Monday, July 28, 2014

YA Review: The Green-Eyed Queen of Suicide City

Hey, trigger warnings on this one - for suicide especially, okay, guys? Be kind to yourself. Don't read things that aren't good for you.

Alright, let's get on to the review!

The Green-Eyed Queen of Suicide City by Kevin Marc Fournier

Published: April 24th, 2012 by Great Plains Teen Fiction
Genre: YA Paranormal
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 198
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: The publisher sent it to me to review.
Amazon (Paperback) / Amazon (Ebook) / Book Depository / IndieBound / And since it's a smaller publisher, here's the link on their website.

Summary (from goodreads): Bethany, a beautiful and popular teen, hangs herself the night before Halloween. Her devoted sister Rose follows her into a frozen death, and into a city where trees bleed along the banks of a river of blood. Meanwhile, Addy is visiting from Montreal, determined that Natalie's mother will give birth to her baby while she is there.

Ghostly footprints and dangling corpses, a baby born in a snowstorm, a mysterious cemetery, one girl who never sleeps and another who craves blood, New Year's fireworks and an unexpected kiss - all tied to a legendary queen who lives in the hidden centre of Suicide City.

Review: Guys, I don't know. Maybe this just isn't my thing. Maybe it's completely me, but something about this just didn't do it for me. It wasn't really hard to get into or slow to read or anything like that. The voice was decently compelling, even with the switching between 1st and 3rd person which I generally think clashes a little. But... I guess it felt like the book was building and building and building - and then it ended. The ending felt so much more like a middle than anything and there was a lot left danging. It felt unfinished.

In general, the premise was strange. Again, it might be me. I don't know. Maybe it was just that I couldn't get into the Suicide City thing. I just... it was horrifying. Terrifying. And maybe it's a thing for me that the idea that people who hurt that badly would hurt for the rest of eternity, maybe it's just a thing I can't get into. I really don't know. I just... I can't say I enjoyed those chapters, and the ending was... it got bad and it didn't feel hopeful, even. Just kind of horrible.

Plot Talk: This is a hard book to do a plot thingie for. Basically, Natalie's chapters tell what happened to her in the weeks leading up to Rose's death, and Rose's chapters describe what happens after her death and in her search to find her sister in the Suicide City.

Characters: So, The Green-Eyed Queen was told through alternating POVs. The contemporary/"normal" chapters were told in the 1st person POV of Natalie. I liked Natalie a lot. Her chapters are set a few months in the past, largely, leading up to Rose's death. Most of her chapters were more reminiscing, telling things slowly, and for the most part they weren't much linked to Rose's besides a few little glimpses into her life. Apparently they were close for some time, but that wasn't explored much and they weren't close when Rose died.

Rose was, well, dead. She was kind of numb at first more than anything, but her chapters didn't feel removed like some 3rd person POVs can, which I admire. The book never really talked about why she killed herself or anything besides that once she was in the City, she was desperate to find her sister. While Natalie's story ends with some decent closure in her arc and growth in her character, although there were still some dangling threads. However, Rose's storyline felt very unfinished. It really felt like her story was only half done.

The other characters were solid, nothing amazing. Natalie's best friend Addy was pretty typical, the "wild" best friend, you know? Raised by a single mom, eccentric. Not that unique, ironically, for how the book tried to make her unique and special. And I actually really liked Natalie's mom. She was cool. On Rose's side, the characters weren't as well developed. There were a lot more characters and they would come and go fairly quickly and fairly frequently.

All in all, I kind of wanted everyone to have more time to shine and with the book being so short, it just doesn't happen.

PG-13 stuff: Mostly mild language. One or two f-bombs that really stood out for how little other language there was. On the trigger-y side of things, there's a lot of talk about suicide, obviously, some of it cavalier. There ends up being a lot of gore and (SPOILER) there's even cannibalism. Sometimes, honestly, it's gross and disturbing. Especially the last couple chapters.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: I think I've figured out what my biggest issue was with this book - it felt more like two books than one. One was basically a friend dealing with grief contemporary book, one was a pretty dark paranormal book. I don't know if that really worked for me. Because I really liked Natalie's story, but Rose's story was not super my thing and it just didn't match. And while Natalie's story wraps up decently, Rose's just kind of ends in, you know, unspeakable horror. There's basically no resolution for her at all.

There was also some slut-shaming and some comments about rape that were kind of gross. I wasn't fond of that. It got too close to jokey.

And this isn't exactly bad, but I thought it was weird - Natalie's step-dad is black... and it's not said until page 73. Out of 198. Almost all the other characters were described by page 2-3. It just kind of stood out in a jarring way.

Cover comments: It's fine, you know. It suits the story. I think it's really nice for a small-press, especially.

Conclusion: This is such a hard one for me. I thought the premise sounded so interesting, but the execution just didn't work for me. Some of the gore really grossed me out, I'm sorry to say. It felt so separated, so much like two different books, and neither of them really felt long enough. At the end of the book, I wanted more, not because I loved it so much, but because it felt so unfinished. This easily could have been 400 pages and it would have been so much more satisfying.

*sigh* I feel so wishy-washy! I have such a hard time rating this because I liked the Natalie chapters, but the Rose chapters didn't work for me. I guess I'll have to go with a 2.5 for this one.



Other Notes:

- EYEBALLS
- That's all, I just needed to say that.
- There's a moment where a farm they called a "PMU farm, a pregnant-mare's-urine farm. It's where they take the" [urine] "out of pregnant horses and sell it to make birth control pills." There's a farm around here that my aunt told me was that, so I googled it. Turns out? Most birth controls these days are synthetic hormones. The only hormones made from horse urine are actually used in hormone replacement therapy. For menopause. I don't know if it's the same type of thing used in other HRT. And there are only one or two I could find, which are being more and more replaced by synthetic hormones since those have been proven to not be great for people.

I know things sometimes.

Peace and cookies,
Laina

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