Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey

This is the most recent offering from Alyxandra Harvey, published in 2012.  While Harvey appears to be going back to some of the mechanics that made her initial Drake chronicles book (Hearts at Stake) a hit; duel viewpoints from two best friend heroines, two romances, similar setting; she has moved onto a different mythology.  Eloise Hart learns that the fae world is real only after she is kidnapped by the Fae King Strahan.  Turns out her Aunt Antonia is mixed up in Fae politics and Eloise has just been made into a pawn.  She is released once her Aunt takes her place and she immediately recruits all her friends and the mysterious and hunky Fae stranger Lucas to help her rescue her Aunt.

It makes me sad but I think Harvey might be struggling with her writers mojo.  This book was kind of a hot mess, and while I wouldn't say any of her books are best known for their tight plots, this one just sort of jumps from one thing to the next with little connective story or flow.  It's sloppy and so much doesn't make sense.  Why does Strahan target Eloise and not Antonia's twin sister with whom she is very close? I was under the impression that there was something special about Eloise but there isn't.  The whole why of the crown and the ribbon and what must be done when and why is just never really clear.  And there are two instances of flagrant, unapologetic insta-love that make my head hurt.  At least one is kind of hot (Jo and her mystery man) but Eloise and Lucas is just boring and ridiculous - they don't ever appear to even have a conversation and their is little to no chemistry because Harvey can't decide whether Lucas is an uber-formal Fae aristocrat who knows nothing about modern culture or just a regular 19 year old who happens to be able to turn into a hawk. 

The characters are also kind of a mess.  Once again, as seen with Solange and Lucy, Violet and Elizabeth, we have a rather boring main heroine (Eloise) and a more interesting spunky best friend (Jo).  Unfortunately, both characters get painted with a rather clumsy brush with "interesting quirks" slapped onto them instead of really being apart of their persona.  Eloise dresses all retro funky, wears bright red lipstick, and is quiet but actually deep down is supposed to have violent, angry tendencies.  Jo likes boys and is a total flirt and also likes to use British slang in her speech.  Um, that's great but it doesn't substitute for actually giving the characters some depth.

Overall everything about the book felt rushed and thin.  It wasn't a compulsive read like the Drake Chronicles but it did keep me interested enough to read to the conclusion.  2 out of 5 stars, i.e. it was okay.

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