Sunday, November 7, 2010

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

crescendo cover

As you may recall, I liked Hush, Hush--not that I thought it was good, mind.  But it was enjoyable for the pure silliness of the nonsensical actions of the heroine, Nora; the misadventures of her bestie, Vee; and above all the ridiculous hero, Patch, who is kind of like the baby from Who Killed Rodger Rabbit, only with washboard abs and (I presume) no belly button.  In Crescendo, however, I began to believe that Patch was a delusion because Nora is obviously FREAKING CRAZY.

It all starts before the twenty page mark.  Nora's pawing her way all over Patch's totally hot bod, begging him never to leave her.  She presses a ring so hard into their hands it draws blood.  Suddenly he's all, "Babe, I gotta go," and she's like, "WHO ARE YOU SEEING?!?"  The next day, she finds out he was at the house of her arch-nemesis slash school slut, Marcie Millar.  Aha!  Nora knew she couldn't trust that playa playa. 

Patch comes over.  She confronts him.  Patch is like, "Okay, I know you and Marcie have issues, but let me explain to you why I was over there.  I had a very good reason."  Nora is all, "I don't want to hear it!  You never tell me what you're doing!  How can I trust someone who doesn't share things with me?  I think we should break up.  I never want to see you again!!!!!!11!!!!"

HMOKAY.  Patch takes her advice and leaves.  Nora starts sobbing.  Why does every man she's ever loved leave her?  Why won't Patch call and tell her what he was doing at Marcie's?  If only he would tell her!  WHY???

Now, this alone wouldn't have ruined the book for me.  I knew Nora and Patch were going to be separated early in the story, and I knew it would be ridonkulous.  But wash, rinse, and repeat this scene for a hundred and fifty pages and I seriously could not take it anymore.  It's like Nora is the model for The Psycho Girlfriend.  I actually felt sorry for Patch in this book, the little blighter.

Nora's conversations with Patch aren't the only incongruities of logic happening here.  You know that site where the grammar Nazi picks apart Twilight, Reasoning With Vampires?*  The writer of that should read this book.  She would have a freaking field day.  Fitzpatrick's prose is enough to make Stephenie Meyer look like Rousseau--there's tons of stuff that good editing should have caught.  Take this scene, for example:

I tossed the cell into my open purse at my feet and bowed my head into my hands.  My eye throbbed.  I was scared, alone, confused, and on the verge of crying uncontrollably.

"Maybe it's from Patch," Vee said.

Chere Nora: hellooooooo!  Did you catch that?  Vee is with you!  You're not alone, dinglebat!  Unless you were speaking in the existential sense of aloneness, in which case we're all alone and you're not special so STFU.

Anyway, there is a plot in this book.  You see, Nora's dad was murrrrdered before Hush, Hush started, and in Crescendo she searches for his killer.  I'll give you three guesses who the main suspect is.  There are also some new characters introduced, most specifically Scotty the Potty, who also happens to be a Nephilim.  The world is teeming with these Nephilim creatures, I tells ye (don't ask me to explain what Nephilim are or how they fit into this world, because Fitzpatrick never does, nor expounds more on the angel hierarchy or how it works). 

The book isn't completely terrible.  Honestly.  The second half is actually pretty entertaining, since Patch mostly stays out of it and Vee and Nora go off on their own adventures to discover Nora's father's killer.  But Nora is impossible to like or root for.  And even more than that and the nonsensicalness, there's a very disturbing anti-feminist tone in the book.  Nora believes "boys will be boys" (oddly following a strange prayer scene over store-bought lasagna, which kind of made me throw up in my mouth), can't listen to her own instincts (of course, she is a psycho), and essentially falls into every negative stereotype of femininity รก la the Victorians you can think of.  If this book was published in 1950, it would fit right in.  As it is, it left me vaguely disgusted.

Crescendo is basically exactly like Hush, Hush--even down to the title that has nothing to do with the story--but it's longer and dumberer. In Hush, Hush, the question of what Patch wanted with Nora kept me reading, but in this book there's no big question to keep my attention, and so all the flaws in the book become glaring.  It's kind of like when you meet someone and at first they seem shallow but fun; then you hang you out with them for a bit longer and you realize they're not only shallow but kind of mean and a sexist to boot.  The chances that you're going to want to keep hanging out with them are pretty minimal, just like the probability that I will read the next book in this series.

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*Thank you for the link, Pam!


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