15 September, 2010

Book Review: Impossible

I have been so darn slow with my reading lately! Sorry. It's been too long since I posted a book review . . .

Title: Impossible
Author: Nancy Werlin
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: Fantasy
Page Count: 364
Rating: 4 out of 5
Cover Rating: 3.2 out of 5. Good, and I like that she's on a beach, but I'm still trying to figure out if that's seaweed or actually some freaky hairstyle.

Inside flap:

Lucy has only nine months in which to break an ancient curse.
Lucy Scarborough is seventeen when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or to fall into madness upon their child's birth. How can Lucy succeed when her ancestors have tried and failed? But Lucy is the first girl who won't be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents beside her. And she has Zach, whose strength amazes her more each day. Do they have enough love and resolve to overcome an age-old evil?

My expectations: I liked Black Mirror a lot, so when I saw this in the library I said "Oh! Hey! Nancy Werlin here!" and threw it in the pile. I expected a good read.

I think it pretty much met my expectations.

About the book: From the inside flap, you might think that this is a weird book. "Seriously?" you say. "An age old curse?"--and from that basis it is a little fairy-tale-ish. But it's still a good book. I like her writing style and the overall feel of the novel is satisfactory.

One major thing that they happen to edit out of the summary though, is that Lucy just happens to be pregnant through most of it. By rape. On her prom night. And it turns out that every woman going back hundreds of years has been raped in a similar way.

The basis for the whole generation-after-generation thing is based on the song, "Scarborough Fair". I'll even go to the trouble of typing it out for you.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She must be a true love of mine

Tell her she'll sleep in a goose-feather bed
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
What e'er she may say I'll not leave her along
She must be a true love of mine

Her answer it came in a week and a day
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
I'm sorry, good sir, I must answer thee nay
I'll not be a true love of thine

From the sting of my curse she can never be free
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Unless she unravels my riddlings three
She will be a true love of mine

Tell her to make me a magical shirt
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Without any seam or needlework
Else she'll be a true love of mine

Tell her to find me an acre of land
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Between the salt water and the sea strand
Else she'll be a true love of mine

Tell her to plow it with a goat's horn
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
And sow it all over with one grain of corn
Else she'll be a true love of mine
And all her daughters forever possessions of mine

He sounds like a protective, control-issue freak, doesn't he? Well, this guy--the Elven Knight--is the person this story is based on. The lyrics are important be cause this is exactly what Lucy actually has to do.

(If you want to hear a rendition of it, go HERE. The lyrics aren't exactly the same, but it's the same sort of feel.)

  • Plot:

Relatively easy to guess, but it's still good. It's rather obvious who this Seeley character is from the start if you've been around the block a few times, and the reader can put the pieces together wa-a-a-y before the characters can. Sometimes I found that a little slow and like it was a bit dragged out, but overall it kept my interest. I even read it during the News Hour, and if you can draw me away from the News Hour, its got to be interesting.

  • Characters:

Lucy was . . . eh, non-spectacular? All she wanted was a "normal" life with "normal" people around her. Frankly, I have sort of a low opinion of people who want to be "normal" because what's the point in being like everyone else? And I couldn't really see anything great about her, even if she had wanted to be a stand-out. She was just a regular person--sort of monotonous.

Zach was great. Awesome guy here! He's realistic, down-to-earth, and a good person. Even when things get tough, he can think it through and stay relatively calm. He doesn't explode, he doesn't go nutso, and he's cute. What else can you ask for?

Padraig Seeley was DETESTABLE. Very good bad guy. I'm glad he came out so manipulative, creepy, and just plain-old sneaky because it added a lot to the plot. And I can tell you without fear of spoiling it (it's rather obvious) that he's the Elven Knight from the song.

Soledad and Leo were good as parents go. Protective, but usually reasonable, they were like the epitome of what you'd want in your (foster) mom and dad.

  • Setting/Other Factors:

The whole curse idea is . . . interesting. I haven't seen it before, which is a big bonus, so I'm thankful it's different. Fantasy is getting so cliched these days. This book is original.

Other: Rape. It's not actively described, but there is blood and the pregnancy issue afterwards.

Do I recommend this book? Yes! Werlin is a very good writer. I definitely recommend this book.

-----The Golden Eagle


John The Bookworm said...

This is a weird coincidence, but I just finished by copy of Extraordinary today. You'll see a review up soon, but I loved it as much if not more than Impossible. Werlin is a killer author, and what's great is her fantasies are so...fantastical and fairy-tale like, and Extraordinary was wonderful with it. Plus, her fantasies are all about breaking genre conventions. Impossible broke the 'YA has no supportive parents' convention, and Extraordinary breaks the 'YA puts the BF over the Best Friend' convention. It's really rather cool. Glad you enjoyed the book! :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Extraordinat sounds really good. I'm looking forward to that review! :)