I had a hard time taking this book seriously, as several of its flaws were either incredibly annoying or downright funny. Most of the time they were both.
Some of the more comedic flaws included:
1. Lena and Ethan, our two lovebirds, served as the Romeo and Juliet of this story. Sometimes I also liked to refer to them as Herp and Derp. How it took those two close to four hundred pages to figure out their own relationship status is beyond me. I don't even know why the reader had to be treated to pages of dialogue about it. I think the reader kind of figures it out for themselves when a good part of your story up until that point involved this:
"I am falling for you. I can't be without you."
"I'm falling for you too. But look, there are our relatives saying we can never, ever, ever be together."
"I'LL NEVER LET GO! NEVER! I PROMISE!"
"BUT WE ALL MIGHT DIE! BUT I CAN'T BE WITHOUT YOU EITHER! LET'S ENJOY THE TIME WE HAVE TOGETHER! PLEASE NEVER LET ME GO!"
It's all a bit melodramatic. Which usually annoys me to no end, but this time it was part of the book's charm.
What makes Lena and Ethan's occasional communication glitches even more amusing and nonsensical is that they can read each other's thoughts. They can communicate with their minds and the story always goes on and on about their strong connection. Yet figuring out simple things, like whether or not they're together, somehow elude them. It’s quite precious, really.
2. Ridley Duchannes. This was most amusing/heartbreaking to me. This character could have been given so much more depth, but it all went wrong. Ridley is a Dark Caster, claimed at the age of 16 against her will, the bad girl of the story. Her character is pretty tragic, and if this were done right, she’d be my favorite. She's dark, but she doesn't want to be. The person she became and the person she once was are always in an internal struggle. If that doesn't make you feel bad enough for her she also has the misfortune of being described as this:
Like I said, it’s very tragic.
She also gives boys pet names like “Boyfriend” “Shrinky Dink” and “Short Straw” because that is really naughty. She also needs to suck on a cherry lollipop in order for her to work her dark powers that were only really dark once in the whole story and the rest of the time she was just kind of being a jerk.
I’m not sure what the writers are trying to convey with that one, really. That female sexuality is bad? That being a mockery of female sexuality and letting others define it instead of owning it yourself is what makes a villain? That being sexy and bad is fun sometimes but only if you look really ridiculous while doing it? Or are the writers just trying to send the message that all women have a bit of Courtney Stodden in them, so we shouldn’t really judge? It’s hard to say really. Then I read a part in the story where Ethan thought a bunch of girls looked skanky because they were in tank tops and baby tees. I suspect that the writers have been so busy writing these tomes that make up the Caster Chronicles series that they are out of the loop on modern women’s clothing. Or I’m just a skank. Whichever. Either way the writers might want to update their attitudes towards women.
Ridley is a campy character, who could have been done a lot better if she weren’t made into a shallow party girl trying to be deep.
3. The adults wanting to keep Every. Fucking. Thing. a secret for over five hundred pages of story was both funny and frustrating. The writers clearly wanted to keep the Romeo and Juliet aspect of the story going for as long as they can drag it out. They decided to drag it out so long, with such dull conflicts involving it that the whole thing seemed kind of silly. By the time you found out why their families were sometimes half -heartedly and sometimes desperately trying to keep them apart you just didn’t have a fuck left to give about it. Mix that in with the melodrama and for a minute I thought I was reading a parody.
One less amusing flaw was the inconsistencies throughout the story. Either the two authors couldn’t get in sync with each other, or they were writing so much that after a while they just couldn’t keep the story straight. But I could have sworn there were people who get paid to check up on those things so I’d like to know why that went unnoticed. I like it when stories make sense. I always thought that was a thing most readers enjoy.
The story did have some enjoyable parts. While any character around the ages of fifteen and eighteen possessed all the depth of a deflated kiddie pool, the background adult characters had a bit more to offer. I wonder if teenagers are just as tired of Converse sneakers and not having blonde hair being a sign that you’re “unique” and “mature for your age” in their books as I am. This tells me nothing other than hair color and sneaker preference. With the adults, there was a bit more attention given to personality, which gave you a chance to become attached to them. But what really holds the story together and kept me reading was the Southern Gothic vibe and historical Civil War romance story. When it came to that, the writers knew what they were doing. They just couldn’t be bothered to work on the characters to help keep the long winding plot moving, which was very unfortunate.