May 28, 2015

Thursday Oldie: Existence by Abbi Glines

Before I start this (long) review, I would like to stress: this review does not come to invalidate your opinion of the book. You love it? that's wonderful. It's unfortunate, really, that I couldn't feel the same. And I explain in details exactly why I didn't feel so. So please, no hate. 
Existence by Abbi Glines 
Series: Existence #1
Source: Bought Kindle
Publisher: Indie
Original Post: Dec 4th, 2012
Age Genre: Young Adult
What happens when you're stalked by Death? You fall in love with him, of course.
Pagan Moore doesn't cheat Death, but instead, falls in love with him.
Seventeen year old Pagan Moore has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn't let them know she could see them, then they left her alone. Until she stepped out of her car the first day of school and saw an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he's dead.
Not only does he not go away when she ignores him, but he does something none of the others have ever done. He speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What she doesn't realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul at all.
He is Death and he's about to break all the rules.
I was literally surprised I survived this. 
Existence was the first book I truly hated. I don't hand one-stars easily. Me giving someone a one-star is basically me saying: "I applaud you for going through the process of writing an entire novel and getting it published, but there is literally nothing I liked about this book."

And usually, I can find a nugget or two of things to love to veer off that harsh assessment. In Existence, however, try as I may I couldn't.

The crux of the matter was Pagan, the MC. She is not a good character in my book, for many reasons:

a. She uses Leif - dates, kisses and messes around with him when she knows she's in love with Dank (more on that later), because he's "real". First, it makes you a horrible human being. Second, kissing another guy when you have a boyfriend also makes you a stinking cheater.

b. The Bella Syndrome - I hate it when girls turn desperate for a guy to the point they'll break into tiny pieces if he's gone. It's pathetic, in my eyes. We're stronger than that, damnit!
I can't reconcile the fact so many people hate New Moon yet love Existence, when they have the exact same character.

In accordance to those, you'll have to forgive me for gagging when the characters of this book claimed her "soul" was beautiful. Or that she's brave and strong, when every act she's committed pointed to her being weak, scared and needy.
The next in a long list of major turn-offs is the romance, which I'm sure comes as no surprise to you.

The romance is, to put simply - insta love. And insta love is never a satisfying romance. Pagan falls in love with a guy she knows nothing about, and there is no why, or when to it. The best I can figure out is she finds him sexy. Blah.

It felt like she fell in love with him at the snap of a finger. And not a healthy kind of love, either. He becomes the reason for her existence (see what I did there), without him - she is nothing, which I just can't endorse no matter what. Even if there was good reason for her to be madly in love with him (which, again, there isn't!)

And let's not forget Dank returning her feelings--
What did she ever do to earn his love, especially as the crux of the thing is how impossible it is for him to fall for a human. Ergo, the person who manages to accomplish that should be special.

She's special alright... (e)special(ly) annoying and hateful.

And if that's not enough, the showdown is one of the most disappointing things I've ever read of. Nothing actually happened!

SPOILER She chose the sacrifice herself so Dank could live but, wait, that doesn't work like that. So instead she chose to live so his sacrifice won't be for nothing. But, turns out, that's the biggest sacrifice she could've made because she sentenced herself to a pitiful existence without the meaning of her life (whom she'd known maybe two weeks, and knows nothing about aside for his sexiness.) Yes, so awful. Insert eye roll here, please.
It's just bull! But even stupider is how everyone claps her on the back and tells her how brave and strong she is. And as a reward...  he's back! yay! nay... END SPOILER

Shot. Me. Now.

The maybe only bright spot in this whole debacle is the last line of this book. It was surprising enough to make me consider for a millisecond to read the next book to find out what happens with it (than I laughed at myself). It was also too surprising, as in - there weren't any hints of what was coming. And I did look for them, because the summary for book two spoils the big secret.

As for the writing... I was not impressed. At all. Half the time, it felt like Glines was dragging things way too long (as can be demonstrated by Dank's song to Pagan. The song started really well, but it continued where I felt it should've ended verses ago, taking from the impact and beauty). And the speech sometimes felt completely fake and unnatural for young people.

The only thing I can say in defense of this book is that my major, AHHH I HATED YOU disappointment has to do with the summary. The summary is great on it's own--made me read the book, didn't it? But it also took from the whole story because it told us what Dank was. Maybe if I had to discover alongside Pagan who and what he was, it could've helped me identify with her, and than maybe I would've given the book closer to 2.5 stars. Not the best of ratings either, but not nearly as harsh as one-starring.

(also, notice the high usage of "maybe").

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