Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Early Review of Feast by Merrie Destefano

Feast: Harvest of Dreams
  • Title: Feast: Harvest of Dreams by Merrie Destefano
  • Classification: Adult Fiction
  • Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
  • Format:  Paperback, 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061990825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061990823
  • Notes: I was allowed to read the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of this book.

  Madeline MacFaddin has fond childhood memories of the town where she and her parents rented a cabin 25 years ago. Traveling through the area with her nine year old son, Tucker, she decides they'll spend the night. Maddie is an acclaimed author said to be a cross between Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. She's been experiencing writer's block and is hoping the town will inspire her imagination.

In the small town of  Ticonderoga Falls, appearances are misleading. The town may look normal, but it's anything but. It holds a dark secret. The upcoming Harvest, which takes place on Halloween night, can be a dangerous time to be in the little town. The 'feast' is not for humans, but the supernatural beings who 'harvest' the dreams of those around them. Usually the Harvest takes place with no problems, but this year dead bodies are being found even before the Harvest has officially begun. By the time the night is over things will never be the same and not everyone will survive, and Maddie will realize the dreams she had as a child weren't in fact dreams, but memories.

I've been debating on whether to give this book a 2 or a 3 star rating. I'm hoping some of what I'm seeing has to do with this being the ARC version of the book. The author seemed indecisive with what to call the creatures in her book. Darkling seems to be the prevailing name and my favorite of the lot which include shapeshifters, and chupacabra. Chupacabra being the name I like the least and am hoping won't be included in the final version. While supernatural creature rewrites seem to be all the rage, I feel the use of chupacabra would demean the being Destefano has created which really shares none of the traits typically associated with a chupacabra. I also have a lot of unanswered questions.

I am a little confused about the curse. Ash states that he is bound to the town by the curse he invoked and he also stated he's considered 'fallen' because of it. I'd like a very clear statement as to what the curse is,  what it entails, and how it exactly binds him to the small town. Hopefully, this little oversight is something that will be cleared up in the final version.*crosses fingers*

Seems there were a lot of terms and titles given to individuals without any clear definition. I have no idea what a Legend Keeper does other than perhaps record things? Why are they necessary? How does one become one? Why is a Guardian necessary and how does one become one? Who exactly was the Guardian - Ash or Driscoll? Evenquest is mentioned twice in this book, but what Evenquest is is unclear. I'm assuming that Evenquest is where the Darklings come from? We are given no clues as to where Evenquest is nor why any Darklings would venture to live away from it.

 I would have liked to have seen more interaction of an emotional and physical nature between Maddie and Ash. I'm just not feeling the love or attraction on Maddie's side. I'm not saying the two have to hook up, but I'd liked to have seen some sort of description of perhaps butterflies in the stomach, an unbelievably strong urge to kiss, or other such feeling that would make me feel there is some connection between them on Maddie's part. The last scene of the book just left me feeling it was too little, too late.

I would have liked more of a description of how exactly Maddie saw Ash in his true form. A one word description of how she perceived Darklings when she was seven just isn't enough. The perceptions of a seven year old and a women are very different. Granted she did describe a Darkling when she attempted to draw one, but it wasn't all that descriptive. She made no mention as to whether they are beautiful, terrifying, or ugly. I'd like to know if the way she sees them is the same as how Ash perceives his kind at the beginning of the book.

Usually if a book doesn't answer my questions I look to see if it's part of a series. Sometimes questions are answered in sequels. I checked both the author's website and various book sellers and there is no mention of this being the first book in a series. It appears  to be a stand alone book.  If a book is a first in series I tend to be more lenient in my rating and it probably would have swayed me towards giving it a 3 star rating. Unfortunately, because it doesn't appear to be the first in a series I've decided to give it 2 out of 5 stars. The reason for only 2 stars is all the holes that seem to need filling.

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