Review: NERVE by Jeanne Ryan

SERIES: Standalone
GENRE: Young Adult, Thriller and Mystery
PUBLISHER: Dial Books
PAGES: 304 pages (Hardcover edition)
RATING: ★☆☆☆☆

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Vee doesn’t know if she has the guts to play NERVE, an anonymous online game of dares. But whoever’s behind the game knows exactly what she wants, enticing her with lustworthy prizes and a sizzling-hot partner. With Ian on her team, it’s easy to agree to another dare. And another. And another. At first it’s thrilling as the Watchers cheer them on to more dangerous challenges. But suddenly the game turns deadly. Will Vee and Ian risk their lives for the Grand Prize dare, or will they lose NERVE?

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Late last year I came across a trailer for a film called NERVE. I was quickly enamoured by the vibrancy and manic energy this film presented. Soon after when I found out it had been adapted from a book, I didn’t hesitate to pick it up from my library. However despite it’s promising plot, I was less than impressed with the execution of this story and calling this book mediocre would be a compliment.

My first problem with Nerve was it’s woefully average characters. It’s evident the author was heavily relying on tropes. Our main character, Vee, is a depicted as the cliche shy teenager who lives in the shadow of her very outgoing best friend, Sydney. Alongside this, the side characters are also very cliche, such as the male sidekick that is secretly lusting over Vee whilst she lusts over the popular douchebag.

This book also has a really ambitious plot. Consequently, I felt that the introduction to the characters and who they are was a little lazy in order to move forward with the plot. I felt this way because I noticed how much time was spent telling the reader what the characters are like, as opposed to showing the reader through better dialogue and actions. For example:

“How could I be so stupid? Recklessness is not part of my personality. Shy, hard-working, loyal, all those boring Capricorn traits, that’s me.”

I’m as big of a believer in horoscopes as the next girl is, but this statement felt ridiculous. Who is possibly under the impression that they are limited by what they’re horoscope says? The fact that she’s a capricorn is mentioned multiple times in order describe Vee’s personality or actions and it really shouldn’t have been.

More over, these characters felt really un-organic. Along with my former complaint, I felt as if the author was trying too hard to make her characters sound like teenagers and for me their characterisation really suffered. A lot of dialogue employed was quite cliché, and I’d rather the characters say and act in accordance with personal character traits as opposed to what someone thinks teenagers say.

Some of the reasoning behind the dares was a little inconsistent. At first, it was obvious Vee was motivated to complete the dares because she wanted to shock people. As the dares become increasingly risky, her friends try to talk her out of it, but she remains quite naïve thinking that the game isn’t meant to ‘risk your life. Just make it seriously uncomfortable.’ But also, those things in some instances can be quite similar.

Therefore the justification of doing the dares becomes about the prizes, and as discussed by our protagonists ‘someone with a trust fund’ wouldn’t understand that motivation. However, when the rewards are initially phones, camping gear and pretty shoes…. I fail to see how someone’s reasoning for putting themselves in danger is by being ‘underprivileged’. The rewards do become worth their while as the dares become riskier, but there is no way they could’ve predicted this as Vee knew barely anything about NERVE prior to joining (even though it was a social phenomenon.)

I was also angered by some of the descriptions. They were nonsensical and/or unnecessary:

“A pink-cheeked girl and her boyfriend stroll past us on their way inside. They giggle and hold hands, their shy glances suggesting they haven’t had their first kiss yet, which makes me feel worldly in comparison, although I haven’t gone much beyond the kissing stage myself.”

Why was this even brought up? This is the most redundant think I’ve ever read.

“Daniella, freshly iced with thick lipstick that would give ancient prostitutes some serious competition…”

 

…okay, and?

I briefly touched upon the fact that a lot of lines were cliché, but that extends further than the dialogue. The relationships the character has and the characters, were very typical as well. Vee is always depicted as second best to her best friend Sydney, because Sydney is a blonde and her presence just ‘demands’ the spotlight. But Vee isn’t anything special because she has brown hair and blue eyes!? (Ahem, Megan Fox has brown and blue eyes.)

There was also a really weird prologue at the beginning of the story. I waited for this prologue to make sense but it never really did and I’m left with so many questions. (It is totally possible I missed something, but I can’t make a connection on how it fitted within the timeline of the story or what was even happening.)

Ultimately, I felt this was just a poor execution of a really good idea. The movie adaptation was definitely better and had an energy to it that was really enticing, with charming leads. I would highly recommend the movie over the book.

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Thank you for reading, and if you’ve made it here, thanks for managing to get through this long-winded rant review! Carly

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Warbreaker by Brandon Sander

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Spoiler Free Review

High Fantasy 

Warbreaker #1.0

My Rating: ★★★★☆

This book has truly left an impression on me. I know I didn’t give this book a perfect rating (which I will discuss further on) but rating aside, I believe this is such a sensational fantasy book for many reasons. It has definitely made an impact on my reading and has set the bar pretty high for future fantasy books.

Warbreaker tells the story of two Idrian Princesses, Vivenna and Siri. Vivenna is in an arranged marriage via a treaty to the powerful God King who resides in Hallandren – a kingdom that couldn’t be any more different to Idris. When it comes time for Vivenna to be married, the King of Idris has a change of heart and decides Vivenna is too valuable for Idris’ future and sends his youngest and somewhat rebellious daughter Siri in Vivenna’s place.

The world of Warbreaker is narrated primarily through three perspectives, with additional chapters (but nowhere near as prominent) from secondary characters. I couldn’t imagine a better way to tell the story. Having these three particular characters narrate most of Warbreaker was fantastic as they are each essentially thrown into new situations, scenarios and surroundings. Therefore as the character learns about the world around them, the reader can come to understand the world better too.

Our first narrator is Siri, the King of Idris’ youngest child, and arguably the most mischievous one. As the youngest of four, Siri is often without responsibilities and pressure her elder siblings have. That is until she is unexpectedly sent to marry the God King in Hallandren. Secondly there is Vivenna, the eldest chid of the Idrian King. Upon finding out that she will no longer be married to the God King, Vivenna experiences a brief moment of relief, before finding out her sister Siri has been sent in her place. Vivenna feels robbed by this action, as she has spent her entire life preparing to be the perfect bride. Consequently, she secretly leaves Idris for Hallandren with plans to save her younger, more naive, sister. But her path takes a turn when she befriends a group of mercenaries. Lastly, there is the returned God, Lightsong, who simply wants leave a simple life in the palace amongst the gods. But with his kingdom potentially on the brink of war, he finds himself unwillingly drawn into the politics at court.

There is – what I consider to be very interesting – a fantastic magic system that exists within this world known as ‘Awakening.’ Just a forewarning, don’t let my explanation of this system deter you from reading, Sanderson explains it much more thoroughly (and better) than I will. Essentially every character contains a ‘BioChromatic Breath’ which draws upon colour for power. This Breath is what enables practicing mages to awaken objects. Once an object is awoken, a mage can use the object to assist them as they wish. This Breath is also transferable between people and the more Breath someone has, the powerful they are.

Warbreaker has some of the best world building in a book I have ever witnessed. Granted, the book I reader prior to this had some of the worst and perhaps I noticed this aspect more than I usually do. As someone who is easily irritated by over exposition, I was truly impressed. Sanderson executes this very cleverly. He makes it interesting for the reading, as if we’re stepping right into the protagonist’s shoes.

Unfortunately I didn’t rate this book perfectly because it did take me a while to read. It is admittedly one of the longest books I’ve read. I will contradict myself with this statement: although I loved the depth of this world, at times it did drag a little. I will say that despite it’s density it was still incredibly readable. For example, if I were to read a George R.R. Martin book, I could not pay attention if I was tired in the slightest. But despite the intricacy of the world in Warbreaker, I was still able to push through tiredness to read it.

Although I recently found out there will be a sequel to Warbreaker, this book works excellently as a standalone. I highly recommend this book to any reader who likes a slow paced high fantasy book. I would also personally say its a good entry point into Sanderson’s books

Introductory Post

After several years of hiding in the shadows of bookish communities (youtube, tumblr, goodreads etc.) I have finally decided to create my own space where I can share my opinions.

In todays post I’ll be adapting questions from Between Chapters ‘New to Booktube’ tag as it’s a really great way to tell you a little bit more about myself and this blog.

  1. Where are you joining us from? Australia
  2. How old are you? 20
  3. Why did you join [the blogging community]? I don’t want to sound like a broken record, so I’ll leave a link to my about me page.
  4. What is the meaning behind your [blog] name? It was inspired by Jess from New Girl in the earlier seasons when she says ‘I hope you like feminist rants cause that’s my kind of thing.’
  5. What types of books do you read/want to talk about here? Namely Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Thrillers, Diverse Fiction and LGBT+ related content. (Probably a self help and/or spiritual book here and there.)
  6. Who are some of your favourite authors? At the moment, I am currently obsessed with Brandon Sanderson’s work after recently reading Warbreaker.
  7. What’s the last book you read? Justice League Volume 3: Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns
  8. What are you currently reading? Chaos to Calm and Batman: Harley and Ivy
  9. Which do you prefer: Hard cover or paper back? Ebooks or Physical books? Owning or borrowing books? As a frugal person, I absolutely love borrowing books. Preferably in physical form. If I could download library ebooks onto my kindle, I would love that but currently I can only download ebooks onto my laptop and that is a huge
  10. What book or series got you into reading? The Fault in Our Stars (I know, shocking.)
  11. How did you discover [blogging]? I’ve been watching booktube for years now, so I wouldn’t be able to tell you but I guess I just gradually found out about differently online bookish communities through vloggers.
  12. Where else can we find you? Link Up! Tumblr / Goodreads