Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

When Wendy Everly was six years old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. Eleven years later, Wendy discovers her mother might have been right. She's not the person she's always believed herself to be, and her whole life begins to unravel - all because of Finn Holmes.

Finn is a mysterious guy who always seems to be watching her. Every encounter leaves her deeply shaken...though it has more to do with her fierce attraction to him than she'd ever admit. But it isn't long before he reveals the truth: Wendy is a changeling who was switched at birth - and he's come to take her home.

Now Wendy's about to journey to a magical world she never knew existed, one that's both beautiful and frightening. And where she must leave her old life behind to discover who she's meant to become...

After the first few chapters of this book, I wasn't sure I would be able to finish it. It was extremely difficult to get a feel for the characters or the setting, and at least one sentence every few pages had me cringing and ready to go all Reasoning With Vampires on the entire book. Still, I stuck it out, and I have to say I'm at least somewhat glad I did.

The book improved a lot in the middle. The characters were more interesting and I actually started to like them. The plot developed more conflict. It wasn't outstanding, but it was readable. I actually enjoyed this section of the book.

Unfortunately, things started to go downhill again as we reached the end of the novel. (I hesitate to say "climax", because although there was an action-filled even near the end of the novel, it didn't really feel like a climax to me - the plot structure definitely needed some more defining.) It wasn't nearly as bad as the beginning of the book, but I started noticing flaws in the writing and the characters' emotions and actions seemed exaggerated. I didn't like the ending, either; without giving anything away incase you decide to read the book, I thought it was inconsistent with Wendy's previous choices, made the summary of the book seem misleading, and left me wondering what the point of the novel had been.

So the plot of the book definitely needed some work. It was a really interesting concept, and there were places where it was really interesting, but it wasn't well-executed overall. The characters were a bit better - their biggest flaw, as I've mentioned, was inconsistency, meaning I liked them at some points and disliked them at others. The supporting characters were more consistent, and I loved Rhys and Garrett all the way through. Willa was very dynamic, and the way her friendship with Wendy developed showed a lot about her character.

The more major characters had a few more flaws - though I liked Finn from the middle of the book onward, he came off as very strange and unpredictable for the first five or six chapters of the book, which made him hard to like. Wendy could come off as a little bratty or selfish, but the fact that she recognized those characteristics in herself and made some genuine efforts to change made it more bearable. Probably the character I liked the least was Elora; she was a good antagonist, but we just didn't get to see enough of her character, what made her tick. Other characters kept referring to her as "very complicated," but we never got to see why she was so complicated.

Overall, the book was decent - if I get the chance, I might read the rest of the series because I'm curious to know what happens, so the author must have done something right - and if you think you'd like to read it, I'm certainly not discouraging you. But if you haven't read Switched and weren't planning to, you're not missing out on anything too extraordinary.


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