The Darkling Weak
Posted January 5th, 2014 by rebecca
A Book Review by Rebec
in Rivendell, the only place in Middle Earth that gets Wi-Fi
Implausibility is my major problem with this. If a school is secret, yet pupils assassinate one another, surely there would have been an investigation into all the deaths. Explain it away. There must be an explanation, and so far I cannot see one. Also, the school setting for stories has been used a number of times. I just do not feel that this story is as strong as it could be. That the author is wasting her time with it when she could be finding something more inspiring, lovely though the psycho weapons school is. A little more original than one would expect from the setting of 'boarding school'. Reminds me rather of the Assassin's Guild School in Ankh-Morpork, except, of course, that school is indeed very privileged. And...Discworld doesn't really apply here. What was I saying? Oh, yes, AA could be using her time more wisely.
We have two main characters, very different people, and thank the dark Lord Sauron, it is impossible for them to end up a couple, which is good as that layout is overdone too. This book is certainly non-cliché. Anyway, our first is Yanaha Alice Grey, whose aversion to the name Yanaha needs explaining. Why does she have a problem with it? Why does she want to be called a dull name like Alice? Needs explaining. Our other protagonist is Xenophilius Darkling, known as Xeno, who is clearly dangerous, very interesting, and has an awesome name. 'Alice' (YANAHA IS A COOLER NAME I DON'T CARE IF IT OFFENDS HER) is in Sixth Grade, Xeno is seventeen, and my knowledge of the American education system ends there.
Alice is severely aquaphobic, and had a breakdown as a young girl and killed the orphanage's beloved dog. She has anger management issues too, which are annoying because I perceive anyone who fights back to be in the right, so when they punish her for standing up for herself, it annoys me. Realism, yes, but she didn't do anything wrong, not deeply, morally wrong. She has a sanctity of life thingy so hates killing anything, Ironic. But she gets adopted by some PhD guy and his wife, basically because he wants to study her, and the wife, Georgiana feels sorry for her. And they send her to 'Rank Gild', school of anagrams. Darkling. Where Xeno is. Xeno is clearly special in som way, oh yes, he's a prodigy, and Cassandra, the psychopathic counsellor who he despises and wants to kill, keeps an eye on him. She wants to monitor Alice (Yamaha is a company that makes keyboards, you know) and also to murder somebody called Emma, I don't know why, maybe I was reading too quickly. I want that to be explained, if it hasn't been already. We learn about the dangers of the school, the traps, and about how insane Cassandra probably is, and then Alice...well, she arrives. The new arrivals learn about how the school works, see a fight, and well, meet their mentor, Emma. Emmmmmma. Bloody hell, what is so special about her aside from the fact she looks like a boy?
Anyways, four stars? Well. I admire the writing style. It's excellent. Also the avoidance of clichés is to be commended (as is my specifically copying and pasting an 'é' in order to spell correctly and so look more
pretentious I mean intelligent I do I really do). And Xeno is a badass. As is Alice, in her way, aside from having that stupid name. And Cassandra is...cool. I like the characters. I just think certain elements, like the fact students keep DYING is a bit...ridiculous. Otherwise, great. If that can be explained, this story will no longer be wasting police (I'm sorry I just love the expression wasting police time) the author's time. Once problem like that are eradicated, I will tolerate the rest, because of the talent behind it and because it is clearly a book for teenage readers who are not all as picky as I am. I'm sure it will do very well.
For the author:
Explain certain things (if you haven't already) in your own time, like why Emma, who is the principal exactly, whose idea was naming Xenophilius that, why doesn't Alice like the name Yanaha, and WHY DON'T THE POLICE GET INVOLVED OR PARENTS GET SUSPICIOUS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT?! You know, just little things. No giant gaping plot holes WHATSOEVER.
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