May 19, 2012

Review: Infinite Days

By: Rebecca Maizel
Published: August 2010 by St. Martin's
Format: Paperback, 308 pages
First Reviewed: August 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
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"Throughout all my histories, I found no one I loved more than one."

Those were some of Rhode's last words to me. The last time he would pronounce his love. The last time I would see his face.
It was the first time in 592 years I could take a breath. Lay in the sun. Taste.
Rhode sacrificed himself so I, Lenah Beaudonte, could be human again. So I could stop the blood lust.
I never expected to fall in love with someone else that wasn't Rhode.
But Justin was...daring. Exciting. More beautiful than I could dream.
I never expected to be sixteen again...then again, I never expected my past to come back and haunt me...

Rating: 2/5

Excuse me, St. Martin's Press, but I'm thoroughly convinced your editing team needs an upgrade. Most of the books I've read from this publishing company have had great, great premises, but the writing ruins it. And you know, I'm pretty sure it's more of the editing than the actual writing. Either way, both the writing and the characters ruined this for me. In the beginning, I was actually enjoying it, but that went downhill fast.

I'm confused on what I really want to say about the writing, because, like I said, I think the lack of editing was what really screwed Maizel over.

There were too many times I had to "edit" this while I read. Every page and nearly every paragraph had stuff that needed to be scrapped. For one, the amount of telling was endless. Maizel constantly stopped the story to inform us that when Lenah had been a vampire...this was like this, this was like that. Instead of just showing it. Which was very possible, considering there were several flashback scenes. I didn't want to be told about the differences between human Lenah and vampire Lenah. I wanted to be shown.

Also, there were things Maizel would repeat. For instance, she'd say something, then the next line repeats the exact same thing with different wording. Or she'd repeat words several times in a paragraph. That annoyed the heck out of me.

I can go on and on about things that drove me nuts with the writing, but I'll just make it quick: It needed to be tightened up completely, the dialogue was unrealistic at times, and Maizel didn't give Lenah the voice of a centuries old, British girl. She seemed 100% 21st century in the voice respect. However, I will say this: Maizel had some great scenes and lines here and there, which is what leads to me believe that the editing was the main problem here. For instance--if anyone's read--the scene with Rhode and Lenah toward the last know? I thought that was brilliant use of wording and tones.

There's usually a problem with characters like Lenah, who aren't supposed to be like everyone else and who have so many differences that the author has trouble displaying all of them in a realistic and successful way.

This isn't really a spoiler, but Lenah has been a vampire for almost 600 years and she's now human again for the first time since the fourteenth century. Maizel did a good job sometimes of portraying her curiosity and extreme differences to those around her, but she didn't pull it all the way off. Lenah fell into the groove of things so easily and her voice was pretty much the same as everyone else. Not to mention she was a genius, which I could understand to a degree, but Maizel never showed her to be...dumb, as anyone who just randomly comes into a new time after a century of sleeping would be. Maizel did show the differences between Vampire Lenah and Human Lenah pretty well, except when she was telling too much of it...anyway, but human Lenah just wasn't developed enough for me.

As for the love interests, eh. For one, there are too many of them. I had a flashback to House of Night, which is published by the same company. Coincidence? I think not. Lenah had two vampire lovers, and one and a half human lovers. Come on, now. I will say it worked okay (plot review to come in just a second), but still. I should have wanted to fall in love with all of them. The only one I cared for was the one we hardly got to know. Justin was too unrealistic for me. Made out to be so god-like and golden, but he just didn't do anything for me. And Tony was all right. The "half love interest," who would have been better off not having feelings for Lenah at all. Then I would have liked him a lot more.

And the minor-minor characters? Just kind of there. Some of them stereotypical, others just blah. I felt like I wanted much more from the coven, but it just wasn't there. Overall, I liked a few characters, but I didn't love any of them.

Am I allowed to go running stark mad with a pillow shooter through St. Martin's offices? Then find Maizel and throw a few pillows at her too? Because that's what I want to do.

This premise was pretty awesome, not gonna lie. We've had a billion vampire books, but I've never read or heard of one where the character turned human. It was a very, very interesting concept, and if it would have been pulled off well, then this would have made for a fantastic read.

Like I said, what ruined it for me were the writing and characters, but the plot in general was pretty good. My problems lie with the pacing mostly. I felt we spent too much time watching her fall in love with Justin and then have Tony off to the side in some awkward love-triangle. I think if more would have been spent on her just living it up, no triangle, just friends and a love interest, and then we got the excitement and intensity when the meat of the book picked up, this would have been better.

Once the vampires came back into the picture, I expected some intense action and whatnot, but I didn't get that. Instead, when they come, Lenah's out as quickly as she got back in there. And then when the climax hit, Maizel seemed to just go with the "let me kill someone and that'll be a shock and intense ending." That stuff never works unless the heart's going nuts. Overall, I just think the pacing messed this up because it's an otherwise great idea and premise.

Other: I hate when book covers are misleading. Almost like the publishers know it ain't as good as some other books, so they need an amazing cover. That sounds mean, but it's how I feel. This cover's all shiny and pretty in real life. Anyway, two more nitpicks: What in the world was with everyone having blond hair and blue eyes? It seemed as though every character besides 2-3 had one of those features or both. Jeez. And once Maizel started having Lenah refer to her "extrasensory perception" in narration as "ESP," I knew this was going to be a bumpy ride. ESP? Really? Come on, Maizel, the girl was asleep for a century! She would not be usin' ESP...

Final Thoughts: I almost rated this one star because it just let me down that much. But I have to give props when they're due, and Maizel earns her props for the overall premise. It was different and I like different. Some scenes were even pulled off very well, and I loved the fact that she made vampires ruthless and evil and literally heartless and soulless. The writing and characters just ruined it for me. It could have been amazing, but I think St. Martin's is immune to greatness. Just my opinion.

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