All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

Release Date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Series: All Our Pretty Songs, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository

The first book in an exciting YA trilogy, this is the story of two best friends on the verge of a terrifying divide when they begin to encounter a cast of strange and mythical characters.

Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devoted, soulful, watchful narrator—find their bond challenged for the first time ever when a mysterious and gifted musician named Jack comes between them. Suddenly, each girl must decide what matters most: friendship, or love. What both girls don’t know is that the stakes are even higher than either of them could have imagined. They’re not the only ones who have noticed Jack’s gift; his music has awakened an ancient evil—and a world both above and below which may not be mythical at all. The real and the mystical; the romantic and the heartbreaking all begin to swirl together, carrying the two on journey that is both enthralling and terrifying.

And it’s up to the narrator to protect the people she loves—if she can.

The cover drew me in. The creeping vines and the beautiful title– I thought this sounded amazing. Then upon learning that it was a retelling of the Orpheus myth, I knew I had to get my hands on it, somehow. When this popped up on NetGalley, I thought it was the perfect opportunity.
However, I think my expectations were a little too high. I didn't really enjoy the book until halfway. I've seen raving reviews about it, and it even got a star from Kirkus! I then thought, what could possibly go wrong reading this book? And I just found that I couldn't like it as much as I wanted to. There were several things that put me off, and it just made me want to get through the book quicker.

I thought that this had amazing potential. A retelling of a myth we don't hear all to much about in the world of YA, a touch of paranormal and mythology with a contemporary background and what makes up a majority of the storyline, and of course, how music plays a role in the plot, as it does in the original story. It just fell flat for me when I started reading, and even though I wanted to stop somewhere before halfway through the novel, my curiosity for the end got the best of me, and I'm half glad that I did continue on, because it does get a bit better, but overall, I think that even if I didn't read this one, I wouldn't be missing much.
The writing at the beginning bugged me a little as it was more about what the differences between Aurora and the narrator were. It was a little too simple, and more about telling us readers about who they were rather than getting to the point of the story. However, I must give points for the descriptions later on in the novel. They were absolutely gorgeous. My eyes were glued to the rich, dark, chaotic blend described– I loved the effect that the paranormal genre ended up having on what was mainly a contemporary.

The characters though, I didn't like. Our unnamed narrator, while I admired her ferocity and headstrong personality (making her the stronger of both characters), I thought she was a little too paranoid for my taste. After meeting Jack, every thought she had about him was whether he was cheating on her with Aurora. Sure, I get that Aurora is the more beautiful of the two, but does she need to question him every single time? It just got a little too much, especially since it was really not what I thought her character should have been like. Strong-willed, yet absolutely clingy when it comes to this one guy.
Aurora I hated even more than the main narrator. She seems to throw herself into everything that could end with the worst possible result. You can't really blame her character that much though, as her mother's pretty much absent for the whole book, but seriously I wanted to slap that girl sometimes. I felt so sorry for our narrator because every single time Aurora got into trouble or was stuck somewhere, she had to go get her.

I didn't even think there was much point to Jack's character, other than making our narrator super paranoid. Sure, he plays beautiful music, and there's a pretty big twist when it comes to the myth being portrayed in this book, but other than the love interest, I don't think he had much point being in the story.
Raoul was the only character which I genuinely liked. He was always there to take care of our narrator when she fell too far, and is quirky, funny and is super sweet. And of course, this includes his cat Oscar Wilde. Cass, our narrator's mother, was also a really great character. Despite her past and the freedom that she gives her daughter to basically do whatever the heck she wants, I thought that progressively into the book that she becomes more of a mother, which is when I took a liking to her character.

The ending was a little strange, but even so– I'm still looking forward (half-heartedly) to the next book, Dirty Wings. I thought the last parts of the book were definitely my favorite, so here's to hoping that the next book will be like that and hence I'd actually get to enjoy the characters and the plot more.
Even though I didn't rave about All Our Pretty Songs, I still thought that it was dark, edgy and lead to a thrilling conclusion. Sarah McCarry's writing is gorgeous and promising, so I'll be looking forward to that with the next book.

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1 comment:

  1. Hm. Maybe we'll wait and see what else this author comes up with. Because we love good writing, but it has to be supporting a great story or (even better) great characters, for us.


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