Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Review: Sweet Oblivion by Bailey Ardisone

Sweet Oblivion

Sweet Oblivion by Bailey Ardisone
Book One of the Sweet series
Publication Date: December 30, 2012
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Copy sent by the authors

Summary (from Goodreads):

sweet adjective ˈswēt a : pleasing to the mind or feelings : AGREEABLE, GRATIFYING - often used as a generalized term of approval

obliv·i·on noun ə-ˈbli-vē-ən, ō-, ä- 1: the fact or condition of forgetting or having forgotten; esp : the condition of being oblivious 2: the condition or state of being forgotten or unknown

Have you ever wanted to forget? Nariella Woodlinn has. Many times. Especially when her already frustrating life gets turned upside down by a mysterious boy who randomly shows up in her small town and she can’t seem to understand anything about him, despite how much she tries.

​Nari hates everything about her life except for her best friend Rydan, but now that they’ve been separated during their senior year of high school, she has to learn to make new friends without him. When strange unexplainable phenomenons start becoming an every day part of her life, Nari struggles to come to grips with reality. And with love.

Naminé has responsibilities. Duties. It is her obligation to fulfill all that is asked of her by their King. But when a glimmer of hope is introduced to her by a prisoner she tends to and it means life or death for her and her people, she does all that she can to turn that hope into reality and finally end the vicious war that has been ensuing since she was born. Even if that means keeping it secret from her King. Even if it means carrying out the biggest betrayal against the King ever seen during her time.

She has hope. She will fulfill her duty. She will not let her people down.

What I Liked:

This book was EXCELLENT! I hope I do not offend anyone by saying this, but for an indie author, and a debut, this book was so well put-together! I love the dual plots, the characters, the romance, and the relationships presented in this book!

The dual plots is something that readers are told right away, from the summary. We get to see the story of Nariella, and the story of Naminé. Nariella's story is definitely the forefront of the plot, but Naminé gets a chapter every now and then. Nari lives in the present, modern-day world, whereas Naminé lives in the fantasy world (same time, I believe, but different setting). Their worlds cross, because of certain people. Nari's story was more interesting, but Naminé's story deserves some attention, as it is all about the Kingdom, the struggling world of Aselaira, and dying people. But Nari world is more relatable to readers, and I definitely loved reading about her day-to-day life.

Nari is a wonderful heroine. As readers, we get a clear view as to what she is thinking, and that makes her very relatable. Her friendship with Rydan, her desire to just fit in somewhere at school, and her fear of Ray is all so real to readers. I love her insecurity, because in this insecurity, she does not seem weak. Rather, she seems like an actual person, who is trying to find herself, but needs to depend on others to find that strength. This does not seem weak or passive to me.

I LOVE Mycah. Let me tell you. I am not sure if this is intentional, but Ms. Ardisone does not spend too much time on his appearance - like, full-on paragraphs or anything. There is the initial view (or several initial views, as Nari sees him many times without actual associating him in her mind as someone with which she goes to school), but then, there are more subtle hints that give away his appearance, and Nari's attraction to him. I love these small nuances in writing that Ms. Ardisone adds. While full-on paragraphs of descriptions can be pleasing to the imagination, I also like when we know generally what he looks like, and then get a little more as we go.

But aside from appearance, Mycah is really incredible. I found him to be a passionate yet mysterious young man, creepy at times, but endearing at other times. I really, really like him. You can tell when he is introduced to the story that he will be Nari's love interest, and what a love interest he is.

Secondary characters. Desmond, Zaylie, Rydan, Liam, and Ray all provided a nice backdrop of characters for Nari and Mycah. The twins, Desmond and Zaylie, are hilarious, and definitely a great addition of comic relief to the story. Rydan is a mystery, although by the end, he is a mystery no more. Liam... well, I can see his purpose in the story. Go Liam! And Ray. Trust me when I say - you WILL hate Ray. And that is okay. He is such a jerk and a butt and every other mean word that applies to him.

NO love triangle! For those of you that have been with me here, you KNOW that I ABHOR love triangles. Well, I think it is safe to say that there is no love triangle in this book, and hopefully, in this series. At least, for Nari and Mycah. I love those two together so much - I would not be able to stand it if Nari or Mycah fell in love with other people!

I mentioned that I like the relationships in this book. By relationships, I do not just mean the romance (which I JUST explain above!). For example, Nari's relationship with Rydan is a deep, meaningful friendship. I love how Ms. Ardisone explores this friendship, from the peaks to the valleys. There is NOTHING romantic between Rydan and Nari, so get that out of your head (if that thought was there). Nari's relationship with Zaylie is another friendship, but this time, it is a friendship with a girl. This is significant, because Nari has never had a close relationship with a girl her age. Desmond and Liam are two more male friends to which Nari is close, but nothing like Nari's friendship with Rydan.

Remember how I said that you would hate Ray? Well. Nari and Ray's relationship is a sad and bitter one. Elizabeth, Ray's wife, found Nari as a baby, and brought her to Ray to raise her. When Elizabeth died (before the story started, not a spoiler), Ray was left to take care of Nari. Ray never wanted Nari, or any children. So, Ray drinks himself silly, and often hits or verbally abuses Nari. This relationship is painful to read, but it is a necessary one, as it explains Nari's fear of being close to Mycah.

Have I said enough to convince you to read this book?! I hope so! :D
What I Did Not Like:

Let me preface this by saying that I got a first edition copy of the book - and the author has already contacted me about this complaint. However, it is worth mentioning. There are many very small grammatical errors, like word spelling mistakes. But it went beyond this. There were SO MANY places where commas should have been, and were not. For example, consider the simple sentence structure below (NOT from this book):

I love your hat, Jen!
Well, most of those sentences in this book looked like this:
I love your hat Jen!

Again, this may have been fixed in the subsequent printing. But there were so many of these errors! I know it cannot be an isolated mistake. It was distracting, for someone who has an eye for grammar and grammatical mistakes. The writing style itself was very good, for an indie author! I mean no offense by that; but generally, debut indie authors do not have a concrete writing style. I did not find this to be a problem for Ms. Ardisone.

The only other thing that I would have liked to see or know more of would be the second part of the dual plot. More specifically, Naminé's world. Naminé had her own chapter every now and then, but her chapters were one to two pages long at the most (so, very brief), and did not give much information about the other world of the story. I hope that Ms. Ardisone explores the other world in the next books, because I believe this would really add to the fantasy setting of the series.

Would I Recommend It:

 I believe I would recommend this book to any Young Adult lover - it has bits of paranormal, contemporary, and fantasy all wrapped in one. And it is definitely a book that older and young audiences can read and enjoy.

4 stars. I definitely think this series has the potential to be an extremely popular fantasy series, if everyone gave it a chance! I am highly impressed by this debut novel, and cannot wait to read more from a talented indie author.

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  1. The dual plots, romance and characters sounds great.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  2. i like the fact that you tell both your likes and dislikes.

  3. Ohhh wesome review Alyssa this book looks and sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing Alyssa!


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