Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Raven by Allison van Diepen (2/5 stars)

I have to admit I picked this book up at the library because I liked the cover. I was a bit worried about dedicating time to reading it because it kind of sounded like another "Twilight" wanna' be. In many ways that it what it ended up being, although it was different in a lot of ways too. Still, I thought the story was just okay and I got through it, but didn't find it an especially enjoyable read.

Nic, or Raven, works at a bar with a lot of awesome people. For some reason she is drawn to Zin the bartender. Zin and Nic are also on a brake-dance team together. Zin, of course, is incredibly handsome and is an awesome dancer, and seems drawn to Nic in return. When Zin protects Nic from being mugged one night, Nic sees a light move into Zin from the attacker. Now Nic thinks that Zin may not quite be human. She needs to figure out what he is and why he continually rebuffs her, even though he clearly loves her.

This wasn't all that great of a book. If the plotline sounds familiar, well it is. It is your basic awesome guy and girl fall in love, but can't be together because awesome guy is not human. But, awesome guy just sees something special in girl that makes him want to break all the rules and try to have a relationship with her. Except in this case the girl loves to break dance.

The plot wasn't all that engaging. It kind of focused around Nic's brother's drug addiction and then around Nic trying to decide if she wanted to become "other" like Zin. There wasn't really much outside force driving this plot somewhere interesting. The way everything ends up was fairly predictable too. The characters themselves are pretty 2D; I didn't really love any of them. The society of Jiang Shi lacked depth and seemed kind of pieced together; it didn't really fit into the world well and was secluded to this small group.

There were a couple other things that bothered me too. The first was that Nic is in high school and works nights at a bar. It was strange; I really didn't know any high-schoolers that served drinks at a bar...I guess I thought you had to be older to do that. Most of the story takes place in this dance club/bar though. It was just odd. The other is the writing style. Van Diepen mostly writes in very short sentences without much description. It makes the writing style a bit sparse and simplistic; I guess it results in a very easy reading level, but it took something out of the story.

The last thing that bothered me (but others may like) is that a lot of time was spent discussing break-dancing moves. I personally don't know (or care) much about break-dancing/hip-hop. It is just outside of the realm of things I am interested in. So, I honestly found these long scenes of practice and dance battle to be boring. Someone who is really into that might dig that about this book, but not me.

As I write the review, I realize that their really was't much I liked about the story. I got through it, it was a quick read. The story wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great. I honestly don't think I can recommend this as a great read. I suppose if you are looking for filler reading with the whole "we can't be together because you are immortal" premise, you might like this. But, honestly there are so many better young adult books out there. You can check out The Vampire Academy Series, Generation Dead, or Lament. All of these are better books and touch on immortal love.


  1. Sorry this one didn't work for you. I too like the cover. I think this one is on my TBR list somewhere lol. I'll be giving it a try but not for a while.

  2. Yeah, I was kind of bummed that I didn't like it more. It's a quick read though so no huge loss :-)