May 19, 2012

Review: The Splendor Falls

By: Rosemary Clement-Moore
Published: September 2009 by Delacorte
Format: Hardback, 513 pages
First Reviewed: March 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
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Can love last beyond the grave?

Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can’t dance. A broken leg ended her career, but Sylvie’s pain runs deeper. What broke her heart was her father’s death, and what’s breaking her spirit is her mother’s remarriage—a union that’s only driven an even deeper wedge into their already tenuous relationship.
Uprooting her from her Manhattan apartment and shipping her to Alabama is her mother’s solution for Sylvie’s unhappiness. Her father’s cousin is restoring a family home in a town rich with her family’s history. And that’s where things start to get shady. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys that she can’t stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, seems to be perfect in every way. But Rhys—a handsome, mysterious foreign guest of her cousin’s—has a hold on her that she doesn’t quite understand.
Then she starts seeing things. Sylvie’s lost nearly everything—is she starting to lose her mind as well?

Rating: 2.5/5

I never had any strong expectations about this book. It was an impulse buy when I stopped at the bookstore a while back. I'd liked the way it sounded, as it seemed right up my alley, but it fell a bit flat for me.

The setting was the best thing about this book! No lie! Okay, well, that may just be because I'm biased. Dude, the South, in a big, haunted plantation home...? If that's not right up my alley, I don't know what is!

The characters were so-so. They weren't bad, but I didn't really care for them completely. I never captured Sylvie's voice. At times she felt like a disciplined professional ballerina, but at others, she felt like a bratty (not completely the word I'm looking for...) teen. As for the male counterparts, one was pretty good. Mainly, I'm biased again because he had an awesome accent. But, other than that, he, as well as the other guy, wasn't anything special. The typical guys you see in YA. The other characters were just "okay." Nothing bad, nothing great. Just okay.

I don't really know exactly how I feel about the writing. There was just something about it that I couldn't connect with. It didn't flow well enough for me, meaning it was more on the choppy side. There were good parts, don't get me wrong, which is why I can't really decide on it. I wish she would have tapped into the dialogue more, and utilized the Southern dialect. She would say someone spoke with a drawl, but I think she could have gotten more raw with it. Also, I kind of felt like she expanded on things that didn't need to be so described, but then didn't expand on things that I felt should have been much more important to the story, as though her priorities weren't as in line as they should have been. Also, there were nitpicks on things that technically aren't wrong, but still drive me crazy. Like "blah, blah and blah" vs. "blah, blah, and blah." I can't stand not seeing the comma before the and. Grr! Overall, it was okay. Good stuff, not so good stuff. Just okay.

This had so much potential! Seriously, a ghost story was what I was expecting and what I thought I was going to get until I got to the last fourth of the book. Clement-Moore switched gears way fast and in a completely different way than the book was going. Which...that can work sometimes, but I don't think it did in this book. I think it would have been much stronger if Clement-Moore didn't try and commercialize the whole "girl stuck between two boys, who are pretty much at a magic good/bad war" thing. I mean, come on. The direction it was going (a little spoiler) was a good, semi-old-fasioned haunted town/house. It would have really been much, much better, I think.

This book wasn't a complete let down. I enjoyed it, but I just didn't love it. I wish it would have focused on one thing rather than rushing to change things. Like, the tagline of this seems so irrelevant to the first 60% of the book, and I hate when things are like that. But it's a pretty decent read, and some of you may like it a bit more than me, especially if you're unbiased (as I am not, considering...deep South, ghosts...come on...). Maybe read a few chapters before buying.

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