Author: Ciye Cho
Rating: 3 out of 5 hoots
Hey, y’all! I haven’t gotten around to posting because junior year is a killjoy. Homework is the bane of my existence. Sigh.
Anyways! I recently received from the wonderful Ciye Cho a free copy of his newest book Rory! Cho is also the author of Florence, Luminaire, and a whole bunch of other goodies. Check them out if you have time!
And onto the book review! I’ll be honest. The book had its awesome parts and it’s not-so-awesome parts. There were times where I wanted to hug my kindle until it exploded and times where I actually just wanted my kindle to explode.
Rory is a young adult fantasy which throws our protagonist from her disjointed life in the real world to a different realm altogether. An ordinary girl with a love for cake designing, one day, Rory is suddenly abducted by a gargoyle and spirited away to Palladino, a city of ghosts. Here, a Purgatory of sorts, spirits who are not ready to advance to the afterlife create their own semblance of everyday life.
Rory is one of many girls being trained to be “consorts” to the ghost lords in the city…companions to provide memories and human comfort. Palladino, however, hides many secrets, and Rory is soon swept up in its mystique. Who can she trust? Who should she fear? Is there a way out?
The idea of this all intrigued me. A ghost city? Ghost lords? A school to train consorts? Count me in! There is no doubt that this concept is an original one.
I did, however, have a few qualms about the story.
I felt like the book was in terrible need of an editor. Though the writing could be lovely at times, it was drowned out by the technical errors and awkward sentence structures. Take this sentence, for example: “I can’t remember the last time she said that, and this saddens me. I head down the lane, and the sky is now a bright orange. This makes me pause.”
The sentences fall flat and lifeless, and the repetition and choppiness of it kills any of the beautiful imagery it could have evoked. With some editing, however, this book would have been considerably improved. It just needs some polishing, that’s all.
The plot for me, too, was a bit mediocre. I felt like the whole story was only half-developed. By the time Rory is out of prep school, the books is already almost halfway done. In fact, much of the book, I felt, was taken up by events pointless to the plot. Things picked up towards the end, but for me, the reader, I was left feeling disappointed. I mean, I liked the book. It was addictive to read and certainly a page-turner, but at times, it felt like large parts of itcould have been condensed. Other, more important parts of the book, on the other hand, could have been expanded. It’s a bummer when you’re reading a book that you enjoy, and it’s almost done with hardly any plot carried through!
The place in which it ended, too, was a bit awkward. When I finished the story, I felt like it wasn’t complete. There are going to be other books in the series, certainly, but I feel like any book that’s in a series should be able to stand on its own. This book, unfortunately, does not.
From all the negative things I’ve been griping about, it probably sounds like I had a horrendous, seizure-inducing time reading this, but that’s completely untrue! Like I said earlier, writing errors aside, this book is gripping.
The setting is mystical and intriguing (Ghost castles? Heeeelll yeah.), and the characters are pretty well-developed overall. Rory was a bit too perfect at times, but she was pretty likeable in general. (Now that I think about it, how did she even win out agains the other girls in the first place? She awed everyone and became the object of their envy despite being “not pretty” and completely disadvantaged…She definitely has an invincibility factor about her. But anyways!) Unlike so many other YA heroines out there, Rory actually felt real. She was hardworking, tough, and fun-loving, and her name earns the book an extra 100 points. I freaking love her name.
And Martin. Ah, Martin our ghost-lord-love-interest. He’s also different from so many stereotypical YA characters, and I love that. He’s not the broody-dark-I-love-you-but-I-can’t-have-you type of guy many authors seem to throw into their stories as a quota. He’s quirky, smart, and a bit socially awkward, and the kissing scene is so cute and awkward that I might have died a little inside when I read it.
Cookie, Martin’s talking ghost cat, is also a favorite. He reminds me of some old cartoon cat, though it’s hard to imagine that a cat would say such human things even if it could talk, but…ah, whatever. He’s adorable. Maybe being a ghost has made him more human…? Idk.
Overall, I give this story three hoots. While it is wonderfully unique with interesting new concepts and archetype-breaking characters, it is also riddled with editing errors and a poor plot structure. This could easily be fixed, however, with the help of a good editor.
If you’re interested in paranormal settings, finishing schools, cute ghost lords, talking cats, and likeable female protagonists with totally cray-cray cake-decorating abilities…this is the book for you!
Go check it out if you’re interested. And thank you once more to Mr. Ciye Cho for the free copy and for his limitless patience as I tried to upload this book review!
As for me, I’m going to return to my daily dose of procrastination. Thanks for tuning in, guys! (Even though this isn’t a radio…Or…is it? DUM DUM DUM.)