Bloodspell - Amalie Howard I can’t. It’s no use, I just can’t finish this book. The characters, their contrived, useless conflicts, the intriguing world that is hopelessly undeveloped and, above all, the immense cliché abuse just defeat me, Not only can I not finish this book but, since I was tempted to DNF it after a mere 10%, going any further would be unfair to the other DNF books that I finally gave up on.Now, saying you’re tempted to give up by 10% is pretty extreme – but this book begins with so many of the classic clichés, tropes and general fails that I was cringing.Firstly, we have a prologue paragraph telling us there’s a law that forbids vampires and witches from consorting.Right, folks, who can tell me what the plot is about? If you answered “it’s about a vampire and a witch falling in love” have a cookie. I have no idea why we have this new habit of giving away the plot in the opening prelude, especially when you have damn little plot, but it has to end.Then we have a girl, bullied at school with dead parents (mark off two more points on your checklist). She has super special powers she just doesn’t want because she wants to be normal, wooooe! Yes, it’s another teenager with super powers who just wants to be like everyone else – like every teenager never. Mark another cliché off the checklist. Oh and she has a book that may guide her about her specialness but she just can’t bring herself to read it because it’s just too awfulShe goes to a new school and meets a vampire (no he’s not labelled as such but after the opening prelude why even pretend this is supposed to be a secret). And ZOMG he’s hot and awesome and hot and sexy and hot and has an amazing voice and he’s hot – this goes on for a few paragraphs.Then we switch to his POV - actually, brief interlude for a side rant: the book keeps doing this. There’s no chapter break or anything else, we’re suddenly in Christian’s head rather than Victoria’s – suddenly her thoughts are a mystery and his are an open book. Then we whiplash back again – no rhyme or reason, no necessity, just constantly switching back and forth clumsily to allow more expositionAnd yes, it’s all about showing AND telling. If Victoria thinks Christian looks sad, she will describe his sadness, then we’ll go into Christian’s head to describe that yes, he is indeed sad. Interspaced with massive infodumping that is repeatedly shown or can easily be inferred but the author treats the audience like we’re a bunch of concussed kittens who can’t read any subtext at all. Which is probably why the opening paragraph appears just in case we didn’t get the not-so-subtle-clues on the way.Anyway, I was distracted by the awful writing – back to the first 10%: so we then enter Christian’s head (and yes, he’s a several hundred year old vampire going to school because… no, no reason, just because. After all, of course your 200 year old Parisian vampire aristocrat is going to go to a private school in rural Washingto - errr, Maine!) and he finds her awesome/sexy/hot/pure/wonderful/compelling/amazing/etc etc etc.At this point I think they passed each other in a corridor. They have had zero meaningful interaction but both think the other is the most amazing thing in the world ever.But there’s more! Because not only are we going to have that old forbidden love thing coming to bite them on the arse, but it turns out that good/musty vampire Christian who never ever kills to feed because he’s a good vampire, can’t resist her! She smells so good, he can’t be near her or he will drain her dry, nomnomnomnomnom! She just smells SO GOOD TO Edward- sorry, Christian. Can’t imagine why I mixed them up.Finish off with a pretentious hobby – am I the only one who sees a trend in poorly characterised YA protagonists having a pretentious hobby dropped on them to provide some rough attempt at character building and make them seem extra special and not like their shallow, lesser peers? It’s usually classical literature, classical music or long dead artists. In this case it’s classical music (we get to long dead artists later for a twofer).Read More