By Jennifer Donnelly, audiobook read by Emily Janice Card & Emma Bering
Published 2010 by Random House Audio
WARNING: Spoilers. Probably.
SIGH. I wish you could hear how big that sigh is in real life. I don't want to write this review. Because it's going to be mean (maybe) and I hate being disappointed. I wanted so badly to like this book. I really liked A Northern Light - it was interesting and well-written and captivating. Plus, this was getting lots of attention and good reviews. So I downloaded the audiobook and finally got around to listening to it when driving to and from the ALA conference in New Orleans.
I don't know where to start. This book was a HUGE let-down. First, it was nothing like I expected. I thought it was strictly historical fiction - but it's actually mostly contemporary. Okay, that's fine. Not what I expected but I read both so I can deal. Second, maybe it's because I had just seen Monty Python's Spamalot, but I could never quite get past the "ridiculous French accent" for Alexandrine's part of the story. But these were pretty minor things that I could get over. Here's what I couldn't get over. Andi is maybe one of the most pathetic and stupid characters ever created. Yes, I get it. She is DEPRESSED. Okay. But that doesn't mean she has to attempt suicide every chapter. I could have very easily gotten the point of her depression without being beaten over the head with it. It wasn't very far into the book when I started rolling my eyes at every mention of Andi's OVERWHELMING SADNESS. You are supposed to feel sympathetic for a character like this but I felt annoyed. In addition to her HORRIBLE DEPRESSION, she is so fricking stubborn that I don't understand how anyone puts up with her. Not that she has many friends, but seriously, she can't seem to get over herself. Also, she clearly refuses to see any situation from anyone else's point of view - there were a number of moments when she was complaining about her dad or someone else and it was clearly just because she didn't want to try to understand their side of things. Finally... TIME TRAVEL?? REALLY? This was a completely ridiculous and unnecessary "twist" on the story. Andi could have gotten to the same place of healing just by continuing to explore Alexandrine's story without the absolute crap time travel.
SIGH. I wanted this to be so much better than it was.