“It’s only for people who don’t make sense anywhere else. Like us.”
Spoiler Free Review
Title: Never Contended Things
Author: Sarah Porter
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Faeries
Publication Date: March 19th 2019
Publisher: Tor Teen
Star Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Never-Contented Things was supposed to be serving me cruel and deliciously evil fairy-goodness. How can you not interpret that given the cover and blurb that tells me it’s unrelentingly cruel?! Yet, what I actually got was a convoluted story about two incestuous foster siblings, in what read like a poorly plotted episode of Riverdale – severely scarce of faeries.
“My story won’t save anyone else. No one else will ever know it. Or if they do, that will mean it’s too late for them too.”
This book centres around three characters; foster siblings Ksenia and Josh, as well as their close friend Lexi. Despite Ksenia and Josh’s tough and traumatic childhoods, they have developed an undying love for one another that drives their every action.
With a naivety and innocence his older foster sister lacks, Josh is the favored amongst the two by his foster parents. It’s evident they will adopt him, but their lack of compassion towards Ksenia doesn’t go unnoticed by either of them. This gives both a passion to do whatever it takes to stay together. This passion is ultimately what motivates Josh to risk the freedom of his friends and Ksenia, and to make a deal with faeries.
Firstly, I never felt there was a definitive moment where we left the “introductory” phase of this novel. Although the book is denoted by ‘Parts’ 1 through 5. Probably because despite Josh’s abduction (the catalyst for this novel), his eccentric behavior and motivations following the incident is never explained. I would’ve liked the book to help me discover the mythology behind the faeries that were the cause of everything.
To add to this, the plot just continuously plateaus. The reader is on a road that leads to no strong reveals, with a novel that commits to too much, but never fully commits or sees anything through. Above I likened this book to an episode of Riverdale, because I felt as though there were a lot of aspects (particularly about the characters) crammed into this book and frankly it became annoying to read. It is ultimately really unsatisfying and was tedious to get through. It’s not shocking to see people DNFing it.
“The truth was deep nights, a lot more than one, when Mitch and Emma were fast asleep and Josh came crawling into my bed and nuzzled close and tried to get started with me. And I’d say, No, baby, it would be wrong. You’re younger. I’d feel like I was taking advantage of you.”
The characters in this book don’t make the reading experience more enjoyable unfortunately. This mostly has to do with the incestuous dynamic the author created between Josh and Ksenia. For me, this dynamic just made their story difficult to read. Particularly when they called each other ‘baby.’ I literally gagged every time. Josh continuously makes decisions based on what he believes Ksenia wants and it just drove me crazy. Perhaps this is trying to illustrate the unhealthy intensity of their relationship, but it just did not appeal to me.
“He kisses her fervently on the mouth, and I look away. Has she really stopped thinking of him as her brother? She used to be pretty clear about it.”
Lexi’s point of view is definitely more palatable than Josh and Ksenia’s. However, there’s still the issue of the really confusing world and mythology I was meant to navigate, that unfortunately I was not relieved from in her chapters. As well as the “unique” writing style, if I may put it like that. One example:
“It was late, as late as the end of the world…”
(Can someone tell me what this means? These things just go over my head.)
I also had trouble with the decision to split this book into five parts; whereby the POV changes between Josh, Ksenia and Lexi. I personally just didn’t like this decision and think perhaps consistently interchanging between POVs through would’ve given me some relief from more annoying characters.
I also felt the way in which the reader received information was really awkward, in that it was often second-hand. For example, hearing about Ksenia’s traumatic past is often from other characters revealing it. It never felt like the author was being really tactful about information that is supposedly important.
This evidently was not a book for me. Although it’s honestly nothing like I’ve ever read, it was too convoluted with a theatricality to it that hampered by enjoyment. Unfortunately this is my biggest disappointment of 2019 so far.
I don’t enjoy posting reviews like this, sorry for being the Debbie Downer! But let’s changed the conversation… Do you like faerie books? Because I’m starting to think they might not be for me… 😓✨