I heard two different reviews about this series. A vlogger said it sucked and I generally respect her reviews. My best friend said this was his favorite series. I'm kind of paranoid when it comes to YA paranormal romance these days since I find it is full of bland or annoying female protagonists who only care about their jackass love interest. But I figured that I had no right to complain about this book when I hadn't read it myself and was basing my opinion on someone else.'My school library only had Shadowland. Luckily I read spoilers, so I pretty much understood what was going on. It was time for me to see whether the book would be as awful as the vlogger said or wonderful as my friend said. I side with the vlogger. This book sucks. I wish I could make a funny simile stating how much this book sucks, but I can't. It plain sucks. There are two things that really irk me about this book. But first I wanted to address a little pet peeve. I hate the grammar in this book. It seems fragmented and out of place. Now to my main grievances.
1. The plot. Where the fuck is it? The summary says that a curse has fallen on Damen and now he and Ever must race to find the antidote. In the second book a rogue Immortal called Roman poisoned Damen and tricked Ever into mixing her blood into it. She and Damen can't touch now. If they do, Damen will be sent to the Shadowland, which I suppose is the Immortal version of hell. For at least 200 pages the plot is nothing but Ever trying to find a cure for Damen. I'm sorry, but what cure are you talking about?Damen's not dying or sick; he just can't touch you. That doesn't really warrant a need for a cure for me. The world will not come to an end if your boyfriend cannot touch you. But of course Ever needs Damen's touch to live, so she does stupid shit after stupid shit so she and Damen can fuck. I spent two hours reading about a girl whining because she and her boyfriend can't have sex. There were other parts of the story as well. For instance, there's a new guy named Jude who is Ever's reincarnated lover and a last minute addition to a triangle. Of course we all know Ever will not end up with Jude because these YA writers like to make the choice completely obvious and derail the healthy love interest. Since Jude is a nice, friendly, non-angsty boy, Ever obviously won't end up with him. But Damen doesn't understand that nice guys get shit, so he leaves Ever with Jude so they can sort out their long-lost business together. Of course Ever is lost without Damen and shows absolutely no interest in life, because Damen was her only reason for living. But wait! Suddenly she's getting feelings for Jude. Yeah, 3/4 into the book is not the best time for Ever to magically develop feelings for Jude. But we all know these YA heroines- they're useless without a love interest, and when one leaves, they latch onto the next hot guy. There's some other stuff as well, mostly about Ever trying to stop her aunt Sabine from dating her teacher, and Damen trying to atone for past selfishness. But the main gist is Ever trying to trick Roman into giving her the antidote and continually being a selfish dumbass.
2. My second grievance. The characters. I'm a big character reader. My writing teacher said that we should care about the characters, and I don't care about Ever. No, I do care about Ever. I despise her. Right now I'm fantasizing about magically teleporting into the book, beating her with a bat, scratching her eyes out, and then jumping on her mangled body. I'm aware it won't work because she can do some deus machina healing bullshit, but I need this stress relief. Where do I begin with Ever Bloom? She's just so unlikeable I don't know where to begin. Let's see if I can manage to write down just why she sucks. She's a brat. All she cares about is hooking up with Damen. When her aunt tells her she needs to get a job, Ever whines about it because she won't have time to find the antidote for Damen so they can fuck. Priorities, people. Ever manages to avoid the horror of working and having a life outside of Damen by going to a metaphysical bookstore where she meets the third point of the love triangle. She also doesn't want her aunt to date her teacher because it will be inconvenient for her. Ever told the teacher, Munoz, about her powers, and now she's afraid that her Sabine will find out. Of course there's no possibility that Sabine will be understanding because parents/ guardian figures never understand the protagonist. They should be dropped the second the smoldering love interest comes into play.
Ever is shallow and selfish. Damen went to the Shadowlands for a brief period of time, I think. Now he's shaken up about what happened and determined to make things right. He realizes he was a selfish bastard and I applaud him for it. Ever, on the other hand, whines because Damen isn't dressing nicely anymore or driving the hot BMW. She insists that she'd love Damen no matter what, but she admits that she was initially attracted to him because he was rich. Shallow bitch. She spends a good bit of time complaining because Damen isn't manifesting material things anymore and dressing nicely. Boo fucking hoo. If your boyfriend trying to be more responsible is that much of a problem, he should dump your ass. Ever also displays her selfishness in this book. Two twins, Romy and Rayne, are trapped in the mortal world thanks to Ever's mistake with Roman. They have no idea how to survive, since they are from the time of the Salem Witch trials. Does Ever care that they are stranded because of her? I think there's a brief period of remorse, but it's overshadowed by her more urgent needs. Damen thinks that they owe it to the twins to help them, since they helped him find Ever, but Ever is upset because Rayne(one of the only characters I liked) calls her out on her bullshit. Of course since she dislikes Ever no one will listen to her, even if she's right. Ever tries to send the twins back to Summerland so she doesn't have to handle the inconvenience of a thirteen-year old disliking her and having more common sense than she does.
Ever is an idiot. She's so consumed with trying to have sex with Damen that she goes against everyone's sensible advice. Damen tells her that Roman is a liar and can't be trusted. So what does Ever do? Like any good incompetent heroine, she goes right to Roman and gets into trouble. How many times does this happen? I dunno, I lost count. My favorite was the time she went to Roman and he blackmailed her saying he'd tell Damen. But her crowning moment of stupidity has to be when she casts a spell using the Book of Shadows to get Roman to give her the antidote. Never mind that Jude and Damen warn her that people get over their head when they use magic (or is it spelled magick in this book?) and that she should not try to impose her will on people because things are supposed to be a certain way. Those people didn't know what they were doing. Ever has a great need- she has to see her boyfriend! Surely that trumps all needs. So she casts a spell to make Roman give her the antidote. Romy and Rayne, who are far more experienced, tell Ever that she's made a huge mistake. But of course Ever knows better than the twins and ignores them. Turns out she fucked up royally, but the only two characters who will call her out on this will be Roman and Rayne. Rayne will be ignored because she doesn't like Ever(smart girl) and Roman will be ignored because he is a villain. Then Ever makes another stupid mistake by changing her whiny, over dramatic, bitchy best friend Haven into an Immortal.The book ends with Ever whining about how she fucked up and Damen forgiving her. Herein lies my main problem. No one can call Ever out on her shit and have her listen. Damen just hugs her and says she had the best intentions, it wasn't her fault, and that it will be okay. No! Damen needs to stop coddling Ever and tell her she's fucked up. How is she supposed to grow as a character if the only person she will listen to does not call her on her mistakes? I don't care if she had the best intentions(personally I found them to be selfish) she's still wrong. She's fucked up so many times, yet no one calls her on it. Please, for the love of God, have someone call her on her mistakes! Oh, who am I kidding? Ever will never have anyone call her on her bullshit and she'll never listen if they do. She'll continue fucking up and everyone will magically forgive her. It's wonderful being the main character of a shitty YA novel.
There was a slight saving grace in this book- Rayne and Roman. I know that I'm supposed to oppose them because they're mean to poor, delicate, useless Ever, but I liked them. Rayne was the only one to call Ever out on her shit and through her I could say the things I wanted to Ever. It's too bad no one listens to her. Roman was just a fun character. He didn't really seem villainous, up until he poisoned Haven. It was fun watching him taunt and tease Ever, especially since she could never get the upper hand. Their dialogue reminded me of dialogue better written couples have had when they are still in the stage of disliking each other. Roman and Rayne rock, but they weren't enough to save this book. I know no one will listen to Rayne, and Roman is probably going to die.
What bothers me most about this book is the plot and characters. I can deal with an unoriginal plot if there are vivid characters, and I can deal with unlikeable characters if there's an interesting plot. Sometimes I will be fortunate enough to get both, but I can settle with one. I got neither an interesting plot or interesting characters in this book. The plot is just stupid.In fact, I don't think there was a plot- just Alyson Noel jumping around a few ideas. The most consistent thing was Ever trying to find a cure for Damen, which doesn't count as a plot.I don't care if she and her boyfriend can't touch. If they're supposed to have this brilliant, all-consuming, superior, wonderful love, their relationship should be able to survive without physical touch. I hesitate to include the love triangle because it was randomly introduced 218 pages in, and it's obvious that Ever will choose Damen. I guess Ever's whining might count as a plot point as well, I'm not sure. I hated the characters. I don't know if I've scratched the surface with how much I HATE Ever. My words seem inadequate. She's selfish, lazy, shallow, stupid, stupid, a moron, an idiot, lobotomized, and STUPID! If she wasn't a character in a best-selling series, her ass would have been dead, dead, dead, and DEAD! Sadly there is no justice in the world. This book caused me pain. I mean it. I'm not exaggerating for comedy purposes. I had to restrain myself from beating myself over the head with this piece of shit book. I felt like crying when I saw I had a 110 pages left. I had to stop to bang my head when I read that Damen was keeping tabs on Ever since she was ten. I tried to bang my head against the wall, but my chair was too low. I had to settle for pinching myself instead. Eventually I couldn't bring myself to read any further and had to take a break. I went on Goodreads and started clicking the one star a bunch of times. It eased my stress slightly. Why didn't I stop? Because I'm a masochist and I had to see just how bad this was. What bothers me is that Ever has no personality outside of being madly in lust with Damen. I'm not sure if Alyson Noel meant for Ever to be such a shallow, stupid bitch, so I'm not sure if I should count those as her personality traits. She's like most of these YA heroines these days- her boyfriend defines her. Is it so much to ask for a heroine to have a personality that isn't whiny and doesn't focus on her love interest? Is it? But no. This makes money. I understand that people need money, but must our standards be lowered? Why can't we have strong female protagonists who like their love interests for their personalities? Why can't the love interests have personalities and be actual characters?
According to TV Tropes, this series is a follow of the leader of Twilight. It should have ended with Twilight, but there was no strength left in the heart of publishers.