Review: Envy by Gregg Olsen (Empty Coffin #1)

Title: Envy (Empty Coffin #1)
Author: Gregg Olsen
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Crime, Paranormal
Publisher: Splinter
Synopsis/Summary: Murder is such a dirty word…
New York Times bestselling adult true crime author Gregg Olsen makes his YA debut with Empty Coffin, a gripping new fiction series for teens based on ripped-from-the-headlines stories…with a paranormal touch.
Crime lives--and dies--in the deceptively picture-perfect town of Port Gamble (aka “Empty Coffin”), Washington. Evil lurks and strange things happen--and 15-year-olds Hayley and Taylor Ryan secretly use their wits and their telepathic “twin-sense” to uncover the truth about the town's victims and culprits.
Envy, the series debut, involves the mysterious death of the twins' old friend, Katelyn. Was it murder? Suicide? An accident? Hayley and Taylor are determined to find out--and as they investigate, they stumble upon a dark truth that is far more disturbing than they ever could have imagined.
Based on the shocking true crime about cyber-bullying, Envy will take you to the edge--and push you right over.



    Let me just start by saying that I can NOT finish this book. This book sounds promising from reading the blurb and I was excited to get into it but I am VERY disappointed.

    The plot is mainly a whodunit storyline, that's good, it's a classic and you can hardly imagine anything to go wrong. But that's not the case for Envy. The story is written in various POVs. Actually, there were so many POVs that I've lost count already. Now, various POVs aren't bad, they can actually be very useful if you want to describe how several characters feel about a certain event, but the problem of POVs in Envy is they are too random. In each chapter, which is mostly only three to four pages (short, I know), there were already various POVs appearing. I was left confused after each chapter, and when I tried to recall what I just read, I couldn't. That's just it, the book is too messy and the POVs are all messed up that I am not sure what each chapter's purpose is to the building of the story. Basically, you start with one random character's POVs (I have no idea why some POVs are even necessary), than after a few thoughts and a hell lot of unnecessary descriptions, sometimes followed by a few events, you switched to another character's POV that has nothing to do with the situation of the pervious narrator. It was unexpected, and not in a good way, and I was seriously annoyed by it.

    Basically, the plot was supposed to be that the two main characters, Hayley and Taylor, they are twin sisters by the way, trying to solve the murder (or is it a suicide?) of Katelyn, their deceased (ex-)friend. But the story is so poorly written (not the language though, some sentences are great, meaningless, but great) that I am not even sure Hayley and Taylor are the protagonist of the story. The story doesn't focus much on them trying to solve the crime, instead we were treated with jumbles of thoughts of other secondary characters. To put it simply, the story lacks focus. "What are you trying to do?" "Aren't you suppose to talk about how Hayley and Taylor solve the mystery?" are two questions that I often ask after reading chapter after chapter of dragging descriptions and unrelated sub-plots. There are occasionally flash-backs, apparently trying to explain how Katelyn's life became such a mess before she died. They were good additions, but they ended too abruptly, and I thought the flash-backs would resume after a few chapters, maybe a character completing her thought on the event, but NO, we don't such a luxury, instead we were left with endless questions of why the flash-back was necessary and what happened after that.

    I read a good (figuratively speaking) half of the book before I decided to stop reading it all together. I usually complete a book no matter how painful it is to continue, but I really can't do it anymore. I was in no mood to pick the book for over a week and I think that's a good enough reason to quit.


    So it was said in the beginning of the book that this story was based on a real-life incident, good, so the world-building would be believable since it actually happened. I read half of the book and there were no major problems with the town of Pot Gamble.

    What I had problem about, is the paranormal aspect. Hayley and Taylor are supposed to have powers, what kind of powers, I don't know, I can't describe it. It's like a psychic thing, touching, thinking about a person or an object and you can somehow connect with them. And that's the problem, the paranormal powers the twin sisters have are very vague. Is it really too much work to research the name of the power your protagonist has? I just want to know what power is it, I am not even asking for backstories like how did they get the power, I just wanted to know what it is and how it works. Is that too much too ask?


     There are many characters in Envy and almost every character has their own POVs, even the anatomist of Katelyn has her own POV, I mean, what's the point of telling me how Katelyn was anatomized? I don't want to know, you just have to tell what the professionals think, is it a murder? Or is it a suicide? You DON'T have to complicate things by giving some no name character a POV, it's annoying to get used to a new POV and this just confuse readers a whole lot.

     Also, apparently, the teenagers in this book smoke and drink at age FOURTEEN. I'm 14 and I don't smoke or drink, neither does ANY of my peers. I know it's a somewhat common issue in teenagers right now, but do you really think a 14 year old, someone isn't even in high school yet, would smoke or drink? Where's your common sense!? Sure, there might be cases of it, but the author actually treat it like it's a COMMON thing in the lives of 14-year-olds. Seriously? Dude, do your research!


    I am seriously disappointed with Envy and I don't think I would recommend it to my friends, but if you decided to give it a try, good luck and hope you'll have a better experience with this book. My rating for this is obviously a one star, I am sad to have to give such a negative review but I think I have to speak the truth of how I feel about this book.

Rating: One star!

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