January 19, 2014

Mary E. Pearson: "Fox Forever"

Title: Fox Forever [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Jenna Fox Chronicles (3rd of 3 books, but there's also a short story - read it for free here - that is chronologically book 1.5 in the series, though it only came out after book 2)
Author: Mary E. Pearson [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Sci-Fi, Dystopian
Year: 2013
Age: 12+
Stars: 3.5/5
Pros: Part adventure, part romance, part coming-of-age story - you get a bit of everything here.
Cons: You also get clich├ęs...
WARNING! Unlike the previous installments, this one displays a couple of unusual bordering-on-horror scenes.
Will appeal to: Those who think chapter 1 and 2 lacked romance. Those who want a lot more of Locke and a bit more of Jenna. Those who need closure about them. Those who don't mind going through a series of tropes in order to have all of the above...

Blurb: Locke Jenkins has some catching up to do. After spending 260 years as a disembodied mind in a little black box, he has a perfect new body. But before he can move on with his unexpected new life, he’ll have to return the Favor he accepted from the shadowy resistance group known as the Network. Locke must infiltrate the home of a government official by gaining the trust of his daughter, seventeen-year-old Raine, and he soon finds himself pulled deep into the world of the resistance - and into Raine’s life. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: This is a disclaimer, sort of...You all know I'm not fond of romance-driven stories. Or stories with too much romance in them. And unlike its precedessors, this last installment of the Jenna Fox Chronicles sports a good amount of it. I'm not going to start a tirade about insta-love, because given Locke's and Raine's respective predicaments, their rather sudden mutual attraction is understandable. I'm just stating a fact: the Jenna Fox Chronicles started off quite differently from that, and as for this turn that the story takes, I may not be the best or intended audience for it. (Well, duh. I'm not a teen, so of course I'm not the intended audience for it. But who cares about that? I love YA. Or a good portion of it...End of rant LOL). Then again, I guess most readers will be delighted, so I'll try to not let it weight on my opinion too much ;). 
But, for starters, so Locke has to infiltrate a place where there's a girl his exact age: how convenient is that? Of course, Raine is the reason why Locke was chosen in the first place, so I'll condone that. And since I knew I was about to embark on a love story, I had braced myself for that from the very first page, and was determined to enjoy my last visit to Jenna's and Locke's world. Which I did, up to a point. Because I still cared for them. Because I loved the two previous installments, with only a couple of minor reservations. Because, mind you, Pearson knows how to tell a story. So, like I said, I was enjoying it. But all of the time, the rational part of me was noting "This is a common trope. Oh, wait, there's another. Duh, this was to be expected. Oh, how convenient". And all this stuff was creeping up on me and slowly tainting my appreciation of the story
Let's start with the tropes. I counted 6 major ones:
  1. evil parent
  2. princess in a tower
  3. parent-approved rival
  4. long-lost kid
  5. unlikely ally
  6. back-stabbing supposed friend
(not to mention insta-love, which I've already dealt with before). [...]

But the main problem I had with this book is, maybe, the predictability of some of its key moments. Because FF is not a I-didn't-see-it-coming kind of book. While I was surprised by some turns the story took in its previous chapters (like Miesha's real identity...maybe it wasn't a hard one, but Pearson managed to shade it, at least from me), nothing really unexpected happened here for me. Also, I used to quote endlessly from both TAOJF and TFI, like this page testifies. This time, I only found a notable quote in the whole book: when Jenna says to Locke "Being like everyone else is highly overrated" (and maybe it's mainly because it resonates with me so much...).
Another problem I had with FF is the increasing religious angle. OK, it was already there in TAOJF, and while I'm not a religious person, I was able to appreciate the book for what it was. But here, I ultimately found all the church memories (and the church presence in the story) a bit heavy-handed.
Small detail: there are supposedly other people like Jenna and Locke by now. TAOJF states that much. Still, the two of them seem to be pretty much isolated, and not just because they share a history and are the oldest people alive by now. Another point that I had to roll my eyes at. I understand it was functional to the story, but still...
So, what did I like, you might ask. Well, Locke's coming of age. Raine's guts - also in scaling roofs back and forth ;). The role Bots play in the story (there's this particular scene, so visual, so moving). And...the ending* - even though I already knew what was going to happen there (courtesy of one of those Goodreads members who happily ignore the SPOILER code - grrr!). I even shed a tear when I got to the last page - which doesn't happen often with me.
*(Note: but why 30 years later? with Raine pregnant of her third kid at 47? I know it's not unusual, but...Also - Locke can reproduce. Mmh. Quite a stretch, since Jenna was only able to do that via a preserved ovary...Then again, he's got BioPerfect. Still...mmh).
Will I read this book again? Yes, of course. But was it epic? No. Not for me. *sighs*

For my review of "The Adoration of Jenna Fox" (first installment in the series) click here.
For my review of "The Rotten Beast" (companion short story) click here.  
For my review of "The Fox Inheritance" (second installment in the series) click here.
For more Sci-Fi books click
here.


Alternate cover (Kindle)

6 comments:

  1. I love the listing of Pros and Cons! I don't know if this is a series I'll get to, simply because I don't already own it and I have soooooo many series I'm currently following, but it's on my radar so you never know!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The first 2 installments are great IMHO. You know I'm usually wary of largely popular books...but this series is interesting on so many levels - though it won't probably appeal to those who need lots of action.

      Yes, I get it...so many series, so little time LOL.

      Delete
  2. It sounded like a nice book, but I dislike the same old problems, and too much romance. Some romantic moments can be enjoyed, but personally I think romance should be filling some filter chapters and not taking the most important part of the story. I love your review style: how you say everything good and bad. P.s : I am having an awesome time in Rome :) Ciao!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are so alike. I try to shun romance whenever possible. I avoid stories in which romance has the upper hand. Some exceptions can be made when the story is really good, and when romance itself is functional to it...
      ...We're so cold-hearted LOL.

      Thank you! No, I take it back. You can't compliment me on my review style, and immediately after stab me in the heart with your awesome time in Rome. You merciless monster. *sniffs*

      Delete
    2. Haha. Yes we are both so cold hearted. And according to you, I am bloodthirsty too.
      I ate an amazing breakfast today. You know the usual cappuccino and cornetto. *evil laugh*

      Delete
    3. A red cappuccino, right? ;)

      Delete

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