Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: Breaking Butterflies by M. Anjelais

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I received this book for free from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Breaking Butterflies by M. AnjelaisBreaking Butterflies by M. Anjelais
Published by Chicken House LTD on April 3rd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Scholastic
Buy on Amazon

The closest he will ever come to happiness is when he's hurting her. Will she let him? A beautiful and twisted story of first love and innocence lost--written when the author was just eighteen. 

Sphinxie and Cadence. Promised to each other in childhood. Drawn together again as teens. Sphinxie is sweet, compassionate, and plain. Cadence is brilliant, charismatic. Damaged. And diseased. When they were kids, he scarred her with a knife. Now, as his illness progresses, he becomes increasingly demanding. She wants to be loyal--but fears for her life. Only the ultimate sacrifice will give this love an ending.

I don’t even really know where to start with this book. While reading it all I could think was “this reading is somehow intoxicating but this story is really one of the worst I have ever read.” So, I guess you can take that for what it is.

From the first page I was a fan of the writing, it was strong, pretty and sucked me in as fast as could be. I enjoyed Sphinx’s (yes, her mother named her Sphinx) voice even though I didn’t really come to like her for who she was. The pace of the story was also really fast, stuff kept happening, people kept moving, emotions kept rising and that really kept me engrossed in the story. It was a trainwreck really, you know you shouldn’t look but you just can’t take your eyes off of it.

Ok, now I have run out of nice things to say about this book. The actual storyline was probably one of the worst I have ever read and it led me to shake my head and laugh out loud while reading it often (and the latter was not for HA-HA reasons, it was for YOU-HAVE-GOT-TO-BE-FUCKING-KIDDING-ME reasons.) Essentially the story is about a girl and a boy who were born to women who were best friends. These best friends had made a pact when they were younger that one would have a boy, the other would have a girl, then their offspring would get together and have babies and they would become grandmothers together. Everything went according to plan until the boy came out a sociopath. Sphinx is a good girl with a strong head on her shoulders but Cadence is unable to feel emotions of any sort. He doesn’t understand what it is to feel for someone, or react to occurrences around him in an emotional way. I think here is where my biggest problem with the story lies. See, Cadence was literally a textbook sociopath. It’s like the author looked up the definition and encompassed everything she read into this one guy and didn’t give us anything to make us feel for him. He was terrible in every scene he was in, he felt absolutely nothing and he was just a fucking dick. I am well aware that this is how sociopaths are but in the scope of this story it just made everything not work. It didn’t make sense that people would feel emotionally connected to him in any way and it left me, the reader, hating everything about him.

The utter harshness of Cadence’s character also led me to question other characters in the novel. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, Sphinx feels a connection to him. She fights to be there for him in any way that she can even when he is utterly terrible to her at every turn. You guys, he literally NEVER did anything nice in this book. NOT ONCE. These two were friends when they were kids but after Cadence cut Sphinx’s face with a Swiss Army knife his mother packed him up and they moved to London. This was when they were 10, at 16 Cadence gets sick and says he wants to see Sphinx so his mom flies her and her mom out to be with him. After all that time apart, after him CUTTING HER FACE WITH A KNIFE, she feels this intense loyalty that even makes herself consider KILLING HERSELF when he dies so that they can go out of this world together and have it be ART. I shit you not folks, this is the story, I wouldn’t believe it if someone relayed it to me either. Perhaps the “glue that held these two together” was supposed to be their need to fulfill the pact that their mother’s had made when they were younger but I am just not buying any of that mumbo jumbo.

I really don’t have it in me to rant about this rubbish anymore so I am going to cut myself off there but just stay away. Stay far, far away. It really is sad though because I think the writing was strong, but the story was just so bad that no amount of impeccable writing could have ever saved it.


1 Cold Espresso

15 Responses to “Review: Breaking Butterflies by M. Anjelais”

  1. Amanda @ Book Badger

    Ouch, this book really isn’t the spot for people and you’ve really ripped it Jenni, but I like that. I like that you’ve been so honest because I had been slowly getting sucked into the pretty cover, but not now, now I know that book is not for me whatsoever, so thank you for your honesty! Sorry it wasn’t a good book for you though 🙂

  2. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    THANKYOUTHANKYOU. Like, I feel awful for saying this…but I absolutely DO NOT understand why the hell Sphinx would consider dying with Cadence??? Her obsession with him was just as scary as his sociopathy at times. And why on earth did people continually leave her alone with him??? Like they though, “oh well, she got hurt once, chances are it won’t happen again!” No. NO NO. This book was wrong on very many levels. I was very engrossed reading it, but it was like a train spiralling off a bridge, honestly.
    Heh. Sorry. end of my rant. >_< But you summed up my thoughts exactly!

  3. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I’ve been hearing the same thing over and over again about this book. When I read the blurb, I knew that I would be really irritated with this book, especially because I was taking a Gender and Women’s Studies class this summer and it was infuriating and eye-opening. Anyways, the sad thing is that people like Sphinx exist in real life. Even after all the shit they are made to go through, they don’t see the bad in their aggressors.
    I’m sorry you didn’t have much luck with this book, Jenni. 🙁

  4. P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

    The premise sounded pretty great, but wow the story seems a bit messed up. Lots of really unhealthy behaviour that’s supposed to be glorified? Thanks for the warning, because I probably would have tried Breaking Butterflies based on the synopsis.

  5. Kayla @ The Thousand Lives

    Okay, the cover is super pretty, but while I was reading the synopsis it was like, “what the hell is this?? This sounds like a really, really, really unhealthy relationship glorified to be some star-crossed lovers shenanigans.” Aaaand I guess that’s really what it is. I wish it could have been better for you, but at least I know now to stay far away!

  6. Giovana @ Corazones Literarios

    Thanks for your honest review!!

    I just can’t understand why someone would have written a book about a girl trying to glorify her agressor. Seriously, I like read books with girls whom can stand their points and overpass those bad situations, I probably would have hate this book so much!

    Thanks for the warning!

  7. Preethi @ Time Turning Reads

    Okay, I’m shocked. I think that’s the first cold expresso rating I’ve seen in my life O.O When I first read the synopsis for this book, I figured Cadence simply had some demons from his past he had to get rid of, and that a connection between the two characters would make sense. However, reading your review, I stand corrected. I feel like it would be interesting to read for a while, but I think I’d get angry/annoyed/disgusted at a sociopath who doesn’t do even ONE nice thing for Sphinx. That was the clincher for me that decided this isn’t the book for me.

  8. Lisa @ Lost in Literature

    Ummm yeahhhhh… not gonna read this one. Too bad… it has a pretty cover. 😀 I can’t believe you stuck through it until the bitter end. You’re a better woman than I am, as I would have DNF’d this sucker after only a short time. Great honest review, Jenni!

  9. Rashika

    A good ole rant fixes everything. *pats*

    I’ve been seeing this book go around and I decided it wasn’t for me. I’ve heard similar things being said about the characters and Candence just sounds like a nightmare. I mean I am already a little vary of the idea of a sociopath… but the fact that we may or may not be required to sympathize with him in spite of the fact he hasn’t done a single nice thing in the entire book is a little.. troublesome.

    I am sorry you didn’t enjoy this one more, Jenni 🙁

  10. Pili

    I’ve read other reviews with pretty much the same warnings as yours, and despite how interesting the summary sounds, I think I will be staying away from it!
    Thanks for the very honest review (and warning!), Jenni!