This title was provided by Apologue Entertainment, NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the contents of my review. This post contains affiliate links that may provide the post author with monetary compensation.
The Pentralsby Crystal Mack
Series: The Pentrals #1
Publication: Apologue Entertainment on November 12th 2013 [expected]
Genres: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Source: Apologue Entertainment, NetGalley
Better World Books • Book Depository • Goodreads
Picture your life without free will.
No choice. No voice. No personal direction.
For 17 years, it's the only path I've known. Always a follower, never in control, I am an afterthought, burying my impulses as I bend to the whims of another. I dream of someone taking notice-of falling in love and being kissed. But I probably never will.
My name is Antares. I am a Shadow.
Deep in a secluded canyon lies Talline, a metropolis of mirrors filled with forces called Pentrals that outline our very existence. Antares, Pentral Class Two, took an oath to act without influence—to echo without opinion. But in a cruel twist of fate, she must watch as Violet, her person, encounters a tragedy that will change both their lives forever. When Violet starts making careless choices, Antares can no longer remain a silent silhouette. She won’t allow lost friendships, broken hearts, or those mysterious menaces looking out from the glass to tear apart Violet’s very being. In doing so, Antares unknowingly crosses forbidden boundaries and ends up illuminating a darkness much deeper than her own.
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]kay, okay. I’ll admit it–I judged a book by its cover. The cover art caught my eye immediately, and once I read the synopsis, I knew I had to read The Pentrals. The concept is so unlike anything I’ve read, and I was really curious to see how the author pulled it off!
Right off the bat, I had a hard time connecting with this story until the switch took place. The narrative from Antares’ point-of-view felt a little hollow (and rightly so, I guess–I mean, she is a shadow). There are only so many times that you can describe the way a shadow shadows someone before it gets a little stale.
Things pick up once View Spoiler »Violet and Antares trade places « Hide Spoiler, but my biggest problem with this book (and it’s always a big problem with any book) is that I still wasn’t able to connect with the characters. I didn’t feel for Violet or Antares. The reader follows Violet for only a brief while before she’s View Spoiler »suddenly plastered to the floor beneath Antares’ shoe « Hide Spoiler, after which period of time we don’t really get any taste for her personality again throughout the book.
As for Thomas… I couldn’t love Thomas at all. The author doggedly enforces how wonderful he is–good-looking and beloved and a star athlete and a perfect boyfriend–and I just couldn’t buy it. I was far more interested in Ben and Sam than most of the main cast of characters (though Ben’s total 180° turn after his confrontation with Thomas and Violet bothered me, too).
Another thing that bothered me was the View Spoiler »mirripulation concept. While I’m sure it would be horrible to see your face so horribly disfigured and grotesque (and I do appreciate what’s going on, metaphorically), and we certainly have no reason to doubt what we see reflected in a mirror… didn’t anyone think to, I don’t know, touch their face and feel that they didn’t have scabs and protruding veins and things? Or ask someone they trust, “Hey, does this look like a rash or something?” instead of just assuming that their family and friends were just not bringing it up for the sake of their ego? Because I certainly would have. « Hide Spoiler
The end is where this book finally caught me. I was captivated by the details of View Spoiler »Antares’ previous life (and death?) and her connection to Ben « Hide Spoiler. The culminating of all the events so far finally added up to something I could get into and honestly, despite some of the predictable plot devices sprinkled throughout, I am curious to know what happens next.