Compact Reviews: Backward Glass / Scorched

Backward GlassBackward Glass

David Lomax

Where do I start? This book had so much going in it that oftentimes, it was more confusing than it was entertaining. Time travel is not an easy subject to write about, but I think it’s safe to say that David Lomax did a fairly decent job with the whole “backward glass” concept and the idea of kids from several different years grouping together to figure out the chilling myth of Prince Harming, as well as to save an unknown baby.

Backward Glass was surprisingly original. I expected this to be more of a science-fiction read rather than a suspenseful mystery, but it turned out that the latter worked just as well. One of my favorite aspects was how everything seemed like a whole mess in the beginning — and trust me, it wasn’t very easy to navigate through that mess at first — but then Lomax began to reveal the puzzle pieces bit by bit, and everything started to fall into place. I applaud Lomax for being able to spin such a complicated and complex story that made sense in a twisted kind of way.

But here is also where the book’s biggest fault lies. I felt that I was kept in the dark for most of the book. I had no idea what was going on, other than the general gist that Kenny and his friends were supposed to save a certain unidentified baby, but that was it. While this may be a positive thing in certain cases, there were several instances where the explanations were too rushed, or too jumbled up for me to understand, and I wound up having to re-read several pages over again — and still not get what the characters were talking about, or how they came to that conclusion. That took away a lot of the enjoyment, because it got so bad that I wanted to give up on the book right then and there.

Fortunately, that’s the only big problem I had with Backward Glass. The characters were all realistically fleshed-out, and the many plot twists definitely helped a lot with the suspense that was already coursing through its pages. Honestly, by the end of it all, I was feeling a little emotionally overwhelmed because Kenny wouldn’t get to see his friends for another decade (the mirror only opens on years that end with a 7), and there’s nothing sadder than having to return back to a normal life and leave all your adventures and fond memories behind. Overall, definitely a recommended book for those looking for a time-travel book with a spin!

4 stars

315 pages, e-galley from NetGalley (thank you!)
Published October 8, 2013 by Flux
Purchase: The Book Depository + Amazon

ScorchedScorched (Scorched, #1)

Mari Mancussi

After that fantastical cover, I have to admit that I was looking forward to a kickass story with dragons. Dragons set in the modern world, just in case it wasn’t clear enough. But what I got instead was a story with bland characters, insta-love, and a very cliche plot.

The characters were… boring, to say the least. I’d expected more from both Connor and Caleb, since they were people sent from the future to stop a horrendous apocalypse from happening. That meant that they had all kinds of fancy gadgets which made appearances when it was convenient, but other than that, remained absent for the drama. Caleb was supposed to be the bad boy: “cocky, undisciplined, and obsessed with saving dragons.” Only the last part is true. Once he was introduced to Trinity, any traces of cockiness and indiscipline he might have had — which I never once saw — vanished and he turned exactly into an almost exact replica of Connor. It’s a wonder I didn’t get them mixed up. The two boys spend so much time marveling over Trinity’s beauty, but the author never truly described her, or what made her so alluring. And to be honest, I found her a little annoying. The book says she’s selfless and strong, but all I could see was a weak character who had a thing for lip biting. Ew.

The romance wasn’t that much better either. Within hours of their first meeting, Connor and Trinity ended up kissing each other, and Trinity started experiences all these cheesy thoughts and feelings for him. A virtual stranger. Who supposedly came from the future. If that doesn’t scream “untrustable!” then I don’t know what does. I wasn’t surprised when the romance developed into a full-fledged love triangle that was totally unnecessary.

The plot, too, turned out almost as I’d expected: cult group does something stupid > Trinity finds out the truth > misguided love interest realizes that he’s been misguided > book ends with the cult group on the loose > sequel time — yay! (No.)

2 stars

352 pages, e-galley from NetGalley (thank you!)
Published September 3, 2013 by Sorcebooks Fire
Purchase: The Book Depository + Amazon


7 thoughts on “Compact Reviews: Backward Glass / Scorched

  1. Oh I really hate it when a book leaves in me in the dark, I want to know what’s going on! So I don’t think Backwards Glass would be my type of read.

    And boring characters= BLEH BLEH BLEH

    Great reviews, Meg! <33

  2. Backward Glass seems like something I’d enjoy and not enjoy at the same time. I admire you for sticking with it until the end; I don’t like when things are too confusing for too long, so I would have given up early. But I love time travel and you’re right, it’s not an easy thing to write about, especially if the author wants to make it believable, so I’m glad that the book didn’t let you down and you enjoyed it!

    And Scorched… I’ve read the first two or three books to Mari Mancusi’s other series about vampires, vampire slayers and etc, so I’m not surprised that the book was bad. But, considering the bad love-triangle, the insta-love and the undeveloped characters, it’s just proof that the author isn’t trying at all to come up with fresh, new ideas. It’s disappointing.

  3. Backward Glass sounds like a great read. I’m normally okay with being confused, as long as things are explained later, so maybe it won’t bother me as much as it bothered you. And I just loved how unique the book sounds, especially what the author did with the little details– like the backward glass only being available on years that end with 7.

    Scorched seems like a pretty lackluster read >_< Which is a shame since I think the idea behind it is amazing. The author could have made something pretty awesome, if she hadn't turned to cliches and tropes.

    Great reviews!

  4. Backward glass sounds interesting but there’s nothing that I hate more than having to re-read parts because I didn’t understand it. I heard so many great things about Scorched and I had my doubts about it so I’m kind of relieved to see one person didn’t enjoy it as much because then I would have felt guilty for not wanting to read it. Anyway, awesome mini reviews! 🙂

  5. I’m so happy you enjoyed Backward Glass! It’s been a favorite of mine from this year, and I keep shoving it on everyone that I get a chance to talk to 😉 I’ve actually loaned out my copy (since I bought a paperback when it was released) to Veronica, so we’ll see what she thinks! I also think it’s helpful with the paperback, because you can easily flip back to that first page where David explains the rules of the mirror.

    I’m really sad to hear about Scorched, actually. I almost bought it, but put it off for another book, and was actually really disappointed. But now I’m not! I hate insta-love, and while I was loving the idea of Connor and Caleb, if they blend to be so similar it automatically sets me running.

  6. This is the first time I’m hearing about Backward Glass, but since time travels rarely work for me (the ones that do are overly romance–just the way I like it!), so I’m not sure if I would pick up that book. But I was really looking forward to Scorched, seeing that Jenny from Supernatural Snark loved it too. Now I’m not so sure, a weak heroin, insta romance and love triangle on top of that doesn’t sound very appealing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

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