Published by Bloomsbury Children's on February 10th, 2015
Genres: contemporary, young adult
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Outlandishly wealthy Grandmother VanDemere has decided to leave her vast fortune to the family member who proves him or herself worthiest-by solving puzzles and riddles on a whirlwind race around the globe, from the mines of Venezuela to the castles of Scotland. There will be eight competitors, three continents . . . and a prize worth millions.
Seventeen-year-old Avery is the black sheep of the VanDemere clan, the ostracized illegitimate daughter. Finally, she has a chance to prove herself . . . and to discover the truth about her long-lost mother.
Marshall might be Avery's uncle, but there's no love lost between the two of them. He's her main competition, and he'll do anything to win-including betray his own children.
Riley is the handsome son of Grandmother VanDemere's lawyer. As the game progresses, Avery falls hard for Riley. Suddenly, losing the game might mean losing him, too.
As the competition takes treacherous turns, it becomes clear there can only be one victor. Who can Avery truly trust? And is winning worth her life?
I am still struggling with what to rate Inherit Midnight almost a week after I have finished reading it. I didn’t hate it, but at the same time, it was so bad. So bad, you guys. Initially I was like “this is a one-star book all the way,” and I wanted to stop reading because the writing was so, so awful. But the premise did intrigue me, so I kept at it. And I finished it, even though it was hilaribad at times, so I don’t feel rating it that low is fair. At the same time, I also don’t feel that rewarding a bad book with stars is the right way to go either. So I have settled on two stars for the time being. I know I have already said this, but you guys, this book was sooooo bad.
Inherit Midnight is predictable, cheesy, the writing is horrific, and worst of all, I feel it completely trivializes bullying and uses it as a plot device. More on that later, but first I need to get the other stuff out of the way.
The Predictable and Cheesy Storyline:
It is in my opinion that every single thing that happens in this book is predictable. Right down to who will be eliminated from the competition when. I know that YA books can sometimes have simpler plotlines but teens are not stupid and this book came off like it was written for stupid people. Every trivial thing was spelled out; the book is hilariously slapstick and unintentionally funny at times, and this is never a good thing.
Avery is perfect, she has to be, and every other single person in her family is an awful excuse for a person. They have to be so Avery can be the “chosen one.” Right from the beginning I didn’t care for how flat the character were, how every single family member was a caricature of a person. If you are going to write villainous characters, they should at least be somewhat realistic.
The romance was meh. Riley is okay but he has no personality–neither does Avery for that matter (these characters are flat as hell)–and I don’t feel that the two of them together had an inkling of chemistry. I am not a big reader of romance as it is, but I can’t picture any of my blogger friends that are swooning here at all.
I know all of this is just my opinion, but I have read some wonderful young adult novels, some that were better than any other books I have read. Young adult still is, and probably will always be, my favorite age category. (It is not a genre.) But this book was just insultingly bad. I feel like I wasted my time. Not my brain because there wasn’t a single reason for me to use it.
One of the biggest reading hurdles for me to get over is believability. If an author cannot convince me, through their writing, that their characters are real, their story is truly happening–if they cannot take me away from the furniture I am sitting on and into the book, I am just not interested. This book had a fun premise but failed in its execution almost more than any book I read this ear.
But even all that would still have resulted in the book getting a 3-star review, because as bad as the book was, I still kind of guiltily enjoyed some of it. Certain scenes were fun, like the ones in the diamond mine. But no. It was the writing that was, by far, the worst thing about Inherit Midnight.
The Horribleness That Was the Writing:
“Tears trickled down my face, but I Just kept brushing them away, like wiping off sorrow.” 99%
Before I continue, as I am picking through all of the text to give you some of the passages I found silly, I have to mention that almost all of the book is dialogue. There is very little imagery, exposition, scene-setting, or sensory language. The book was poorly edited and it needed a ton of work before it went to print. The book is almost entirely telling. There is no voice, no depth, no style. I find it very hard to believe that this was published by a major publisher. It reads like a high school creative writing project. Or bad fan fiction.
“Finally I stopped and faced him with arms folded in a way that said, Don’t even think about touching me.” 91% -I didn’t know arms could do that.
“Riley bent his head and we kissed. It was wonderful, comforting and exciting at the same time. I lost myself in it until a concerned voice interrupted. ‘Riley Tate, what are you doing?'” 90% -So flat. So romantic. I am swooning. Not.
“His shoulders sagged and shame etched the lines of his face. ” -Shame etched the lines of his face? Huh?
“I pulled off my goggles. ‘Actually, it’s perfect.’ I lifted my mouth to his. He kissed me quickly but with passion and then looked into my eyes.” 86% -So. Much. Tellingggggg.
And on and on it goes. Obviously I started at the end and worked my way backward but I remember the writing being pretty shaky from the very beginning. There is just so much telling and no visual poetry. It’s simple and vague, and I hated it.
Here’s the thing: I do realize this is just going to be my opinion, but I really felt this book handled bullying as a theme rather poorly. I feel it was used as a plot device in a really lazy and slapstick way.
Avery’s family hates her and treats her cruelly, verbally and physically bullying her every time she sees them. Their reasons for doing this are unjustified, they have no morals, and are generally horrible (but unrealistic) caricatures of people. Uncle Marshall is a short portly man with a moustache (how cliche!) and a bad attitude. His son is a bully, he is aware his son is a bully, and they both are gross and disgusting to Avery.
The problem is, I kind of feel this book goes overboard with the bullying. First of all, that is not the main focus of the book. That would be the competition and the inheritance that everyone wants. The family gets their just desserts in the end (this is not a spoiler–it’s obvious), but it just felt all really contrived and lazy. It goes so overboard it’s unbelievable. There is a scene where Chase (one of the cousins) literally tries to kill Avery and Riley by trapping them down in a mine so they can’t escape. No matter how bad family is, I really don’t think they are going to try to kill you like that.
It was just stupid and borderline offensive.
Wrapping It Up:
To put it mildly, Inherit Midnight was a pretty big letdown. It was amateurish, cliche, predictable, cheesy, and had flat characters and uninspired writing. I don’t recommend it, and I pretty much saw it as a waste of my time.