On Subjects And Other News

Firstly the news, because the Subjects just make me angry.  I don’t want to be angry while giving news.  Because this particular news is especially newsy.

Any-who, I was just checking out Scott Westerfeld’s blog today for the first time in a while (no offense, Mr. Westerfeld.  Huge fan.  Really.) and I noticed an interesting tidbit:

The Uglies movie is officially underway.  Well, at least it has a producer, and a company to produce it.  The same people who made Captain America and The Social Network.

The press release is a lot of official jargon that little ol’ me can’t possibly hope to get through, but that’s the big stuff I pulled from it.  As always, you can view the blog in question in the sidebar under AUTHOR’S BLOGS.

Mr. Westerfeld is an exceptional writer.  I’m slowly making my way through all of his books.  At least the YA ones.  I’ve read Uglies, of course, and all the sequels, and I’m just now finishing up The Last Days, which is a sequel to Peeps, which is about vampires.

But they’re not really vampires.  Because Mr. Westerfeld has a great way of making everything just different enough to be COMPLETELY AWESOME.

Just look at his latest trilogy, two books of which are already out (and both of which I own):

Well, that’s enough fangirling for one day, don’t you agree, reader?  Yes?  Okay.  On with the angry.

Warning: Rant Ahead!

I’ve been reading a book called Subject Seven for a while now, and if you remember I had to force myself to stay away from it a couple of weeks ago.  That was because I had only read the first few pages.

Basically, the entire premise of the book is that there was a group of genetically altered human experiments who undergo a certain Jekyll/Hyde sort of transformation when given a trigger phrase.  On the Jekyll side, they’re just everyday teens, but on the Hyde side they’re destructive supersoldiers with an attitude.

Sound good?  I thought so.  Which is why I bought it in the first place.  But, alas, I was sadly mistaken.

I’m about two-thirds of the way through the book, and I’m about ready to put it down now.  Those who know me will be shocked when they read this, I’m sure.  I’m someone who always HAS to finish books, and you can count on one hand how many books I haven’t liked in my ENTIRE LIFE.  But this little piece is just the worst bit of writing I’ve ever seen.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let me go through and list the things I’ve noticed that went wrong in this book, at least in my opinion.  Spoiler Warning!

  1.  The Premise.  Okay, so we find out that the people who created these experiments tested the babies and found them to be normal.  So, logically, they thought they had failed.  That’s when they put the “normal” babies up for adoption, leading to the whole rediscovery, ohmygosh-I’m-a-genetic-freak bit.  But this has more holes than Swiss cheese that’s been used for target practice!  Wasn’t the whole point of the Jekyll side of the kids to make sure they seemed normal?  Then they could sneak into a government building for a tour or whatever, transform, do their job and then be teens again before they were caught.  SO OF COURSE THE BABIES SEEM NORMAL.  THAT’S WHAT THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO DO.  The scientists couldn’ t have at least waited a little bit for them to mature?
  2. The Pacing.  I’m over two hundred pages in, and the Jekylls have only just found out what they are.  This book is only about 320 pages.  I realize there is a sequel coming out at some point (at least a quick Google search told me so), but really.  We don’t need this much teen angst as five kids try to handle their blackouts and nine different levels of crazy.  I mean, it’s totally fine at first, but after a while it just seems like the author got stuck.
  3. The Style.  I’m sorry, James A. Moore, if he ever happens to read this, but I despise the writing style.  It’s just awful.  First of all, he repeats things way too much.  I mean, I get it.  The one dude is a geek.  The other one has issues.  There’s no need to just say it outright every time it comes up.  If you need to continue with the description, at least have it mentioned in dialogue, or show it in a character’s movements.  There are other ways.  Also, it just reads really plainly.  I don’t think I can pin that down, but just the whole overall style makes me want to put it down.  Also?  WHERE IS THE EMOTION?!
  4. The Characterizations.  Oh my goodness, the characters.  Maybe I’m just not getting it, but the characters were just not at all believable.  I don’t think I can say it all in one bullet.  So I’m putting in multiple for this one:
  • Most of them are cliches.  Plain and simple.  There’s the geek who can’t talk to people, the hot cheerleader, the tough soldier.  Like I said in number three, not enough emotion or really flesh at all.  These characters are flat and one-dimensional.
  • There is one character who actually has more than one emotion or overarching feel in the book, and that’s the antagonist.  Or at least I think she’s the antagonist.  Of course, nothing’s really clear at this point.  Over two hundred pages in.
  • Anyway, the antagonist.  She has a more complex character, but the complexity is confusing.  She has such a mix of completely opposite traits that it starts to look like multiple personality.  On one hand, she is a loving wife and mother.  On the other, she’s the one who KILLS BABIES AFTER SHE’S DONE EXPERIMENTING ON THEM.  It could work, but here it’s just done in the worst way.
  • So, during this entire book the teens are having blackouts and being tested.  They’re being accused of murdering and drug-using, and they’re scared and helpless and angry at the world in general.  They are reduced to visiting abandoned warehouses (which, when inside, is really just an office building) and going into cars with strangers just to find out what the heck is going on.  But, of course, all they ever seem to notice or think about is how cute/hot/sexy the rest of them are.  Why?  Because they’re teenagers, and apparently no matter how bad the situation, that’s just how teenagers work.  UM, NOT TRUE.
  • Descriptions: almost nil.  Most of the kids are described as “dark haired.”  Even the blond ones get darker hair when they become their Hyde selves.  What up with the dark hair?!  Other than that and naming most eye colors, I haven’t noticed any physical traits that would help me visualize.  The single exception to this is when one girl is shown to have “Asian” looking eyes, inevitably leading to the boy noticing to think about how darn CUTE that makes her look.
  • A boy whom I judge to be no older than his early teens actually says this line: “I am my mother’s son.”  I don’t know about you, but I know exactly ZERO boys who would say that, no matter how strictly they were brought up.  Reading that just irked me.

Exhibit A

That’s all I can think of at the moment.  Even though this book annoys me SO MUCH and seems to exist only for the action, I think I’m going to have to finish it.  That’s just the kind of person I am.

And, yes, I know I’m completely bashing this book, but I honestly cannot think of anything good to say about it.  I’m sorry if you’ve read it and liked it, really, but I just don’t.

Just one thing, though:  What’s “dark haired” supposed to mean?!  Is it brown or black?!  They’re not the same, you know!

Happy reading.

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