Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Review: The Candidates by Inara Scott

Book Series: Delcroix Academy, Book #1
Author: Inara Scott
Genres: YA, Paranormal, Magic Boarding School
Format: eBook

Book Club(s): Never Too Old for Y.A. or N.A. Books
Reading Challenge(s): Birthstone Color Parade & Series Challenge

My Ranking:

Dancia Lewis has a secret problem: whenever she sees someone threaten a person she cares about, it's a disaster.""Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt. So Dancia does all she can to avoid getting close to anyone, hoping to suppress her powers and stay under the radar. But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy offer her a scholarship, she accepts. After all, it's a school for diplomats' kids and prodigies, not B students with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies. Or is it?

This captivating debut, the first in a series, puts a paranormal twist on private school.

This is an interesting book to review, because I really don’t know how I feel about it. After finishing this book, my prevailing thought was, “it was over before it began.” Because the actual plot didn’t get going until about 75% through. My biggest questions were the main ones: why were these kids chosen for the school. What is Delaquiox really? I rolled my eyes as I reached Chapter 14 and I still hadn't gotten any kind of an answer. But that's not to say I wasn't enjoying the read. I love the snarkiness of writing (or Dancia's personality) and the mysterious powers that Dancia possesses were intriguing.

My main issue with the story is was that the level of detail is lacking. I didn't get a good enough sense of the school - what the classrooms were like, what the atmosphere was like, and how Dancia fit in. For this to be more of a successful mystery, for me, detail is necessary and was missed.

What I liked most about the story, however, was Dancia. She was a good lead. A bit socially awkward, but hey at least it’ was for an actual reason. I did like that we got to see her change as she interacted with the other students. But even so, I felt a bit short changed. I didn’t feel like I had enough to connect with everyone else in the story. There was not enough altercation with her bitchy roommate, Christine; her friendships with Esther & Hennie were barely visited; and her crush, Cam, was just a blip. Everything felt to superficial in the “on the surface” sense. There was a lot about the boy who got under her skin, Jack, which I enjoyed. But, overall I felt like the writing was more “tell and less “show”.

Why I kept reading the book and what I was most intrigued by was the actual source of her powers. The fact that the reasoning leaned more toward being science-based and less paranormal has me very curious. But I have to say that I was really bummed about the lack of "magic" at the school. I get that the school is supposed to be a front for the gifted Level Three and Fours, but come one. No one really did anything “special” inside the school. There were plenty of people in opposition of Dancia who could have done something, but nothing happened. And what really irked me - and is a spoiler - is when Dancia got her hands one two very special somethings and she didn’t even share what she learned. I threw my hands up in the air like, come on, give us the goods. But alas, she did not.

 The last thing I’m going to comment on is her choice of boys - Cam or Jack. Why Cam ... why? Cam is just so ... obvious. A cute and charming people pleaser. That was all he brought to the table…. boring! Jack is the better choice. I like the edge of Jack. The trust, the emotion, and his the opening up to only her. It seems like their relationship could be more special that way. Maybe that's something Dancia will realize later on.

I still have a lot of questions, which is why I’m going to give it another go and continue with the series. I just hope this one has more meat. I need more!

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