Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review: Cicada by Belle Whittington

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Cicada
Belle Whittington
Released July 14th, 2011
Format: Ebook

For 17-year-old Blair Reynolds and her friends, being the bearer of secrets is getting really old. But it’s something she learns to deal with, because there’s no other option. If the people in her small town ever found out what she and her friends discovered in the woods and hid in the storage room, the whole town would be up in arms;literally. You see, folks here don’t believe in aliens from outer space. Besides, if they ever found out what two of those aliens did to one of their own, well, let’s just say what would follow would be all out war.

As the months unfold, their summer becomes consumed with secrets, puzzle pieces that don’t quite fit together, and a fight for their lives that leaves one of them at death’s door.

*A copy was provided by Belle Whittington for review purposes*

When you see a paranormal YA novel, you figure it’s going to be about angels, vampires, faeries, you know, the usual. What we don’t see often is something more along the lines of extraterrestrials. Cicada is one of those. It’s a bit strange at times, but It’s original and very imaginative.

The story starts pretty quickly with no messing around. We get thrown into Blair’s life in the start of what has to be the strangest summer of her life. I did like the characters, in that they weren’t annoying or irritating, but I couldn’t really connect with them. I can’t pinpoint exactly why, but there were a few minor details that I took notice of. The most prominent being the dialogue which was a bit too sophisticated or even professional for their age group. For example, I noticed contractions weren’t used very much, and you don’t usually hear teenagers say “I am here” as opposed to “I’m here”. Some readers may not even notice this, but I found it made them sound less natural. That’s not the only reason why I couldn’t connect with Blair and the others, though. I couldn’t really get a picture of them in my head, especially Blair. I think if the book would have been longer and, thus, with more character development we would have gotten to know them better. I found myself not being able to give them distinct personalities.

The plot itself was pretty fun. The first half of the book is spent trying to decipher the mystery behind Blair’s dreams and what they saw in her grandfather’s woods. It was pretty exciting and I was creeped out a few times. It had a good steady pace that kept the story intriguing without revealing too much. This is the first in a series, and as it was more of a build-up, we didn’t get a lot a of explanations and I was a bit disappointed by that. I wish we’d at least gotten further details about the Cicada and their purpose. We did find out what was lurking in the woods, but we’re definitely left with more than a few questions at the end. It could make for a good revelatory sequel.

For a debut novel it’s not a bad start. Cicada is a fairly short book – a bit over 200 pages – that kept my attention throughout even though I wish it had a bit more substance. There is room for improvement, but it was still an entertaining story.

3 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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16 Responses to “Review: Cicada by Belle Whittington”

  1. Andrea

    I recently read/reviewed Cicada, as well. I had manyof the same issues you did. But I do have high hopes for the sequel. Nice review!

  2. Book Crook Liza

    I’m actually having the same issue with the book I’m reading now. The main character really talks unnaturally for her age or even in general, but especially for her age. It’s explained in the book as something others notice about her (apparently she says it’s because she lived in a lot of countries and travelled a lot: I’ve lived in three and been to over 10 and I don’t talk like that k thx) — It just makes her a little pretentious and a little too difficult to relate to. Anywayyyyyy! This does sound interesting though! I’m totally into aliens! Well, not ugly ones – human looks ones. 😉 I might have to check this out! 🙂

    Liza @ Book Crook Liza

  3. Mimi Valentine

    LOL I pick up on those kinds of things too! Whenever a phrase sounds sort of unnatural or lacks a contraction, I always have a tendency to re-write it in my head! x) I’m a grammar freak like that!

    Awesome review, Giselle! 🙂 I’m really glad that you enjoyed it, despite its flaws!

  4. Michelle @ Book Briefs

    Great review, Im going to be reading this book for an upcoming blog tour.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on my eve review. It has one heck of a cliffhanger and i’m not a huge fan of them either. Honestly though even though the book made me really sad in some parts, I have to know what is going to happen next just because of the ending. Let me know what you think of it if you read it 🙂

  5. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Aliens, huh? You’re right — not a lot of that out there. I don’t know why but, while I love paranormals, I kind of flinch when I hear a book as aliens. However, I do love a good plot and this one sounds fun! Great review.

  6. Lauren M

    Ooh, extraterrestrials! Nice. It’s a bummer the characters didn’t feel very real, though; I’d probably have the same issues as you did. Thanks for the review! 🙂
    Lauren

  7. Book Sake

    Hmmm, not sure if I’m feeling it. It’s probably a mental thing for me – as soon as I hear “Cicada” I think of those crazy noisy insects and it kinda creeps me out. Otherwise the storyline sounds different!

  8. A Canadian Girl

    The plot seems interesting but it’s disappointing that you found it hard to connect with the characters and that the dialogue wasn’t realistic. At least the story is pretty unique.

  9. Candace

    It’s good you still liked it okay even with the issues you had. It seems like first books are often like that for me. And then they get better after that. Of course sometimes the first one is amazing and then the series goes down hill…

  10. Gina @ My Precious

    I tried to start this one, but I had a hard time with the presentation and what I’d consider “stiff” writing. I appreciate your honest review. I think you addressed some of the exact issues I had.