Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: Neptune's Tears

NEPTUNE'S TEARS
Susan Waggoner
Young Adult/Dystopian/SciFi
224 pages
Henry Holt
Available now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
London, 2218 A.D. Seventeen-year-old Zee is an intern empath. She’s focused on her job, poised for a great career—until one day an attractive patient undoes her hard-earned calm. As an empath, she cannot afford such distractions, but neither can she stay away from David, even when she discovers he’s one of a mysterious alien race. As London comes under attack by anarchist bombings, and as Zee struggles to get a handle on her unusually strong psychic abilities, David starts pulling away. Although Zee’s sure he’s attracted to her, David has secrets he cannot share. But it’s too late for Zee. She’s losing her heart to the gray-eyed alien boy, and she’s determined to follow him—no matter how far it may take her.

MY THOUGHTS
At just over two hundred pages, Neptune's Tears is a short and exceedingly quick read, thrusting us a couple hundred years into the future as London fights a losing battle against anarchists and their shock wave bombs. While the story itself is easily devoured and moves at a nice pace, only granting us a few moments of quiet to catch our breath before the action or romance heat up again, it feels quite disjointed at times. Zee's empathic ability and the bombings run parallel to her romance with David and his alien status, the two never seeming to cross or link, but continue on side by side so it feels almost as though there are two separate and distinct stories with Zee at the forefront contained in between the covers of this single book.

Zee and David are both characters who might be described as “nice”, lacking characteristics and personalities that truly make them leap from the pages in blaze of memorable glory, instead they are easily lost in the shuffle of thousands of characters those of us who devour multiple books a week every week have bouncing around in our heads. They're both sweet, and there's no doubt we enjoy the time we have with them, but their love does happen quickly (not unsurprising giving the relatively short page length), and we simply don't get to revel in the promise of them and the desirable will they/won't they tension that tightens our guts with romantic anticipation.

Part of the reason our hearts don't quite find themselves pierced (as Zee and company refer to falling in love) the way Zee and David's do is due to the aforementioned separation of the two main aspects of Zee's life: her abilities as an empath and her relationship with David. For a few chapters our focus will be on one or the other, watching as Zee's gift grows as she aids those affected by the bombing before we suddenly switch gears to David, the questions surrounding his alien nature and his reasons for being on Earth, leaving Zee's empathic abilities all but forgotten until a few chapters later when we switch back once again. It's a little like reading while someone continuously moves an eye patch from one of our eyes to the other, each eye seeing something different while the other is covered, and we're denied the clarity that comes when both eyes are able to work together.

Overall, Neptune's Tears leaves us with a myriad of questions regarding the world itself and Zee's empathy, unsure as to whether empaths are unique and are alone in their abilities, or if there are others in this future exhibiting different types of gifts. We also have quite a few questions about David and his alien race, and though some of those questions are explained away toward the end, new questions simply arise from the answers. Neptune's Tears is a story that likely could have benefited from a few additional chapters, allowing those parallel storylines to slowly shift closer together until they eventually merged into a strong, cohesive tale that dazzled us like the diamonds from which it gets its title.

Rating: 3.5/5
 

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This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

43 comments:

  1. Well, that's a pretty cool premise, I have to say. But I'm not really sure which is worse - the lacklustre and unmemorable characters or the unanswered questions and in-cohesive plot. They are both major pet peeves of mine. And I know I wouldn't like the way it was structured either, with the switching POVs without any connection. Blargh. What a shame this wasn't a bit better executed! I will skip it now - thanks for your honesty, Jenny. And well done on the review!

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    1. It doesn't switch POVs, we stay with Zee the whole time, but the focus just seems to shift back and forth. First we'll be exploring her abilities and how they're changing and then that goes away and we're exploring her feelings for David instead. It just didn't seem to flow well for me:)

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  2. I agree, the premises of this one sounded really good. I am sad that it was sort of all over the place and you had a lot of unanswered questions. I am not sure I would want to dive into this one.

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    1. I think there's going to be a sequel, so maybe some answers will come then, but when I finished this one I didn't know there was going to be more and I had a lot of questions.

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  3. I really liked this one and maybe enjoyed it a little more than you did. But.. in the end, I totally agree! A few more chapters, a few things more explored could have made the whole story a good part better. I did however like the concept and the twit at the end totally took me by surprise!

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    1. I just wanted a little more you know? It was so short, more time could have been given to certain things:)

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  4. I was just thinking but I haven't read any dystopian novel placed in London. Interesting. Anyhow first of I really like the title of this book. I'm not sure will I read it as characters don't sound well developed and the chemistry between them happens too quickly. Still I'm glad you enjoyed! :) Great review Jenny :)

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    1. I loved that it was set in London! I wish it played a bigger role:)

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  5. I love how you described your reading experience of this as if moving an eye patch. A lot of books have left me with that exact same feeling, but I never knew how to describe it! I think Neptune's Tears sounds like a wonderful read, but I think it has far too much going on for me to get my head around. But thanks again for the wonderful review Jenny! :)

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    1. Thanks Jasprit! It's the only way I could think to describe it, it just felt like I was reading two separate stories at times.

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  6. I liked the idea of this one, but overall it was just an OK read for me - far too insta-lovey and I just didn't connect with the characters.

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    1. Exactly. An interesting premise, it just didn't quite ever reach out and grab me.

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  7. Okay this is a book description that definitely grabbed me at first (I love empaths!), so I'm really disappointed that it didn't really work for you. The lack of strength in the main characters is a big bummer, as is the disjointed storyline. BUT you still gave it a mostly favorable review, which means it must have still grabbed you in some way. It's curious that it's so short. I'm guessing it's not part of a series?

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    1. I think it is part of a series actually. I didn't realize it before I started or even when I finished, but when I went to Goodreads yesterday it had a #1 after the title. I assume that means there will be a #2 at some point:) I couldn't find much information on the author to check out her website either, so I'm relying on Goodreads!

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  8. Hmm. Abilities that only show up for part of the book (when convenient?) would be rather frustrating for me. I like when abilities get in the way of things and shake it up.

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    1. It was just a bit strange for me. I'd get all into it as her abilities were growing and changing, and then it would switch and it would seem like the romance was going to be the main focus and her abilities secondary, but then it would switch back. It's hard to describe how I felt. Clearly:)

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  9. The premise sounds fantastic and intriguing but I'm a little turned off after what you said about those two sotylines that couldn't quite meet together. I have experienced the same things with other books and it was indeed quite disappointing. Still, I'm glad some part of this book still worked for you. Thanks for the honest review, Jenny! :)

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    1. Yes, I just wanted things to be a bit more cohesive. I liked both aspects of the story, and would have liked them to fit together a bit more:)

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  10. I've never actually heard of this one, and the premise is definitely intriguing but, like you said, it sounds a bit disjointed. I'm not entirely sure if I could reconcile with that because with a slim book, everything needs to flow perfectly, right? But, nevertheless, I'm still intrigued. I'll add it to my TBR for a rainy day when I have no more books (HA). Great review, Jenny :)

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    1. Hahaha no more books? That'll be the day:) There will always be more books. And then more books. And oh wait, more books:) And we love it like that.

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  11. I would be frustrated with the end! I am on an anti-cliff hanger mode right now. I read something with a cliffie and now I am steaming mad that I have to wait till August for the next one!

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    1. I don't think there was an actual cliffhanger. I read this too long ago to tell you for sure though. I need to start posting the reviews right after I read them so the memory is a bit fresher. I didn't know this was a series when I finished, so I think it wrapped up enough that I believed it was a standalone, just one that left me with some questions.

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  12. Nice/sweet is all well and good...until you read it on the page. Then it's just plain vanilla. We need our characters to be bold and brash, broken or over-the-top so they spring off the page!! It is a really intriguing concept but a cliffhanger (am I reading that right?)? I'm like Felicia & anti-cliffie these days.

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    1. YES MARY. That's exactly what I want. And no actual cliffhanger as far as I can remember. You get an explanation for David, it just raises a few questions you want to explore further.

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  13. This has such an intriguing premise, Jenny. I would totally want to pick this book up just by reading that blurb. I'm sorry that the characters' personalities didn't really jump at you and I could be bothered by that too. Also, unanswered questions frustrate me so much! I'll check this one out from my library when it comes out!
    Fabulous review, Jenny!

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    1. It would be a great library read Nick. And it's so short you'll breeze right through it:)

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  14. The premises for this story has me intrigued and it sounds like it took awhile to connect to the characters from the threads but I am glad they came together at the end. I will be anxious to see reviews of the second book. As always wonderful review Jenny!

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  15. Ooohhh LONDEN in the future?!?!? I'm intrigued :)) Urghh I really don't like it when storylines are disjointed and when two characters seem to just bond/fall in love really quickly. I think I might skip this one...Anyway, fab review, Jenny<3

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  16. I always fear that with short books -- that they're not as fulfilling as they could be. But at the same time, over-writing can be an even bigger problem for me. I think the blurb sounds fantastic even if the cover doesn't appeal to me at first sight. That's just my problem though. I love the premise, but I fear for the characters not being memorable and being just ordinary. Most of the times characters are what make the story for me and it's too bad that they didn't work that well for you. I'm still glad you enjoyed it, 3.5 is a very decent rating :-)

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  17. Amazing review Jenny! Its so amazing to meet characters that are more then just good, so i am always enthralled by the characters that leave something more, that i feel for. Sad this book just contained the decent characters and separated the main story liens.

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  18. Nice review Jenny...:) This one sounds interesting even for a short book.

    Tina~

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  19. Oh I think the lack of clarity would bother me so much. I don't think this one is for me. But it does sound like it is part of a series(?) so perhaps I may pick it up depending on how the next book goes. It does look like it has promise anyway.

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  20. Hmmm, characters for me need to built up nicely so I can understand them. You know? Thanks for the awesome review.

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  21. I used to love dystopian novels, then kind of got burnt out on them, and now I am enjoying them again. This one is new to me. It sound pretty good, but I don't know if I would like being left with the questions about David and Zee. I wonder if there will be a sequel. Wonderful review Jenny. Thanks!

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  22. Nice as the only part of their personality sure is lacking for me

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  23. This one just doesn't scream read me. It sounds like the story and characters could use a little more work. I am sure it is a decent read but I need a wow read.

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  24. Hmm, this book has never crossed my radar before. It sounds like it will be an interesting read!

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  25. "they are easily lost in the shuffle of thousands of characters those of us who devour multiple books a week every week have bouncing around in our heads." I love this! Oh, I cannot tell you how often this happens to me. There are so few characters who can overcome the onslaught of people my reading pile brings into my head each week. :-)

    This sounds like such a cool and unique story, but I'm disappointed that the characters didn't stick out in your mind, and that the two storylines never really came together in an complete way. I might give this one a try, but I probably won't move my schedule around for it. Lovely review Jenny!

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  26. I'm in a desperate need of short books, but a lack of connection with characters is always disappointing. I think I'll skip out on this one, unfortunately. Thanks for the helpful review, Jenny! :)

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  27. The cover doesn't look very futuristic and it's too bad that the characters don't really stand out, but I love the idea of a British setting IN THE FUTURE; no less.
    Hmm, I remain undecided, but the fact that it's short certainly works in its favor.
    Lovely review as always, Jenny!

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  28. Oh, I love that the setting is futuristic london, but id the characters aren't going to stick with me, then I'm not sure if I'll enjoy this book any more than you did. Probably less with all the unanswered question in the end. Great review, Jenny!

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  29. Hmm this sounds really neat but I don't like that it left you with a lot of questions and it sounds like the characters definitely left something to be desired. Too bad this one didn't hit the mark a bit more. Fabulous review, Jenny!

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  30. I don't think I can read this book. I definitely prefer character driven stories and it sounds like the characters in this book are a bit weak. That's to bad.

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