. More snarkiness. More running. Even more running. Meet some Olympian gods. Kill a few alien bugs. Run some more. A couple twists. Keep running. Arrive safe at Olympus.
The pacing seemed really off somehow. You never really had a spot to catch your breath, let it sink in. Get to know the environment. Decide to enjoy it or not.
Most of the characters were so under-developed that I wanted to scream. I think one of the group of four teenagers might have had one line in the entire book. And this is book six? There is no relationship between these people yet? Other than pure survival. I didn’t get the feeling a single one of them would risk their lives for any of the others. And not just because they were know-it-all, too cool teens….but because they didn’t have it in them to care. They weren’t written that way.
The fact that the narrator even mentions near the end of the book that he has no idea what is going on between some of the other characters. Hmm. Six books full of running and fighting with these guys and it never came up? Never thought to have a real conversation with any of them.
The book just tries so hard to be cool that it falls flat. Nothing really surprised me, and I had a hard time investing in the characters and whether the damn alien bugs got them or not. The aliens don’t speak so they don’t really come across as characters in the books as much as weapons. A flying mass of apathetic weapons…who seem to be chasing our group because they are aliens and that’s just what aliens do. Well that and the Applegate seemed in need of a continuing catalyst and maybe just thought this would do.
Maybe I’m biased. I’m an adult female and the books are probably aimed much more at 14 year old boys. But I have to think that even 14 year old boys need something more from their fiction than cool alien bugs and lots of running away!
The end of the book was it’s only saving grace. Here, finally our main character gets to deal with some real emotion. Guilt and regret and pain and we see him as three dimensional for the first time. I was sad we didn’t get to see some of that dimension earlier on and with more of the characters that just seem to be superfluous.
It’s possible that set-up will carry through to the next book. That we’ll jump right in with a pained, developed character. But it’s going to take some heavy convincing to get me to go for book #7 as a read.