Ahavah Ehyeh (ahavah) wrote,
Ahavah Ehyeh

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Quite Contrary, by Richard Roberts

Quite Contrary, by Richard Roberts, is one of my “to be read” books for my 2017 Reading Challenge.

Quite Contrary

Good concept, boring execution – most of the reviews say the same thing, so I'm not sure why there are so many 3- and 4-stars. I'm giving one star because I worked on this for weeks and could not drag myself past the 30% mark, though I really, really tried.

I normally like fairy tale retellings, but this just didn't work for me. Quite Contrary is about a foul-mouthed, supposedly-twelve-year-old protagonist who gets lost at a Halloween party and finds herself moving through various fairy tale and mythological realms. Mary is quite contrary indeed, but she's just not a main character I can get interested in. She's a jerk, all she does to get to the next land is get lost again. I can't really get invested in the secondary characters either when I know we're just going to breeze by into the next place suddenly, without any apparent rhyme or reason. This also means Mary has very little agency except for the ability to curse and kick people.

I'm very pro-f-word and pro-sex, but neither seemed believable coming from a twelve-year-old who supposedly hasn't even hit puberty yet. She focuses a lot on whether other girls have their adult assets and if guys are the kind that horny, puberty-stricken chicks go for. It was already feeling a bit uncomfortable for me.

I did like the part where she got to the Viking land, though her sudden bond with someone's dad was weirdly creepy. I was hoping she would pick up sidekicks or something, but I got invested in her new friends only to see her run off and land in a new place again without them (and they so wanted to become heroes!). She'd already lost Rat-in-Boots, though maybe he comes back later. It sounds like they spend more time together, but the book still hasn't told me. I got bored and took yet another break.

When I finally picked up the book again, hoping to power through, I realized I was only at 30% and became so discouraged. I looked at reviews to see if it was worth continuing, and other reviews say that it gets even more sexually charged, especially between Mary and her wolf, and it seems to continue with the same random 'look at this cool world' story arc meander. I just can't invest myself in finishing it, and that's disappointing for something I was certain I would enjoy.
Tags: books, reviews

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