Sometimes here at Active Voice headquarters, we start a book and find it is so terrible we can’t – or at least don’t want to – finish it. What do we do? We can’t review it if we don’t finish it!
And so I’m kicking off a new category here at AV: Unfinished/Unrated. We don’t feel comfortable rating books we haven’t finished, but we still want to talk about them – and why we didn’t finish them.
From the back cover blurb: “When, on an otherwise normal day, George breaks the head from a stone dragon outside the Natural History Museum in a tiny act of rebellion, he inadvertently awakens an ancient power. The results are instant and terrifying: a stone pterodactyl unpeels from the wall and starts chasing George. He runs for his life, but the strangest part is, no one around him can see what he’s running from. No one except Edie, who is also trapped in this strange world.
“Now that George has disturbed the fragile truce between the warring statues of London, he is forced into a race for survival, where nothing is what it seems, and it’s never clear who to trust.”
I picked up this book because it was about statues in London coming to life, and I like London and history and art and plucky kids. But I only got a few pages into it before I couldn’t take it anymore. George, the hero, is incredibly whiny and melodramatic – in the opening paragraphs he compares life to trench warfare, and later in the first chapter he draws a connection between the faded colors of his clothes – and his faded soul. No, really.
The plot gets kicked off when a bully knocks over a rack of pamphlets at a museum and makes it look like George did it by accident. So a teacher pulls George out of the room and screams at him for ten minutes, telling him he’s rude and uncivilized and worthless. Because…he knocked a rack of pamphlets over? I get that mean teachers are all the rage, especially after Snape, and I get that George can’t actually have done anything bad, because then we can’t relate to him, but this way we get to sympathize with his poor, put-upon self, but it was so completely ludicrous and unrealistic that I couldn’t stand it. I mean, at one point the teacher makes a fist because he wants to punch 12-year-old George in the face. This is not how people act.
I finished Twilight because I wanted to be able to weigh in on what’s becoming a very important book these days. Stoneheart does not appear to have anywhere close to the kind of fame Twilight has, and so I feel no obligation to put myself through any more of it. George, I bid thee and thy ridiculous angst farewell.
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