Sunday, July 5, 2015

Review: NeverLove by Angela Brown

Never Love by Angela Brown
June 16th, 2015

This book is also crossposted to Twinja Book Reviews

I thought this book was an interesting first start to this author =)

There were things I both liked and disliked about the book, but I think I overall enjoyed it enough to purchase it's sequel!

Neverlove features Abby and Basil(real name, not making this up!) two star crossed lovers in a game of death and souls. 

Things I liked:

I hate to say I liked that Abby was sexually abused by her father, because I wasnt, but I like that this type of trauma was addressed. Sexual abuse is never easy, especially when it's supposed to be someone protecting you and love you in a normal and healthy way.

It sadly builds her story arc, as a Cleanser, a person who survives their own suicide attempt, and is hoisted to a school that teaches trauma victims how to deal. Did I also mention they guide souls to be judged? As sad as her story is, there's a lot of interesting backstory, secrets and lore to this society, that Im curious to whether I'll get to learn more in book 2.

I loved Basil too. Basil was a sexy nice guy(just so you know, they don't finish last!) who just happened to sell his soul to the devil. 

His story arc really starts after he dies. He's forced to become a Harvestor, or person who collects souls for the devil, the opposite of a Cleanser.

Oh the tangled webs we weave!

It's interesting that Basil is a male virgin, because you don't see too many in books. Most men depicted in books are basically walking STDs. It sucked that he was a virgin because he wasn't good with girls, because he was good looking and worked hard at school, so it seemed like a common trope to go for an Asian teenager.

I loved how Abby and Basil's place to meet was Starbucks! Say what you want about Starbucks, but they make amazing fraps!

Father Quanon was an interesting character who was either South Asian or mixed with South Asian. He had an interesting and complicated past as well, that I wonder how the choices he makes in the book affect his future in Book 2.

There's also a lot of girl power, something Abby really needed in my opinion, It's nice to see her bond with a girl, and not have to rely on slut shaming or girl hating on other girls.

The way a Cleanser summoned a weapon was rather badass. There's so much to the lore, that I think you should pick up the book yourself to see everything that was great about it!

Things I didn't connect to:

It's not so much that it bothered me that Abby was mixed race and fair skinned, but that she was the many MCs I'd read in a row that didn't deviate from the trope of fair skinned Black women as the only attractive Black women out there. If I were just seeing variety, I wouldn't have even mentioned or brought attention to it. But this is like the 4th out of 7th character I read in a row that had light eyes, fair skin, "Good Hair"(notice how I use this term sarcastically and loosely).

Even though she's not described in great detail, a ton of her detail leaves a lot to imagine.

It'd be nice to see someone be brave enough to change it up, that's all.

I wondered why a joke about selling your soul to a devil was all it took to take someone's soul. That was the only part of the lore I didn't get 100%. Maybe I watch way too much supernatural, but I'd assume even with the devil, you have to actually say "Yes, here's my soul for X" at the very least.

I didn't like that Basil's ethnicity was brought attention to by ignorant comments. For the record, Asian people aren't born martial artists lol, like one of the characters suggests. And I know Basil is mixed race too, but it seemed like between having Blue Eyes and being 6'2", it seemed like the only way he'd be considered attractive is if he looked closer to whiteness.

I know not all Asian men are short, but it really depends on the ethnicity chosen. Average height for Korean men overseas is 5'10". Basil was half Chinese, and again, Im not suggesting all Asian guys are short. But I don't think he'd be any less attractive if he were short.

Some of the action scenes seemed a little rushed for me too =( Nothing ever suggested Basil was good at knife throwing, yet he was good at knife throwing XD

I also wasn't sure how to feel about Abby wanting a sexual relationship so soon after her abuse. I mean, if there's any guy that's going to make you feel safe after abuse, it's definitely Basil. But with how Black sexuality is depicted in the media, I would've been a bit more comfortable if she'd had more than like, 3 weeks to fall in love with a guy.

I also wasn't crazy about a Harvestor character being described as so beautiful but deadly like a billion times. Her deadliness was rarely, if shown at all. I got by the 3rd time she was good looking, but her ability to put fear in me was masked by the many times I was told, instead of shown how deadly she was.

Overall, there were way more things I connected with than didn't. I look forward to the sequel, and if this review sparked your interest, you can purchase it via this link!