Wrap up – Slide Duology by Jill Hathaway

A paranormal teen murder mystery with promise.

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I must say there was a lot of potential in this series, but it didn’t quite explore the themes enough for me to sing its praises. These books felt like a watered-down version of the Wake trilogy by Lisa McMann. ‘Slide’ and ‘Impostor’ failed to explore the mythology behind dream-walking/psychic abilities, instead resorting to a detective murder-mystery with little substance. The stories are a cursory glance at both the genres it purports to be: a mystery and a paranormal tale. If you’ve read any detective novels, or some good paranormal titles you’d see that the Slide duology is indeed the poorer cousin of either.

There is a marked improvement in Jill Hathaway’s writing from the debut to its follow up; however, I had many issues with the construction and delivery of the plot that I risked falling into an unflattering rant during my reviews. It’s not a poorly written series, or a terribly bad collection – it falls into the ‘average’ area. Quick and easy to read.

These books have a great premise, and all the elements to make for an interesting read, but don’t quite get there. I recommend them for younger audiences who enjoy a book with great pacing and a little bit of danger (and a paranormal twist.) But in all honesty, I’d probably recommend the Wake trilogy before this duology. This series felt a bit… vanilla.

The author works as a psychic for the authorities and it easy to see how she has used these books to (maybe) justify her field of work and draw from her experiences, or fantasize of the possibilities of using her gifts… and I’m not trying to put her down personally, it’s just as the books stand on their own, much of the set-up, character development, and mythology was not delivered in a clear concise manner for the reader to get engrossed in the protagonist, Sylvia, and how she uses her gift to hunt down killers.

I still think it’s a brilliant idea for a series of books, it just needs an overhaul for the writing side of things to create more conflict, interest, and depth.

I’ve looked at some of the other novels Hathaway has in her catalogue, and to be frank, none of them are piquing my interest at this point, so I most likely will not be reviewing any of her material again.

Can you recommend any great YA paranormal murder mysteries? I love to hear all about them.

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For individual reviews click on the links below:

Slide’https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2017/01/03/book-review-slide-by-jill-hathaway/

Impsotor’ – https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/book-review-impostor-by-jill-hathaway/

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Book Review – ‘Impostor’ by Jill Hathaway

An okay read.

impostor-book-review-pic-01-by-casey-carlisleGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Mystery

No. of pages: 278

From Goodreads:

What if a killer took control of you?

Vee Bell’s gift (or curse) of “sliding”—slipping into the mind of another person and experiencing life, briefly, through his or her eyes—has been somewhat under control since she unwillingly witnessed the horrific deaths of her classmates six months ago.

But just as things are getting back to normal, Vee has a very bizarre experience: she loses consciousness and finds herself in a deserted area, at the edge of a cliff, with the broken body of the boy who took advantage of her on the rocks below.

As Vee finds herself in stranger and stranger situations with no memory of getting there, she begins to suspect that someone she knows has the ability to slide—and that this “slider” is using Vee to exact revenge on his or her enemies..

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I was hoping that ‘Impostor’ would build on the premise set up in ‘Slide,’ however, it turned out to be another episodic mystery and failed to address a lot of the world building and aftermath from the first novel. Sylvia and her sister Mattie have survived a sociopathic murderer, and I felt this fact had been conveniently dismissed in the structure of the plot. Even though the nightmares showed that both her and Mattie hadn’t gotten through their ordeal scot free, I feel there would be more emotional issues to deal with. It was glossed over too much.

The girl’s father and the school don’t seem to have taken any action for the kids safety or mental wellbeing since the death of the two students in the first novel. Where’s the talks on depression and suicide? Professional counselling? Safety talks or metal detectors? Added security guards, Or even Sylvia’s father keeping an eye on his daughter? The school was conveniently absent from the equation again.

Hasn’t Sylvia learnt her lesson about keeping secrets from the first novel? People died? She nearly died, her sister was nearly murdered – I can’t express my frustration at the idiocy of Sylvia… it’s really making me dislike this book. So annoyed that Sylvia does not seem to have more self-preservation, she saw people killed and still chose to keep secrets in ‘Impostor,’ even when it looked like the same thing was happening all over again.

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Sylvia and her love interest, Rollins, looked all set for a heavy romance having found a connection together in ‘Slide,’ and now it’s been rolled back to how it was at the start of the series – seriously I’m beginning to wonder if Hathaway is smoking crack. In the first few chapters she repeated herself a number of times on the backstory and it felt like this book hadn’t even been edited properly.

I was even alarmed when all of a sudden we get a tidbit that Sylvia’s mother could have been a slider? Where the hell did that come from? Why wasn’t it mentioned in ‘Slide?’ But this meant that we got some mythology explained. So I was happy.

Another aspect to the plot which had me raising an eyebrow was the introduction of Sylvia’s Aunt, which felt like she was only there as a character to muddy the water of suspects. A little too convenient.

I actually liked this more than the first novel. The pacing was better, the mystery was planned out and revealed in a logical fashion. And I certainly did not predict what happened. I love surprises. So while there was so much wrong with this contextually, it was still entertaining and kept me guessing. Though I don’t think I would recommend this duology to my friends. There are far more gripping paranormal mysteries out there than this one.

Overall feeling: grrrr

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Slide’ by Jill Hathaway

Interesting.

Slide Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Mystery

No. of pages: 250

From Goodreads:

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth–her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting distant lately, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

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I really enjoyed this book, but there was something about it that felt juvenile and incomplete. This is a short novel, but I really had to force myself to read it at times… and others, I couldn’t put it down. The pacing is all over the place.

I can’t help but compare it to the ‘Wake’ trilogy by Lisa McMann. The same concept, similar characters (but less profanity.) Where the Wake trilogy was gritty, dark with flawed characters, ‘Slide’ was light, easily read, and skimmed around the edges of the difficult. It could have been so much more gripping, but the author did not take us down these dark alleys, favouring an after-school-special feel.

Sylvia “Vee” was a likeable character for our protagonist, her inner musings relate to the thoughts all of us have through the torturous teen years. I’m not sure if she was meant to come off as grungy or emo with chipped black fingernails and pink hair, but none of that came through in the narrative. She was more Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne.

It still astounds me that she did not even attempt to speak to an adult, whether it be her father or a police officer when faced with the seriousness of a murder of someone close to her. And with the events that happened after that, it’s a wonder she was even able to function. Especially since she was eating caffeine pills like candy – do you have any idea what those things do to your body and brain chemistry with long-term use? It lost the magic and realism from that point.

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While I loved the mystery of this storyline, and the pacing finally being sorted out in the second half of the novel – there was too much wrong with it contextually. Facts that should have been researched. Maybe this should have been set in an alternate universe to give a better, more impactful setting for the novel to take place.

I really loved Sylvia’s younger sister Mattie – how she behaved and coped with the shock of her friend’s death. That was painted so realistically that I just about applauded. Two thumbs up.

Zane as the leather jacket clad best friend (and outsider) was a little cliché. At least he wasn’t brooding or controlling or overly jealous. He was right on the cusp of me rolling my eyes. On the whole, I like him, but there was no stand out attraction to his character. I felt there could have been a bigger altercation between him and Sylvia so we could see what he was made of.

Sylvia’s Dad – NOW let me do an eyeroll! He annoyed me from start to finish. That’s all I’m going to say, not only to avoid spoilers, but to stop me from devolving into a massive and unflattering rant…

One thing that really annoyed me is that every time Sylvia did her thing, sliding into someone’s head, it always seemed to be at the exact right moment for her to grab a clue to the mystery she was trying to work out. It is a kind of surveillance right? What happened to those times where the subject was doing nothing of consequence? It felt too convenient for me. Detective work is a lot of long hours researching and waiting for something to turn up. Sylvia had all of the clues handed to her. *face palm*

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I was waiting to find out about the mythology of Sylvia’s ability, or even her theories as to how she came to have this ability, but there was nada. I do like how she finally started to embrace it and begin to get a modicum of control. That was pretty cool.

For me to give it a higher rating it would need a few tweaks, a dash of tension and angst and about a hundred pages longer to explore the themes and mythology. Maybe it gets touched on in the second novel ‘Impostor,’ but guessing from the title, it may just be another light mystery.

I’m on the fence about whether I’d recommend this, with so many other engaging books out there, it’s not a big miss. But I’ll reserve judgement until I read the second instalment to see if it can sway my opinion either way.

Overall feeling: Of two minds

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.