Monday, January 3, 2011

Review: Cloaked by Alex Flinn

Author: Alex Flinn
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: N/A
Pages: 256
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: February 8, 2011
How Received: Star Book Tours

SummaryJohnny’s not your average hero. But a little magic changes everything.

There isn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. It all starts with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess. And before Johnny knows it, he is on a mission in the Everglades, with only a flock of swans and a talkative fox named Todd to help guide him against the forces of an evil witch.

My Thoughts:
Cloaked’s premise is unique and laced with several different fairytales. There were some fairytales I recognized from my copy of Grimm’s, but there were also some that were new to me. I was interested at the beginning to see how Flinn would play out this modern fairytale. Then my interest dwindled because of Johnny. While I was reading this book, I felt like I was just coasting along. There was no addicting factor to it. I wasn’t that interested in finding out what happens, because I could pretty much guess at what happens (and in the end, I was right). The predictability was over-the-top. It doesn’t keep you guessing, and nothing is really a surprise. There was nothing to push me into finishing this book besides the fact that I had a deadline to read it for the ARC tour.

I tried really hard to get absorbed into this book – into the fairytale – but it just didn’t happen. I just wasn’t interested. The villain was so stupid. Not stupid in a bad way, but stupid in a this-is-so-not-believable way. Going as far to kidnap and turn a prince into a frog just so the princess will marry her son? I’m sorry, but that’s such a stupid reason to turn a prince into a frog . I’m all for the fantastical and magical element, but there needs to be a valid driving force for a villain to be... well... villainous. I seriously kept rolling my eyes whenever the villains would come back. I think my only favorite “sub-story” in the entire book was the sub-plot that was derived from “The Six Swans” (probably because it was my favorite fairytale as a kid).

Lastly, the main character, Johnny, downright pissed me off and made me want to bash myself in the head whenever he spoke or thought something. Since it was in 1st person, that happened a lot. He made me sympathize with him at first: he’s poor, works hard for his money, and has to support his mom. While that’s great and all, it also made me draw up the conclusion that he would be humble. He was sooo opposite of humble. He kept looking down on people, even ones that helped him. He didn’t even consider the princess when she told him the truth, just deeming her as crazy (but hot). The way he adamantly refuses to believe her at first was so annoying – a bit of resistance would have been believable, but he totally didn’t even give her the benefit of the doubt. 

Also, Johnny makes some dumb decisions. And it wasn’t like it was in the making-dumb-decisions-at-first-but-progressing-as-the-story-goes-along-and-learning-from-them way. I don’t feel he grew as a character at all. The “love” he felt for Meg felt so forced and un-fairytale-like. He didn’t even give her a second glance for 95% of the book, but all of a sudden when another guy is in the picture, he’s suddenly in complete love with her. Um, okay I could believe that if he had prior feelings to her, but it just felt forced. Like he was treating Meg as a possession and only wanted her when he couldn't have her. I could not stand Johnny as a main character and it was hard to stomach reading in his perspective. He totally rubbed me the wrong way.

Cover MusingsThis isn’t the cover I had, but I liked it more than the cover I had. The flowers have this ethereal glow to them that is so pretty. But my like for it pretty much ends there. I see no relevance it has to the story (unless the flowers are supposed to mean something?) and probably wouldn’t pick it up if I was casually browsing in a bookstore. =x

Memorable Quotes:
Staring into Victoriana’s eyes, she doesn’t seem to be the girl from the newspapers and the tabloids, the party girl who cares only about clothes and drinking. Instead, her eyes are sort of sad, like she feels trapped in her life, just as I am in mine. (pg. 12)
“I mean, no, we haven’t heard of this particular frog. But it’s possible we might find out about him. There’s a great deal of connectivity between transformed beings. I’m told there’s even an e-group, though my siblings and I haven’t been able to participate due to an unfortunate combination of lack of fingers and the fact that the desk clerk is online all night.” He gives the sleeping clerk a reproachful look. (pg. 72)
I pull the fabric back, close my eyes, and make what I hope is my last wish. “I wish I was outside, behind this building, not in the street, not underwater, hidden so I can’t be seen.”
An instant later, I’m in a garbage Dumpster. The cloak has a sick sense of humor, but no one will see me. (pg. 99-100)

Overall Thoughts/Final Comments: I suppose this book was okay, but it wasn’t horrible, either. The fantasy/fairytale-like element of the book was poorly done and it had no addicting factors whatsoever. I found myself at a loss while trying to write this review. It’s easy to talk about things I hate, or things I like. Cloaked had something I hated (Johnny), but barely anything I liked. So, for the first time since I started blogging, I was stumped when trying to write a review. Probably why it’s my shortest review yet. I also usually measure a book by its amount of memorable quotes, but Cloaked takes the cake for having the fewest least memorable quotes for a book I’ve read. I was disappointed by Cloaked a lot because a lot of people loved Flinn’s earlier work and swore up and down by her. I just didn’t see it in this book. Definitely a miss for me, but I’ll still try out her other books.

Rating: 2/5

**I received this ARC from Star Book Tours. Thank you Katelyn!


Cass said...

Hmm...I see. Thanks for the honest opinion. I may try my luck with Beastly then.

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

It's a shame you didn't enjoy it, because I usually love fairytale inspired stories and fairytale retellings.

Kat said...

Too bad about Cloaked, because Beastly is at the top of my to-read stack right now. I've heard it's excellent. I think the cover is cool, but it's weird that you couldn't see how it even tied into the story. (Maybe they just drew on some random flowers,lol) Anyway, thanks for the honest review.

Danna (Bananas For Books) said...

I felt the same way about Beastly. Too bad Cloaked is close to the same:( Johnny sounds terrible:P Thanks for the honest review Kristina!

Emi said...

Hey, this book comes out the day after my birthday. :x

Anyway, thanks for the review! I listened to the audiobook version of Beastly and enjoyed it, even if the main character was a jerk for the majority of it. Sounds like Cloaked follows the same sort of pattern. I like the idea of 'modern fairy tales' though, so I'll probably pick it up if it falls into my hands. :3

Unknown said...

Thanks for the review, gives me great insight on all these awesome books!

Nina B. said...

I'm sorry you didn't like this book. At least, I read this before I put this on my TBR :D

Thank you for dropping by my blog! I really, really promise to read those books, I can't risk you kidnapping my mascot :-P

Brush Up On Your Reading

Cialina at said...

Thanks for your review! I had a feeling that this was one of those books that I know I'm not going to like so I didn't even bother adding it to my TBR. Your review definitely cemented that decision. Kind of glad you tackled it before I did.

Michelle Santiago said...

hi kristina!

oh dear. sorry it didn't quite work out for you. i have yet to read an alex flinn book. been wanting to check out beastly for a while. thanks for your review :)

Kristina Barnes♥ said...

Cass: Definitely. I hear a lot of good things about Beastly, so I'm going to try that out as well. :)

Sam: I normally do too! I just really couldn't enjoy this one because of the main character. :/

Kat: I've heard Beastly is excellent, as well! It's getting a lot of hype right now since the movie is coming out soon! The only way I saw it fit into the story was when Johnny offhandedly mentions flowers in the book. But they didn't really hold much substance - it was just a passing thing. :x

Danna: Oh? I actually want to know what you thought about Beastly! I'm going to poke around your blog to see what you thought of it. :) And Johnny was terrible. I wanted to kick him in the nuts a couple of times.

Emi: I know, I saw! Hello, girl, I'm like... your stalker. I know these things. :P The MC was a jerk in Beastly, too? Did he learn from his jerkiness ways, at least? The MC in Cloaked certainly didn't. :/

Jen: You're welcome! :D

Nina: Haha, yeah... Well, I'll still try to read Beastly so I'll let you know how that goes and if I thought it was better than Cloaked (which I probably will =x). LOOOL! Good, I'm glad my threat worked! >:) Although I do have this awesome bed for ARGH in my room all set up already. :(

Cialina: I actually signed up for the tour because of all the hype Beastly was getting. You know, so many people loved Beastly so obviously Cloaked was awesome too, right? Wrong. :/ Maybe it's just me being a hard-butt and being too critical. But I just didn't enjoy this story.

Chelley: Hey! I definitely recommend checking out Beastly before you check out Cloaked. :) And if you do check it out, lemme know what you think of it!

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