Review Detail

4.7 14
Young Adult Fiction 22509
I'm Not Saying It's Aliens, But... (IT'S ALIENS!)
(Updated: April 01, 2015)
Overall rating
 
3.0
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
2.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
This reviewer has an enduring fondness for sci-fi, and was seriously looking forward to this book. The thing of it is... the story ultimately came off as sci-fi for people who -don't- like sci-fi. Not a lot of worldbuilding, alien culture, fantastical descriptions, or real science involved. It's sci-fi extra(terrestrial)-lite. Urban sci-fi, if you will.

Obsidian is told entirely in first person, from the perspective of book-blogger teen (I have to admit, that's clever marketing to give a nod to the review sphere), Katy Swartz. The setting is rural West Virginia, in the immediate aftermath of the heroine's recent cross-country move (a socially isolating transition the heroine endures in the name of sacrificially benefiting her largely absent mother.) Here in the tiny town of Forks Ketterman, Kat settles in and promptly discovers her neighbor is a drop-dead-gorgeous guy... who also possesses all the humility and tact of a rusty chainsaw. Lust at first sight ensues. Kat is rebuffed, insulted, and has enough dignity to decide to avoid Mr. I'm-Too-Sexy-For-This-Planet.

With main character names like 'Kat' and 'Daemon', readers may start out wondering if this reportedly sci-fi leaning tale was going to turn into something about vampires. That suspicion could easily persist all the way to the halfway point, when the obvious is finally revealed to Katy—who despite having a penchant for reading paranormal YA books—seems oddly dense toward the idea that her neighbors may have supernatural capacities. Initially there was mention that Katy's father had died of a brain tumor and she has some concern about suffering the same fate (which could have been a smart and viable way to play off the odd things she ends up seeing/experiencing). But unfortunately, the idea isn't brought up ever again.

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then this book is flattering the ever-loving commercial goodness out of Twilight. The problem for this reader was not so much that it imitates it in many ways, but that it also turns around and takes snide jabs at the band wagon it's just jumped on. (view goodreads for spoiler)

I've repeatedly noticed this book being referred to as “what Twilight should have been.” I suppose whether or not that's true depends entirely on one's personal/relational preferences. The one standout difference between the two is the type of romantic tension. Twilight is a slow burn with sensual and emotional elements. Obsidian is an ista-burn with plenty of almost-kiss flareups, and an ultimate heat level that skirts the New Adult line.

This reader was initially indifferent over Daemon and his “bad-boy” jerkishness. (No, the bad-boy thing doesn't do it for me.) It seemed plausible enough that he'd be initially trying to keep Katy away from himself and his “family” ( i.e. super-pretty folks of the same species), for everyone's own good. But once the proverbial alien is out of the bag...well... Daemon remains a borderline verbally/emotionally abusive goob.
Because he's still bitter about his brother's disappearance? Because he believes his species to be superior to the fragile human populace? Because he didn't have parents? I'm going to guess a little of everything. But given the severity of the guy's emotional constipation, it's hard to say. Which ties in to another thing that bothered me:

We really don't get to know Daemon. The one clear character trait he seems to possess is loyalty to his own people, and some vague conviction that he has to protect them all because he's the strongest, most powerful of his super-powered brethren. Readers aren't really given a sense of his likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, hobbies, or other angles that could give him more depth.

As far as prose goes, the writing is serviceable. If you're a big fan of name-calling and dialogue that's made up of around 70% inane arguments, then this book should be right up your alley. But outside of a few more colorful insults and cheeky observations, readers may not note much for takeaway quotes.
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