Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Review: Ripple by Mandy Hubbard

Title: Ripple
Author: Mandy Hubbard
Series: N/A
Pages: 260
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Paranormal YA
Source: Library

Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. The water calls to her, draws her in, forces her to sing her deadly song to unsuspecting victims. If she succumbs, she kills. If she doesn't, the pain is unbearable. To keep herself and those she cares about safe, she shuts herself off, refusing to make friends or fall in love-again. Because the last time she fell in love with a boy, he ended up dead. Then Lexi finds herself torn. Against her better judgement, she's opening up agian, falling in love with someone new when she knows she shouldn't. But when she's offered the chance to finally live a normal life, she learns that the price she must pay to be free or her curse is giving him up.

My Review:
This was my first ever mermaid/siren book! Yay! lol...I have been wanting to give them a try for a while now since they tend to be some of the more forgotten and neglected supernatural creatures out there. I actually watched one of those Disney channel original movies lately...I can't remember the name, but the kid in it is also turns into a mermaid(man?) on his 16th birthday, which is why I decided to bust out Ripple from my TBR shelf and dive in...(haha sorry...bad pun)Well...anywho...I definitely enjoyed my first adventure with these watery creatures of awesome! I really liked that Lexi wasn't a typical mermaid-mermaid...she doesn't grow fins and a tail when she turns into a siren. Instead, she glows with a watery luminescence and occasionally sprouts scales on her legs...coolio...though I did think the glowing was a little bit like sparkling vampires lol. 

So anyways being that she's a SIREN, instead of sleeping like a normal teenager, she has to swim and sing her magical little song every night or else she suffers in excruciating pain the next day. She doesn't have to kill, she just has to sing...of course any time a guy hears the song, they will be drawn to her voice and drown. Which is exactly what happened to her best friends brother(and Lexi's almost boyfriend) Steven when Lexi hit sixteen. She then spends the next two years in secluded depression, avoiding her old friends and being ridiculed at school. That is until Cole, Steven's best friend, decides to try and break into her shell. Of course, since this is a YA book, there apparently has to be a love triangle...the other third of the triangle is the hot new guy in town (...of course he is...) and seems to know more about Lexi than she does herself.

I really enjoyed the mythological aspects of the books. Not only was Hubbard's concept of mermaids/sirens very original and interesting, but she also added Nixes. I don't know about you, but I've never even heard about nixes...at all...well...other than that gross lice shampoo I had to use on the toddlers I was babysitting one time...bleh...but I'm pretty sure that's not what Hubbard was talking about...Oh eww...now I'm picturing these giant lice creatures that drag girls into rivers...gag...anyways, Nixes are male sirens basically, only they drown women in rivers rather than the ocean. It was also really cool to experience the compulsion that the water has over Erik and Lexi. It makes you feel drawn into their emotions and trapped like they are by their desires. Both the desires to swim, and to kill.
“Just being near the water makes me ache for it, makes my skin tingle with the desire to run until I am chest-deep and the water wraps around my skin like a satin ribbon, making the worries, the aches, the stress unwind. Sometimes, I wonder if this is how a recovering alcoholic would feel if someone put a beer in her hand. If her body would wage war against her mind as mine does.”

Though the mythological aspects were fantastic, I was a tad put out by Lexi's personal relationships in the story, especially with her old group of friends. It's the same-old same-old popular kids who hate on the outsider plot that has been used in basically every book and movie for teens since before time began. These characters had no depth, no personalities outside of what they said and did to Lexi. Also, I found it incredibly unbelievable that a group of friends who had been together since they were toddlers would turn on one of their own like they turned on Lexi. The poor girl is traumatized by the death of her best friend and boyfriend, and so her other friends ridicule her and give her the cold shoulder? I don't think so. I feel like the characters could have been built up a little more, had them show more emotions than just hate or acceptance and I would have enjoyed their interactions so much more.

What I found kind of interesting about Ripple was that it feels more contemporary than paranormal. It's like it is just about a teenager dealing with her boyfriend's death, her friend's rejection, and two new love interests...The paranormal aspects are almost afterthoughts for the entire book up until the last few chapters. I kind of feel like the book was written as a contemporary first and then Hubbard just decided...oh hey let's make her a mermaid!" lol. I'm sure that's not the case, but I liked that the relationships and characters had as much screentime as the supernatural stuff.

Lexi frustrated me and made me love her every other page. I couldn't understand why she would let her friends treat her so badly, but then I almost cried for her when she visited Steven's grave and was so overcome by grief. She was a tad flighty and made very poor decisions about how to handle her life and her friends, but she came off as caring and confused for the most part. My favorite thing about her was that she always tried to see beneath the surface of the other characters. She didn't take them at face value and always tried to uncover what made them tick. This kind of attitude also gave one of the best quotes I found in the book.
“But who bothers looking beyond the surface? Who even knows anything about Cinderella's Prince Charming - other than he's a handsome prince?”
I feel like this is a really cool thought. I mean, who really looks beyond the charming attitude and handsome face of the princes in Disney movies or any other fairy tale? They say that princesses give off a bad message by waiting for their prince to come, but does anyone ever consider the princes thoughts? I bet that they sometimes wanted to sleep in and play the royal X-box and leave the princesses to do their thing lol. And poor Prince Charming is used in both Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty! He's apparently such a cardboard cutout of a character that no one notices he's the same guy in both! ha...anyways...I loved that Lexi tried to find out what was inside both of her guys...the fact that she completely read them both wrong non-withstanding...lol.

The ending was absolutely fantastic. You don't see ANY of it coming and the action is fantastic. I felt like I was smashed in the face by a shovel when you find out some of the character's secrets. I don't want to give it away but seriously, the ending takes every aspect from the mythology to the characters to the plot, then pumps it up on steroids until you can't even believe what you're reading...loved it!
I give Ripple 4 out of 5 Keys! I felt like it was a really gritty and emotional book that had a really cool and original mythology. Lexi was a complicated character but overall I came to like and respect her. Cole was a dreamy love interest and the more romantic scenes were definitely super swoon-worthy for a YA book. I don't think there are any plans for a sequel but I would definitely read it!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good one to me. Interesting plot for a book.