Sunday, June 21, 2009

Final Verdict

Summed up succinctly, my final verdict regarding Amber Benson's Death's Daughter is this: it felt like a YA novel (and it's not).

For a little clarification: Benson has an incredible imagination. I absolutely loved the characters she pulled into the story, the way she viewed gods and goddesses come to life, the settings, the creatures. But I wanted it to have been written by a different author.

The main character made zero real character development, and what little superficial changes she made were constantly flaking away with each new challenge, so she was reduced to the same whiny woman each time she came up against each problem.

The book felt stitched together, like Benson had these fabulous scenes or sets of dialog, but to connect them, she'd slap a few lines down on paper, make a chapter break, or—worst of all, both because of the frequency it was used and the amateur feel of it—have the main character black out only to be removed from the situation upon waking.

Which brings me back to the YA conclusion. I'm not a YA fan, so I could be way off base about what's being produced these days, but this book was one that I would have adored in middle school. Lots of action, lots of interesting images, but not a lot of depth, not a lot to remember the book by, not a lot to get upset or excited about. There were a few scenes in here that done by some of my more beloved authors would have had me cheering or crying (depending on the scene), but in Benson's hands, it was merely another plot point.

And yet, perhaps I'm fickle, because I'd like to see where Benson would go with this series if there's a sequel. A lot of what I consider flaws in this novel feel simply like amateur mistakes or green writing, something that a little more experience could smooth out. Would I read a third book similar to this? Probably not.

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