Saturday, September 1, 2012

Review of Masquerade (7/24/12)

I know that this review is super late (sorry Rivka!) but better late than never, eh? (Also, I've been looking back on my previous reviews and I think I need to stop with the tl;dr lengths! try to make them a little bit briefer. So we'll see how this review turns out! Hopefully no one will skip over paragraphs or anything :P )

Rivka Spicer
192 Pages

*This is an author-requested review. I was given a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I was not paid for this review.*


"Oceana is a hard-working, straight down the line indexer with an attitude. Tristan is the millennia old executioner for the vampire council. They meet when Tristan seeks her help on a case and she is unwillingly drawn into his twisted and violent world where nothing is as it seems on the surface. As she discovers through Tristan who and what she is, Oceana's life changes irrevocably and the only choice she believes she has left is whether or not to give her love to this charming, perplexing and dangerous man, but even that is twisted around her by the masquerade that is life amongst vampires..."

Some pre-review notes: Okay, I just want to say that I think the cover is absolutely gorgeous! I mean, I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but without even knowing the description of the book, I knew I would be reading it. I've always found masks and masquerade balls and such very intriguing. Also, I just finished reading a book with a female main character that really disappointed me, and Masquerade brought me back out of the semi-funk I was in. I expected to read about a (realistically) strong, independent female, and Oceana met those expectations. Finally, I'd like to mention to potential readers that there's, well, what many would call "mature" content in this book. Certainly not enough to detract from the plot, but descriptive enough that I would not recommend Masquerade to my little sister, if you know what I mean ;)

Pros/What I Liked: ~Oceana! Maybe I was just contrasting her with the female lead of the book I had just finished, but I felt that she was pretty awesome. I love love love a heroine who totally kicks butt, doesn't become twitterpated by a dashing lad, and still manages to seem relateable. (Obviously I'm describing Oceana here :D ) I hate reading about these mushy ladies who fall in love at first glance, mistaking lust for love. The ones who become obsessed with Mr. HunkyHunky and his perfect features, and how absolutely lucky they are that HunkyHunky loooooves them, and how they owe him their lives and their souls and their bodies blahblahblah. Oceana reacted to Tristan (Masquerade's Mr. HunkyHunky) in a way that I'd expect a normal young lady to react. Aka "wow, talk about eye-candy." ...Notice the lack of "liek OMG my soulmate!!!!!" She handled every obstacle with as much independence, dignity, and self-capability (ahem, not relying on Tristan like he's her oxygen) as anyone could have possibly had in her situation. At the same time, there were times she needed protection, help from someone, etc and these situations gave her that "real person" feeling. She may have made some mistakes or wrong decisions, but that's what makes people, well, human! We make mistakes, and we learn from them and try not to repeat them, and I saw examples of that human quality in Oceana. She didn't take crap from Tristan, and she didn't let his overbearing, controlling attitude turn her into a mindless slave like many would in her place. ~Genre is refreshed! I think that, in most cases, trying to write a vampire novel now is like beating a dead horse, or whatever the saying is. Rivka manages to give a used-and-abused story idea a fresh take, without taking away the essence of the classically dark, morally-corrupted vampire. ~The ending! That. was. crazy. I'm telling you, it changed everything. I can't spoil anything, but the entire book's plot is given a new perspective from the ending's startling revelation. Which brings me to the next half of my review...

Cons/What I didn't like: ~The ending! Okay, I loved the ending except for two parts. One creeped me out, and one broke my heart. (It's technically a small part of the ending that I found a little creepy.) I can't say exactly what...I'll just say that it's something that was done to Oceana while she was unconscious. Yeah, it was a great way to keep the vampire society from forcing her into doing something she was not ready to do, and it was done out of love, but it was freaky to me, and had it been done to me I would have been WAY pissed off, intentions be damned lol. The heart-breaking part didn't make the book a bad book or anything, but I was ready to sob. BE WARNED, READERS, come armed with tissues and some comfort food, this one is a tear-jerker. (I suppose some readers who support a different certain character won't be as sad as I was.) ~Tristan! He turns out to be a good guy, but it's getting there that was difficult for me. He was charming at first. Then he was a psychopathic control freak. And then he was cute and funny. And then he was back to being a psychopath. I was drained by his bipolarity. One minute I was rooting for the guy, sensing the return of his humanity, and the next minute I'd want to give him a swift kick to his nether regions. There were times where he was going to outright abuse Oceana, and they served as reminders of his vampiric nature. Of course, after reading the INSANE ENDING, I looked back on the entire story and just shook my head, feeling like I needed to re-read the book now that I knew this information. I just hope that other readers can be patient enough to get to the end of the book before making a final judgement on Tristan, his relationship with Oceana, etc. ~The editing! Honestly, people, I don't judge a book's quality based on how many grammatical and punctuation errors are in it. (It is kind of annoying, though.) I only mention it here because sometimes it's distracting, and although bad editing won't turn me away from a good book, some people refuse to read books with, you know, more than 5 errors. So if you happen to be one of those people, don't read Masquerade. I think a second edition, once the author gets enough funds, would be much appreciated by readers. But to do that, authors need money, aka books need to be sold! This is where readers need to do their part and support the author however they can.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to readers who can handle mature content, to readers looking for a "new" vampire book that still retains some of the classic vamp qualities, to those looking for a paranormal read with an adult romance (none of that silly "one look and my heart was his" stuff) and a strong female lead character. I can't wait for the sequel, because the book ended with the start of an entirely new story.

Lia's rating: 7.5/10

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