Sunday, March 23, 2014

Daughter of Mythos (Melissa Drake)

Daughter of Mythos
(The Daughter of Mythos series, Book 1)
Melissa Drake
Amazon Digital Services
Fiction, YA Fantasy
**+ (Bad/Okay)

DESCRIPTION: Standing among the wreckage of her foster mother's living room, fifteen-year-old Nora knew what was coming: yet another family, the eighth in three years, would give her up as a lost cause. Nobody believes that the damage is caused by some invisible force, that she never lays a finger on the shattered china or smashed furniture, that she can only watch helplessly as the destruction reigns. She wishes she knew why it kept happening - and how to stop it.
In her next foster home, she starts to get her answers... and they scare her. At her new school, Nora sees things nobody else sees. A strange little blue man pops up in her bedroom. And her new foster parents know far more than they should. Suddenly, Nora's life is turned upside down as she learns about Earth's magical mirror world, Mythos, a realm of demons, imps, fairies, and wizards. Legend tells of a Daughter of Mythos, who will save this world (and all others) from the Archdemon mage Sinistrel... and everyone seems to think that that heroine is Nora.

REVIEW: Why are there so many Fluffy Bunny books aimed at teenagers? The magical world of Mythos is full of happy, friendly people and downright improbable magic that solves problems big and small. Brightly-colored potions do everything from brushing teeth to saving lives. "Omniberries" taste like whatever you want, and provide complete nutrition for days at a time (except when they don't.) Clothes fit, mend, and clean themselves. Disease is apparently unknown. The magically pure waters extend life and grant other miracles, including instant language translation - a feature Nora doesn't even question until almost the end of the book, when someone finally points out to her that it's impossible for the whole of Mythos to speak English. Even their bravest warriors, the Portal Guards, don't actually kill their demon enemies; their swords just disperse them for a century or two. One can almost hear the sappy, harp-heavy soundtrack in the background as Nora wanders in awe through this wondrous world... a world threatened by evil demons. The point is repeatedly made that one can't judge people by their species, that "good" and "evil" are far more often than not simply varying shades of gray - and yet it's pretty easy to tell at a glance who is on Nora's side and who is against her, and those divisions line up nicely along lines of good and evil. Those few bad people who aren't demons are almost invariably possessed by demons that make them evil.
All of this would go down great in a world aimed at younger, more sensitive children... but Nora is almost sixteen. Must her tale be so heavily bubble-wrapped?
As a result of the blunted corners, the characters come across as flat, plot-shaped cutouts. Nora's smart, except when she isn't, wrestling with constant insecurity despite succeeding at most everything she tries beyond everyone's expectations. Her love interest, Zane, starts out broody and downright rude, mostly because he secretly likes her but has been hurt by the usual Painful Past. Other staple characters - the Best Friend, the Mysterious Stranger, the Trainer, the Innocent Child Whose Admiration Gives Her Hope, and so forth - materialize as needed; Nora never lacks for guidance at any point in her journey, and indeed often has an overabundance of protectors. Despite bursts of action, the story meanders for long stretches, following a fairly predictable path to a foregone conclusion of a finale... a finale that conveniently leaves the door cracked open just wide enough for a sequel or ten.
I know I've read worse stories. I know I'm not the target audience. I just found myself rolling my eyes too often to enjoy this one.

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Storybound (Marissa Burt) - My Review
Diadem: Book of Names (John Peel) - My Review
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