Sunday, October 12, 2014

Double Review - Black Ice - Becca Fitzpatrick

Black Ice
Becca Fitzpatrick
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Thriller
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars
Word Rating: Entertaining Enough
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

I picked up an ARC of this from BEA and now that I've read it, I realize that figuring out how I felt about this book took a little time because I didn't immediately feel one way or another as to whether or not I liked it. The premise -- a girl getting lost in the mountains with potential serial killers -- was oh so promising and there was quite a bit that went on the book, some good, some bad, that made it a lot more than just that basic summary.

 Right from the beginning, I didn't really like Britt, the main character. There was a scene at a gas station in the very beginning that I believe said a lot about her character. She refused to pump her own gas and pretended not to know how because she thinks she's a princess and doesn't want her hands to smell like gas (girl you're going backpacking, if you can't handle a little gasoline, you got problems) and then kept drinking excess Slurpee like it was her job and then made up a fake boyfriend to get back at her ex and had the most disgusting display of verbal affection with that fake conversation that I wanted to puke a little bit. I honestly thought at first Britt would be serious and tough or at least not as annoying as she is, but I was wrong. And then she hates on her "best friend" Korbie all the time for stupid things that she also does. You're not any better than her (not that Korbie is really all that bad, Britt just gets really annoyed by everything she does for some reason. That is not a healthy best-friendship. Walk away from that, one of you).

Calvin is Britt's main thought throughout the book and he honestly isn't even a great person. We see all these flashbacks, which were actually pretty entertaining and I enjoyed, but they just solidified the fact that he wasn't good to her, and there's no reason she should be thinking of him stranded in a cabin in the middle of the mountains. She also should not be romantically thinking about her captors -- one of them, at least.

The Stockholm syndrome vibes weren't so much as weird as they were poor judgement on her part. Like, come on girl, I know the guy is cute, but the whole thing had such a creepy feel to it the whole time that if I was there I probably would have been terrified, not flirting with the enemy.

Although, I did like that she tried to guide them out to help save herself, that was one of the few good choices she made throughout the book. And actually reading about her strandedness and adventure was definitely entertaining, although Britt's dialogue always annoyed me.

Even though I didn't particularly like the characters, I still found myself wondering if she would become another one of the teenage girls found dead, if she would become like the girl in the opening scene. I personally thought she would make it out alive because she's the main character and most authors don't do that, but that doesn't mean I wasn't thinking about the hundreds of other things that could happen to her besides that.

The plot itself of the book wasn't super unguessable but it definitely was engaging, enough so to keep me reading after I already decided the characters were a bit too much for me. Overall, I didn't totally love it, and there were a bunch of things I had issues with, but it won't deter me from trying out Becca Fitzpatrick books in the future.

- Noor

Marlon's Review of Black Ice
Rating: 2 our of 5 Stars
Word Rating:  Mediocre

Did you like Hush Hush? If so, you're going to like this book. Fitzpatrick's diction and storytelling have certainly become more polished, but the writing is very similar, the characters are just as contentious and the 'romance' is just as ramped up.

If you didn't like Hush Hush, then chances are, you're with me: Black Ice is mediocre. It has a strong premise and a lot of potential -- right from the prologue the raw themes that should be capitalized on -- escapism versus being captured, lust versus murderous intent, intoxicated (and so altered) states of mind. The blurbs all promise a fast-pace ride about Britt, the main character, being captured and stranded with probable killers, and having to navigate her way out to save herself.

That's all well and nice, of course, if the introduction didn't make Britt so hateable. Was the point of all the tension about the camping in the beginning, coupled with seeing her ex, supposed to make us relate to Britt? Because it didn't come off that way. Instead, Britt's character seems annoying, petty, and arrogant. (See Noor's review for a fuller criticism.)

And I would be completely fine hating Britt in the beginning but learning to love her as the fear of death showed her character's insides to be something more redeeming . . . but no. In basically every situation, Britt cannot help but relate everything to Calvin. This is fine, I can totally understand seeing someone you love in everything you do . . . but in a novel like this, those flashbacks only detract from the central plot -- of which Calvin has pretty much no influence past the first chapter -- and make me want to slap Britt to get over someone who made cheated on her while they were in a committed relationship, manipulated her to have sex with him, and generally was a total bag of faecal matter. What was the point of this? To make Mason, her captor, look more appealing to Britt? It doesn't. It just makes Britt's taste in lovers all the more disconcerting.

Godamnit, I want to talk about other characters but Britt is such a huge part of why this novel caves in on itself so hard. Every single thing about her makes me wish she just died in the mountains and Korbie just treks out of there exhausted but free. For example, throughout the book, Britt is treated poorly by most of the men. When this happens, she blames herself, she thinks they have beautiful souls and what have you. But the second her "best" friend does something wrong . . . the second Britt's sexual desires become apparent, Korbie could be dead to her and she wouldn't notice. What kind of message does this send?

There is literally a scene where one of the men is telling Britt that she "[has] the complete package", while Korbie is just an idiot. What does Britt say to this? "His response could not have been more perfect."

What the hell? What the hell!?

The saving grace of the book is probably the unwinding of the plot. I found that while I knew the general direction of things (not really that Big of a Reveal at the end), I couldn't really predict at all what certain characters would do since most of the events were based purely on circumstance. I found this really fascinating, especially in trying to get in the heads of the captors.

In the end, though, it was not an enjoyable journey, though I see how it could have been.

- Marlon

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