“You shan’t judge a book by its cover”.
You hear that a lot – not necessarily in Bible-speech or in a way that makes use of archaic yet elegant “shan’t” – but this is a sentence that everybody has heard at least once in their life.
Wether it’s applied to people or to actual books, I’ve often found this to be very true.
Some books are like those carnivore plants in the jungle: beautiful to look at, lethal when you get near them.
Other books are like a pubescent boy: covered in pimples on the outside (meaning the cover’s piss-poor) but once you get to know him (read the book) you cannot help yourself but love him.
I don’t know about you where books are concerned, but I admit that I am often drawn to those that have a pretty cover – elegant writing, cool image, maybe a hot guy with killer abs and that “Man-V” everybody wants but is to lazy to work for in the gym.
I do that and often the content matches the outside: the whole package is, if not brilliant, at least satisfying.
However, there are instances where a cover is a murderous flytrap designed to lure you in and than kill you with utter and unsalvageable – pardon my French – shit.
Yes, because life cannot be all sunshine and Sunday’s beach trips, sometimes it just plainly rains humongous cats and dogs.And since we are talking about appearances, let’s also talk about the fact that there are instances (sad ones) when an author you happen to like let’s you down.
This instance is, sadly, my current case.
Let me introduce you to Chantal Fernando’s “Beyond”, a dystopian romance… that I did NOT like at all.
And there you have it:
– decent cover;
– an author whose other books I have enjoyed;
Mortal flytrap! Mortal flytrap!
Now, “Beyond” has an average rating of 3.68 stars on Goodreads – yes, I am throwing some statistics at you, but that’s just to show you that some people liked it – while mine was a sad (and for me much avoided – it almost NEVER happens!) 1-star rating. Though, in my defense, I would have given something more, but GR doesn’t do halfsies. It’s either that or that. You gotta be determined!
Soooo – obviously this conflict is my problem and the book wasn’t an actual flop.
I want people to know, these are merely my personal comments based on my personal tastes.
As it is, I just happened to think it wasn’t on the same level as Chantal Fernando’s other books/series.
What was the problem, Simona?
I’ll tell you right away.
It’s 2020 and 5 years ago – that would be 2015 and thus our current year, so look out people, “the night is dark and full of terrors!” – some bad bad stuff happened: a disease, an epidemic, something that nobody knew about and that isn’t really explained (not necessary a negative thing, since, as I already said, nobody knew about it) brought forth the dreaded zombies.
Now, zombies are a very hot topic these days, a lot like vampires where in the golden years that brought forth “Twilight” (don’t try to deny that you’ve read Stephanie Meyer and that you loved her up until someone announced to the world that it was a bad series and that everybody should hate on it – I AM ONTO YOU, PEOPLE).
Zombies are cool.
Sadly, there are no zombies in here, aside from one zombie-beast (some animal, I think) and a couple of them conveniently strolling in the wilderness when our heroes happen to be around.
So, my thoughts are… WTF?
I wanted zombies!
I needed them!
There’s just a certain number of times I can re-watch “The Walking Dead”!
I wanted zombies, Chantal!
I won’t say I wanted them all the time (but I did!) but at least a horde trying to invade the castle (yeah, they live in a castle), some of them suddenly appearing in the grass Pokemon style, roofs collapsing under the pressure of a thousand dead bodies, maybe even one or two coming down the chimney on Christmas morning. Stuff like that.
It’s supposed to be a post-apocalyptic dystopian but it seems to me tha the author threw in “and there are zombies” just for shit and giggles, because they are the new horror equivalent of Ray-Ban sunglasses – everybody wants them, only a handful actually uses them to shield eyes from the sun.
Huge let down for me.
I was promised zombies. Not explicitly, but I was promised zombies nonetheless and I do absolutely not consider a maximum of half a dozen to be enough! *insert sad emoticon here*
What else, aside from the lack of zombies?
It’s 2020, but these people live in a castle and since you are where you live (yeah, I know, I know, it’s “you are what you eat”!) we went back to a Medieval set of mind: 18-years-old girls are getting married off to repopulate, people believe in prophecies about salvation (did they learn nothing from the 2012 Mayan-flop?!), men hunt, women sew and pop out babies (I can’t get over that!), yada yada yada. *rolling eyes so hard they fall on the floor*
Me don’t like.
Me don’t like at all.
Olivia is the “princess” of the castle.
That label, I don’t like at all.
What makes her a princess? She surely doesn’t behave like one, yet everybody sees her as self-absorbed, in need of protection and whatever. Everybody tends to avoid her like she has some kind of infectious disease – at some point I found myself hoping she was a recidivous zombie that might attack everybody and bring some action into this.
She has to get married because:
a) everybody does at 18 and now she’s over 20 (thus, a spinster hag for the standards applied in here);
b) a prophecy – a false one, a manufactured one, a lie that doesn’t really make sense to me – decreed (is that the right form?) that her son will safe the world – He-man style, I suppose.
She picks the most badass man after whom she has lusted forever but with whom she has never exchanged as much as a “hello”. *snorts*
Because, obviously there has to be some sex in this zombieless boring dystopic world.
On a spoiler-like side-note, let me tell you that the sex is even more boring. When it’s actually there.
Me don’t like.
Dane doesn’t like.
But then he does.
Cue Katy Perry singing “Hot’n’Cold” while my eyes continue to roll on the floor.
Boring stuff happens before the wedding day.
You don’t need specifics, but I will tell you anyway that there’s the clichèd gay bestfriend and a bisexual that has a menage a trois with a representative of both sexes. I have absolutely no problem with the sexuality displayed but I do think that authors overuse this twists and turns and, quite frankly, it’s getting old.
As far as originality goes, Beyond ranks 1 out of 10, and that’s the main reason I did not enjoy this Chantal Fernando book as much as I enjoyed the rest of them. I had the persisting feeling that I had already read it.
Going on: fast forward to the sex-scenes…
Oh, wait, there weren’t really any! There was a tease, but that’s it.
Where’s that Disappointed Meme?
My disappointment need that Meme!
Beyond was pretty much sexless.
The Maybe series isn’t sexless.
The Wind Dragons aren’t sexless.
Not to sound shallow, but some expectations have to be met.
As far as my experience goes, Chantal Fernando writes great steamy scenes, and I won’t deny that I went into Beyond fully expecting some haaawtness.
My expectations weren’t met.
Obviously, I would have gone over it, if only the story would have made it up to the lack of erotic elements. Because I am not that shallow – or at least I like to think I’m not.
What were you thinking?
That’s the question I asked myself for the whole 159 pages.
Why write this, Chantal, when I’ve been waiting FOR-FREAKING-EVER for Arrow’s Hell and Tracker’s End?!
Long story short, it was a “wham, bam, thank-you-m’am”-kinda book.
Theoretically LOADS of potential, but I guess Chantal was writing this when she had writer’s block on The Wind Dragons…
I don’t know if that’s really the case, but I will justify the author that way.
Next time: don’t!
I will keep reading Chantal Fernando’s books – I recommend you check them out! – Beyond was just not my thaaang, and I am more than aware that authors are people, too, prone to mistakes and faux pas as anyone else.
I won’t hold it against her.
I won’t ever mention this book again, either.
It didn’t happen. I didn’t read it.
I will share my opinions with the internets, with whomever is willing to read this, and forget about it.
ONTO THE NEXT BOOK!
If you want to read it, though, I obviously won’t (nor can I) stop you, but this is one book I can’t recommend to you, because for me it’s way Beyond.
Olivia Reynolds lives a sheltered life. Daughter of the leader of their small community, she is treated like a princess, never allowed beyond the safety of the walls. When her father decides she must marry, she chooses the man she has secretly lusted after ever since she first laid eyes on him.
One of her father’s best men, Dane is as lethal is he is attractive, and Olivia is thrilled at the thought of being at his side.
Dane Mitchell doesn’t want to be forced into marriage. He is a soldier, a fighter, and has a bigger purpose in life. He doesn’t have the time to deal with a spoilt pampered princess such as Olivia, but owes his life to Evan, Olivia’s father. He accepts the marriage.
But that doesn’t mean he has to like it.
Books by Chantal Fernando:
Resisting Love Series
Wind Dragons MC Series
I stand when I hear the sounds of the doors opening, and the men start walking inside. My eyes scan each of their faces, looking for him. I’ve heard the women talk about him. Dane, his name is.
“No more procrastinating Olivia,” my father says from next to me. His eyes don’t turn to me, instead roam his soldiers. I’m twenty-one today, and I can no longer put it off. My father wants me to get married. I talked him out of choosing someone for me, instead he gave in and said I could choose who I want to marry. I have never even had a conversation with most of these men, so I guess it doesn’t really make a difference, except for the fact that there is one man I’ve seen around that catches my attention each time. I may as well choose someone I’m physically attracted to. I hold my breath when I see him walk through the door. Dressed in all black, tight black T-shirt, black cargo pants and combat boots, I can see his muscles flex as he walks. Powerful thighs that have caught my eye more than once, and the untameable vibes surrounding him make me want him even more. He runs a hand through his dark hair, his green eyes scanning the room. He’s always on alert. Ready for anything.
He’s a warrior of our time.
I stand up on my tip toes and speak into my father’s ear. “The one dressed in black that just walked through the door.” I know his name, but I don’t speak it. My father looks to the entrance and purses his lips when he sees the man I’m talking about.
“Dane? He’s my best solider,” he says, not looking happy. His green eyes, just like my own, narrow slightly. “I have other plans for him.”
“Then he will make a great future leader.”
His lips tighten. “He is already a great leader, but he belongs on the field. He takes the most dangerous missions and makes sure everyone gets home safely. The soldiers need him more than you do.”
“I won’t stop him from going beyond the walls,” I say. In fact, maybe he could take me with him.
“You are okay with an absent husband?” he asks, studying me.
I shrug. It didn’t matter. He was the only man who had ever caught my eye, and it went further than his good looks. He had something about him. An aura of danger. He was a man you want on your side, and I happen to want him standing next to mine. “Wouldn’t you want your only daughter to be well protected?” I ask him, looking back towards the man we are discussing.
Going by my father’s strained face, I can see that he really doesn’t want to give his best soldier up. “Head to your room,” he says. I kiss him on the cheek, give Dane one last lingering look, then do as I’m told.
Meet Chantal Fernando:
New York Times, Amazon & USA Today Bestselling Author Chantal Fernando is twenty seven years old and lives in Western Australia. Lover of all things romance, Chantal is the author of the best selling books Dragon’s Lair, Maybe This Time and many more. When not reading, writing or daydreaming she can be found enjoying life with her three sons and family.
Chantal Fernando Web Tracks:
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