Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Review: Venus City by Tabitha Vale

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Venus City
Tabitha Vale
Series: Legacy of the Sares #1
Release date: February 14th 2012

Goodreads / Purchase

“His magenta eyes flashed up to meet hers and for a moment she thought she saw something spark behind them—something fierce, something challenging.”

In a city where boys’ eyes are magenta and their emotions of lust, anger, greed, and ambition are remarkably absent, spoiled Braya Vace finds herself in the biggest problem of her young life when she meets handsome, blue-eyed Asher Benedict. It wasn’t supposed to be possible. There wasn’t supposed to be anyone else living outside Venus City.

As she tries to unravel the mystery of Asher and his group of foreigner boys, the rest of Braya’s life seems to crumble apart around her. A disapproving mother, a sick younger sister, a mysterious brother, and a humiliating career as a Bride are just a few of the things that Braya has to deal with. Those, and her conflicting feelings for Asher.

*A copy was provided by Tabitha Vale for review purposes*

I’m a sucker for anything dystopian/post apocalypse. I get this unnatural urge to need to read any and all. Maybe it’s a sign the apocalypse is coming and my intuition knows I need to be prepared (and I will be!). Obviously, having read so many, my expectations have become quite high. It needs to stand out, become memorable and exciting with strong leads. Sadly, this one didn’t quite succeed.

Braya is spoiled rotten. She’s always gotten what she wanted, until now. I actually didn’t mind her high and mighty attitude at first. It was amusing and kind of entertaining. But then… (yep you knew it was coming), it just never stopped. She is constantly rude, then she gets these violent outburst; I did not like her, at all. My problems with her aren’t restricted to her attitude. Her whole personality strongly clashes with the type I can relate to. When she meets the Asher, the main male character, she wakes up with him having binded himself to her making it so he can control her. He can order her to do anything he wants, and she has to obey. If she doesn’t, the pain she feels is so severe she passes out from it. If it was me, I would have been PISSED off. Braya? She complains a bit, then shrugs it off. She doesn’t even ask why. Why her? What does he need control over her for? She wasn’t very unconcerned about it at all and to me that’s either incredibly naive, or simply unbelievable. 

“The link that bonds us”, he said […] “has nothing to do with mind control, as you suspect. It’s merely a tool meant to make you do as I say” 
“Oh Bray. I had hoped we could be the type of master and slave who got on well. Became friends. Built trust. Braided each other’s hair.”
-Quotes from finished copy of Venus City

Oh really? Is that all, Asher? Manipulator extraordinaire; not only does he call their “bond” master-slave, he can also turn invisible and uses this to follow her without her knowledge. Why is it that so many YA books nowadays have male leads that are complete jerks who we’re supposed to fall for (yes, Braya develops feelings for him)? I can not root for these guys. It’s just not in me. There are two main type of male personalities that I despise: one is the controller, the other is the creepy stalker. Asher, falling in both categories, makes my skin crawl. Furthermore, he refuses to give any answers to Braya about his whole purpose at Venus City, which to me felt like nothing more than a way to keep the reader in the dark. It’s a good approach when it’s suspenseful. But in this case it’s only irritating as there are no apparent reasons to be keeping secrets from her.

The dystopian future starts out very interesting and original. It reminded me vaguely of Wither: the girls are brides and they go through the training with their sister wives. The similarities end there, howevere. This one combines a lot of unique elements, from the addition of magic to intriguing lore. It’s strange, but I liked it. From the start I noticed it was more showing rather than telling. We have to go with the flow, getting bits and pieces of the world building periodically throughout the story. There are still a few dark holes left at the end, though. Mostly, I wanted to get to more of the bigger picture, especially further details about the war, past and present. Nonetheless, the world is creative, it has some beautiful imagery, and the plot is captivating. I also enjoyed the sister-wives who are all especially charming. I loved their butting differences and witty personalities. If it wasn’t for my dislike of the main roles I’m sure this novel would have appealed to me a great deal. But as it stands, it wasn’t enough to keep my interest and I ended up skimming the last 60 pages or so.

With so many dystopians, I have to say that Venus City does have some unique factors that makes the premise especially compelling. Regardless, I can’t really recommend it because I cringe at anyone being exposed to these behaviors and thinking they are acceptable.  

2 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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24 Responses to “Review: Venus City by Tabitha Vale”

  1. Nick

    Oh man! The guy looks like a total jerk and a tad bit creepy. He follows her ? That is just too weird ! :S
    Ugghh and the main character sounds like a total brat.
    I haven’t heard of this one before, but from the sounds of it I’m definitely not going to enjoy it ! Thanks for the honest review, Giselle ! 🙂

  2. Nicola

    That really sucks! I have one of this author’s other books for review, I hope it’s better than this one! 🙂

    Great review!

  3. The Teen Book Guru

    Wow! I was actually really looking forward to reading this… I’m kinda a sucker for Dystopians, I love them! But I’m sad to see that it disappointed. And, I know what you mean, there are just so many awesome Dystopians out there now, so any new ones have to be extraordinary and different at the same time. Great review, as always Giselle! <3

    TheTeen Book Guru’s Lates Post


  4. Amy

    Are those lines for real?!! This does not sound like a book I would enjoy at all. We are pretty much book twins so a 2 from you means I am most likely not going to like it either.

  5. Christina

    WHAT WHAT WHAT? That relationship may be the new creepiest one in YA that I’ve heard of so far. What the heck is that? Why can he control her? Is she Ella Enchanted? Also, he stalks her invisibly? At least Edward stalked corporeally. Gross, gross, gross!

  6. Suzanne @ Paranormal Book Fan

    Aw, I was just getting excited about this one after reading the blurb…. Münchausen much? How can he be the love interest. He is a cruel manipulator. And I really hope your intuition is wrong lol. I’m not ready for the apocalypse yet!

  7. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    Of course the apocalypse is coming! That’s why we need to save as much bleach as possible. Bleach will save us, I just know it. 😀
    This wasn’t even on my radar before, but I’ll skip it now that it is. Nothing worse than being disappointed by the main characters.
    Thanks for taking one for the team… again. Sorry it wasn’t good enough.

  8. Mel - Thedailyprophecy.

    A male who is a total jerk, thinks he can manipulate her and stalk her? Ohhh, that sounds like something that would annoy the crap out of me.. I think I won’t give this one a shot. Thanks for the honest review!

  9. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    LOL I recently watched this show on Discovery about people who are preparing for the apocolypse/epidemics and there was this crazy lady who passed out survival kits to all her neighbors, I’m now wondering if it was you O.o

    Sorry you’re having such a bad run with your books as of late. This review angers me, when did stalkers become sexy (don’t answer that, thanks alot Stephanie Meyer!) This is definitely one that I will be staying away from (far, far away). Great review!!

    OH! And the crazy lady I mentioned (*cough* you *cough*) if someone showed up at her house after the disinfecting process she had a room that was all tarped off in plastic and she made them sit in there rather than with everyone else. It was odd… really odd.

  10. Katie @ BlookGirl

    Great review, as always, Giselle. I, too, am fed up with male characters in YA who are possessive, controlling, and stalkerish – and yet, we’re supposed to love them and be okay with the female lead loving him, too. I understand that there ARE dysfunctional relationships “IRL” but to see them constantly portrayed to teenagers and young adults like they’re normal and desirable? NO THANKS!

    /rant 🙂

  11. Silverlight

    Showing a female character being treated that way is definitely not a good book imo. I want strong males w/ even stronger females. Not some whiny, spoiled bitches and creepy jerks…They would be the first to go down…

  12. Giselle

    @Christina: Ella Enchanted! bahaha. No he installed some bond while she was unconscious. Not really sure how to be honest.

    Thanks ladies! I’m glad I’m not the only one unimpressed with jerks that we’re supposed to be in love with in YA. I think they’re all trying to give us Stockholm Syndrome.

  13. Kara_Malinczak

    Yeah, those types of relationships are unacceptable in YA fiction. From now on, every book that has a similar relationship gets an immediate 1 star deduction (at least). I will be passing on this book and have already added it to my will-not-read-due-to-reviews shelf on Goodreads.

  14. ShreShre

    Great review Giselle! I might or might not enjoy this book, I don’t know for sure. When it said you got it as an ARC, I thought it wasn’t out yet still, but I just realized it was pub. in Feb. haha. ;D

  15. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    Giselle, oh she was for real! She had these specially made buckets that she put all her survival gear in and then she would go to her neighbors houses and drop them off. She was nucking futs! The buckets even had a clever name on them but I can’t remember what it was. I think it’s a weekly show called Preparing For The Apocalypse or something along those lines.

  16. Julie

    This love interest sounds like a total jerkwad. I love a little bit of confidence in a guy, but in a lot of YA books, the guys are controlling and abusive. Where are the good guys in YA romantic interests? Yes, it’s not bad to have someone looking out for you and it’s okay if they’re a little controlling but that person should be a mentor or parental figure. It’s an unhealthy relationship romantically.

    Venus City certainly sounds like an interesting dystopian book, but the characters don’t sound like very much fun. Great review, as always!

  17. Maji Bookshelf

    haha i also didn’t like the whole slave/master stuff. a bit cave-manish in my opinion. What i didn’t enjoy so much is how detailed and micro it is. I hoped for more of “the bigger picture” of things so we would at least get an idea on WHAT is going on.. but too much focus on the main lead’s life.

    Great review as always!!

    – juhina