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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James (Blog Tour)

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour5 Comments

Publisher: Bantam Books
Source: Traveling ARC Tours
Publication Date: 13 July 2010
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 0553808052
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
Rebecca James – Official Site
Rebecca James – Blog
Rebecca James – Twitter

Place(s) Traveled to: New South Wales, Australia (??)

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

First Line: I didn’t go to Alice’s funeral.

Where to start…

There were just so many things about Beautiful Malice that did not work for me. First lets start with the setting. For the most part the setting is unclear, ambiguous but then the main characters all go for this weekend holiday in a town located in New South Wales, Australia. I was like…yes…finally a clear setting and one that makes the language of the book make sense. Australians just have a slightly different way of speaking than Americans – the cadences of words are just different. But then when the gang meets up with Ben – the author makes a point to say that he was Australian and that one reason why Alice dated him was for his accent. That just baffled me as by this point I thought they were all Australian. Then a few pages later Ben is telling a story and mentions when he first came to the state….and I just went huh? It didn’t make sense since the only place that was ever mentioned was a place location in Australia – and living stateside you don’t exactly make a weekend trip to Australia….especially when you’re trying to keep things on the cheap.

Note: in talking with another blogger who read the Australian version of the book the setting was very clearly stated as Sydney, Australia…so it seems that for whatever reason the American publisher decided to try and remove those references.

But moving on…lets talk about sequence and the flow of time. This book has three distinct time periods in them and there is no real rhyme or reason to the authors jumping from one to another. The changes just became this jumbled mess for me which would knock me out of the story. I believe it was done as a way to try to heighten the suspense and make the thrills more thrilling as random bits and pieces of the past, present and future were revealed. But my suspense wasn’t heightened the odd changes just annoyed me more than anything else. Especially during those times with the perspective of the book would change. For the bulk of the book the story was told in first person but every so often the I’s would change to you’s and it never really worked for me.
Then there is the plot.
The very first line tells you exactly what happens to Alice there is no suspense there. No shock. The story is just so flat and bland and I figured out what all the big reveals where before they were made official. The characters also all came across as flat and one dimensional. Alice was narcissistic and crazy and she appeared so form the start…she then just spirals out of control and it just doesn’t ring true. Katherine is a girl trying to escape her past by forgetting it and when things get hard or rough she just turns her back on the darkness and tries to pretend it doesn’t exist. This is not healthy behavior and not something that you want to do when the person you are trying to forget is crazy.
This book didn’t work for me on so many levels and its not one that I can recommend. Beautiful Malice is also a book that is often billed as Young Adult but I don’t get the YA vibe from it when I read it. The phrasing and the way the characters speak (in their bad dialogue scenes) is way more adult than teen. What about you…have you read Beautiful Malice? What did you think of it? Let me know if the comments below.

5 Responses to “Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James (Blog Tour)”

  1. Irish

    @ParaJunkee and @bermudaonion – some people really loved it but it just wasn’t for me.

    Carolina – glad I’m not alone! People were raving on Twitter about this one recently but I just don’t see it. I don’t know – we can’t like them all right?

  2. Dominique

    I really enjoyed this one as a trashy, light read, but I think one of the reasons why was because I have a strong connection with all the settings.
    I can see how the weird thing they seem to have done with the settings in this edition would totally put the book a bit off kilter too.
    But it wasn’t overly special and I can see how it wouldn’t be for everyone. 🙂