Friday, December 28, 2012

Review: Tempestuous by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Description: Recently banished, unfairly, by the school’s popular crowd, former “it girl,” Miranda Prospero, finds herself in a brave new world: holding dominion amongst a rag-tag crew of geeks and misfits where she works at the Hot-Dog Kabob in the food court of her local mall. When the worst winter storm of the season causes mall workers and last-minute shoppers to be snowed-in for the night, Miranda seizes the opportunity to get revenge against the catty clique behind her social exile. With help from her delightfully dweeby coworker, Ariel, and a sullen loner named Caleb who works at the mall’s nearby gaming and magic shop, Miranda uses charm and trickery to set things to right during this spirited take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Language: Moderate
Violence: Mild (there’s a mention of robbers who steal laptops, iPods, etc. in the mall, and some cases of revenge, some risky and including BB guns)
Sexual: Mild (a few kisses and innuendo)

Thank you, NetGalley and publishers, for providing me with an ARC.

Have you ever had that feeling where the pacing is so slow that you feel you’ll lose interest in it quickly, and yet at the last moment when you’re about to close the book, you just need to find out how the book will end? That’s how I felt after finishing Tempestuous.

I’ve never read The Tempest by William Shakespeare, so I had to go on Spark Notes and find more details on it, because I searched Barnes & Noble’s website for a vague description, but it only told me things on the physical book, rather than the story on the inside. So, after reading the summary off Spark Notes, I understood a bit more about Tempestuous. It’s actually semi-amusing to me the way the authors modernized and twisted this story until it was molded into their own creation. I appreciate that. It takes guts to try to modernize a Shakespeare masterpiece, and so I give a round of applause for Kim Askew and Amy Helmes.

This being said, there are a few things in the book I didn’t appreciate. I didn’t like how everyone but Caleb was practically a slave to Miranda; I don’t know if this was the case in the original Shakespeare play, but I’m going to go on a whim and say it is this similar class, and if it is, I apologize for the negativity on that part. Still, I felt the whole grudge on her ex-friends and ex-boyfriend went on for a bit too long. I realize Brian cheated on her with her best friend, but the revenge seemed an inch below her level.

Other than the few things I didn’t care for, this was a pretty good book. There were some slow moments, some that weren’t as interesting, but even the lesser intriguing parts was still well written and made me want to continue on with the story.

The title of this book was actually what captured my attention—“Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel.” If that doesn’t get you to read through the synopsis, I don’t know what will. Twisted Lit? I’m a fan of all old stories that have been manipulated into modern literature, and that’s the main reason I requested this one.

There was another thing I loved about this book. Actually, two things: firstly, this entire book takes place in a little more than one day (how cool is that?), and secondly, the chemistry that grew between Miranda and Caleb had a force to the readers that’ll have them cheering for them.

Now, I don’t know if you will fall upon the same issues I have with this novel, or if you will find it as surprising as I did, but take a chance and pick up this book. It’s not one you can easily forget.

Cover: I like the cover. It reminds me of a mall fountain mixed with an Old Roman/Grecian one, but that was probably the point, right? The soda on it is cute as well.

Setting: The local mall.

Characters: Miranda is a girl who can be very self-centered at times. It makes sense that her nickname is “princess,” because it seems she has many people wrapped around her finger, especially her friend and coworker Ariel, who she sends off to get revenge for her on her two ex-friends, even though those friends did nothing but emotionally hurt Miranda and her “friends.” (Really, it was Brian and Rachel who were to blame.) But thankfully, I got to know her better as the story progressed, and she isn’t as bad as I thought.
-Caleb is a character all in his own. I love how he doesn’t put up with Miranda’s crap, and points out her selfishness whenever there’s a chance. It seems as though he doesn’t care about what anyone thinks about him, and I like that about him, too, along with the fact that he has just an edge of bad boy genes in him.
-Chad and the other jocks Miranda accuses of being “nut-logs,” some of which include the infamous band, aren’t all that bad. They aren’t exactly the nicest people in the world, but they’re much better than Brian is, that’s for sure.
-Whitney, Britney, Rachel, and Brian were all complete jerks at the beginning of the story, especially towards Miranda, Ariel, and Caleb. Although Brian remains a player and the three besties’ eyes are only set on revenge, and I did get more than a little tired of reading about this, the story wouldn’t be as interesting without them.

Storyline: Teenagers get locked in a mall after being snowed in.

Writing: The writing is okay, in my opinion. It’s a little amusing at times, while the narrator can also appear snotty at others.

Surprises: (A small spoiler here.) I know this sounds a little weird, but I laughed so much at the thought of Caleb, Chad, and a few other guys in a band together. Just picture a sarcastic and stony-looking guy who works at a game store wearing a magician’s cape with a jock in another funny costume playing guitar and drums together. Laughing yet? No? Okay. Other than this, there actually weren’t a whole lot of surprises until the very end. The rest was more amusing than surprising, however.

Overall: 4 stars. This is interesting story that others may have enjoyed somewhat more than I did, but I did give it the rating I think it deserved. Like I said before, I really like Shakespeare, although I’ve only read a few of his works, and this was an intriguing and exciting book for me.

Recommended: I’d recommend this one to all who love Shakespeare and would be interested in reading a twist on the story all the fans know and enjoy.

“Remind me why I'm doing this again?" I whispered back.
“For your real friends, of course: Me, Caleb, and Chad.”
“That's sweet of you to say, but I'm not sure we're all friends. Mr. Darcy over here," I indicated Caleb with a nod, "finds me barely tolerable.”

—“Where are you taking me?” he asked.
“To Got Games for a pair of those trick handcuffs,” I said. “I’m not letting you get away so easy this time.”

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