Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry
Book One of a trilogy
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Rating: 1 star
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devoted, soulful, watchful narrator—find their bond challenged for the first time ever when a mysterious and gifted musician named Jack comes between them. Suddenly, each girl must decide what matters most: friendship, or love. What both girls don’t know is that the stakes are even higher than either of them could have imagined. They’re not the only ones who have noticed Jack’s gift; his music has awakened an ancient evil—and a world both above and below which may not be mythical at all. The real and the mystical; the romantic and the heartbreaking all begin to swirl together, carrying the two on journey that is both enthralling and terrifying.

And it’s up to the narrator to protect the people she loves—if she can.

What I Liked:

Literally, nothing. I'm sorry, I don't say this a lot, but this book appealed to me in absolutely NO WAY. Just the cover, I suppose. And the glowing synopsis. Gosh. I really, really wanted to like this book, but it totally fell flat for me.

What I Did Not Like:

There isn't much to this book. It's extremely short (something like 240 pages, which seems even shorter on a Kindle), and it's not what I would call dense. I'd seen a few things about this book before reading the book - that the author has a beautiful writing style, beautiful prose, a really beautiful way with words. Also, the synopsis leads us to believe that there is some powerful romance, an amazing friendship, and some mythical aspect to the novel. Sounds great, right?

Well. I'll start with the writing style. I really don't see what's so beautiful and amazing and gripping about it. I found the writing style and the narration boring and repetitive and not at all engaging. I was expecting something fabulous, something dynamic that would sweep me off my feet - and instead, I got flat, boring, lifeless narration, brought on by a not-so-awesome writing style.

Then there's the fact that this book is really short, and not that dense, and not a lot happens in this book. Literally, all that happens is the narrator describes her life with her best friend, then Jack appears, the narrator falls in love with Jack, but then Aurora (the best friend) does too, and then Jack and and Aurora disappear, and the narrator feels the need to save them.

TRUST ME when I saw that my cute summary above is more interesting than the entire book. NOTHING HAPPENS. The first part of the book WITHOUT Jack is the narrator describing how not-hot she is, and how gorgeous and perfect Aurora is. She describes how Aurora barely remembers her dad, and how she (the narrator) doesn't know her dad. Then Jack comes along, and sweeps the narrator off her feet.

That really irritates me - that Jack appears and the narrator and him just fall in love. It's total insta-love, insta-lust, whatever. There is no powerful love story in this book. I don't see or feel any all-encompassing pull between Jack and the narrator, that makes them soul mates, or something. It's complete insta-love, with a giant dose of lust. Seriously. They cannot keep their hands off each other, and all the narrator can think about is Jack, so much that she can't see straight.

So much that she doesn't realize when her best friend falls in love (or lust) with Jack as well. Assuming I understood that correctly from the story. There is a good chance that I didn't understand the entire story. I originally thought that Aurora and the narrator had the same dad - which would make the constant "close like sisters" references make sense - but I never got an explanation on that (surprise!).

I kind of hated the narrator throughout the entire story. She acts like a tough girl - she even thinks she's tough - but she bows to whatever Aurora wants. She runs off with Jack at every chance. She blindly tries to get Aurora and Jack from whatever hell they put themselves in (I seriously mean hell - that's the mythological part). She constantly tells Aurora that no one means more to her than Aurora, but when Jack comes along, we know that's not true. Everything is Aurora, Aurora, Aurora, and Jack, Jack, Jack. I expected some sort of threesome to happen at some point in the book - in which I would have STOPPED, and clocked in my first DNF. I don't know about your sexual preferences, but threesomes are NOT for me.

So, there is a love triangle, sort of. And I hate all three people in the love triangle. You know it's bad when you disliked (hate) all of the main characters in the book. The only character that I could stomach was the narrator's friend who saves her at the end (and I cannot remember his name, for crying out loud!).

I touched on this, but the plot is ridiculous. It feels like NOTHING happens, and then at the last couple of percents, the narrator goes on some life-changing quest to get Aurora and Jack, and that all in itself is so confusing and pointless and UGH! Can the author at least TRY to explain ANYTHING?! I don't understand  the "mythology" part of the book. I'm putting it in quotes because I don't even know if it's mythology, or the narrator is doing drugs or drinking alcohol, or the narrator is off her rocker.

No characterization (the narrator does not grow up AT ALL), no plot, no explanation, crap romance... how did I even finish this book?! Thank goodness it was so short - because I remember getting violently angry on so many occasions while reading this book. Good thing I love my Kindle.

I think that the people who say the author's writing is beautiful must have a better understanding of how to muddle through confusion nonsense nothings that make absolutely NO SENSE. It's rare that a book confuses me. It's rare that an author twists a story that I can't figure out. It's also BAD when I meet a story that I can't understand, because I am not stupid, and yet, I cannot make head or tail of this book.

I'm done. I apologize to the author, the publishing house, and the team of people who worked hard to get this book to where it is. But to me? This book is absolutely awful and a complete waste of my time. (and we all know how many books are out there...)

Would I Recommend It:

No. Nonononononono. Do NOT make the mistake of thinking that there is a pretty cover, a wonderful romance, and a mysterious story waiting for beneath that deceptive cover. Like I did, unfortunately. I had really high hopes for this book, and it ended up being an utter disappointment.


1 star. Trust me when I say that I would have given it 0 stars, had I the chance.

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


  1. The cover looks so pretty,I had at least expected it to be a decent read,if it was that bad,I am not going to read it,thanks for the review

    1. Uhhh, yeah. The cover and synopsis totally drew me in. The actual story? Did not.

  2. Great review! I feel like it's been ages since I've seen a truly negative review that isn't trying to skirt around a 3 star rating. I find this review to be so refreshing.
    Sadly, the cover and synopsis are gorgeous and both draw me in immediately, but the story sounds like it would irk me as well. I am kind of intrigued, though!

    1. Thank you so much! I, um, really ripped this one apart. I hate doing the 3-star dance. And 2 stars usually seems like too much.

      I hope that if you decide to read this one, you like it, Megan!

  3. Awww, what a bummer :-(

  4. Right there with you girl. RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. I couldn't stand all the description. I was like ok some things are worth describing, but other things? I was like, "I don't care!" I agree- there was no plot. None. I kept reading going... is something going to happen? Where is this evil that was spoken of in the synopsis? Yep- this one? No bueno.

    1. LOL! We had like, the same reactions to this one! I'm so disappointed - because this was one of the ones that I HAD TO READ before the end of 2013. I'm not continuing the series. Blah.

      Thanks, Jess!

  5. What a let down! The cover is so beautiful I thought for sure it would be a good one. I guess you really can't judge a book by its cover... boo!

    1. Right?! The cover totally hoodwinked me! But yeah, it didn't work out FOR ME :\

  6. This is one of those books that I was incredibly interested in, but after reading a few reviews I think I may have to pass it by. And now after reading your review, yeah, I think that I am done.

    1. I was the same - I thought it would be spectacular! I was disappointed :\ I'm sorry that you're disappointed too, Jaime! Can't read and love them all, I suppose.

  7. Whew. Dodged a bullet then! I wasn't approved by NetGalley for this and I'm kinda glad now. I was so bummed by it before. And thank you so much for the very honest review, Alyssa! I honestly don't like best friends being pitted against each other especially if it's JUST BECAUSE OF A BOY because seriously, you'd wreck a friendship over it? And I'm also not a fan of weak heroines and novels with no character development so wee! Sad thing though that the cover is SO PRETTY and I think lots of people were and will be lured by it.

    1. Isn't it strange and amazing how things work out sometimes?! :)

      Yeah, I look back at this book, and the cover and synopsis were the ONLY TWO THINGS that were good about this book. Unfortunately, that was enough to draw me in, as you said. I really, really wanted to like this one.

      Thank you, Dianne!

  8. Oh no, I'm sorry you didn't like it. I've actually seen a lot of bad reviews on this one so I don't have it high on my list! Here's hoping you read some 5 star books this week! Thanks!

    1. It's amazing how many people did NOT like this one, after such a large pre-pub push for it. Thank you so much, Erika!


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