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Melissa L. Webb is a writer, dreamer, thinker, and seeker. She currently lives in Northern California with her dog, Buffy.
on Oct. 02, 2012 :
Courtesy of the author, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and, quite honestly, ended up liking it—but ONLY after trudging through the first half the book. While the beginning is okay—with the prologue of the Raggedy Ann Doll saving it and offering promise—the second half is fantastic.
The plot direction, Liss's true history, and every player's role are revealed at the halfway mark and can only be described as fairytale-like. Being that Liss and all her friends are writers (or "tale spinners"), it's apt and made me gush a little. The flow and dialogue improve—though yes, you should still expect the teenage pity-party and "forgive me/why me" conversations from Liss often.
I didn't connect with the her as much as I would've liked. She's not a "strong" female protagonist; she whined a bit too much for my taste, and I felt I was being told who she was than actually seeing it. Yet, it's Liss's band of friends and their loyalty to her despite her faults that truly kept me reading. I fell in love with a few of them. Their personalities are much better developed than Liss's, and I'm contemplating getting the companion book, "Restless Highways," just so I can read more of Hunter, Raven, and Cedric.
"Weaver of Darkness" isn't perfect, but Webb weaved some chilling scenes, wrote some great one-liners, and presented a couple twists and a good love triangle.
A CONTENT WARNING: Mentions suicide
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)
Chani Lynn Feener
on Sep. 25, 2012 :
Let me start off by saying what I liked about the book. The concept behind it was very interesting, that's why I was interested in reading it to begin with. I was curious to find out about the strange tattoo on her wrist, as well as why Andy died in the prologue. I liked how Webb connected his death, made it important and meaningful, by having Andy visit Liss. However, there were a lot of things I regretfully did not like about this book. For one, the point of view jumped around. One minute we would be in Liss's head and the next we've taken residence in Jeremy's. This would have been fine if we stayed there for a while, but it was only just for a couple sentences or so before we back with Liss. Another thing was the very beginning of the first chapter. Having that many characters introduced at once was confusing and off putting. I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep reading because of how confused I already was. Aside from Rob, Jeremy, and Liss, those other characters don't even seem to need to be there. They could have been introduced later on in the story, which would have made them stick better. When Sarah shows up at Liss's house later on, for instance, I no longer even recalled which one she was because they'd all been thrown at me. Another thing is the way Jeremy and Rob treat her. I get that because he's her boyfriend he's worried about her, but there are times when that over protective streak turns into something a little more intense. I was reminded of that cell phone commercial where the boy is dressed in a cell phone costume and he's constantly calling his girlfriend every four seconds. Liss is at a funeral for a boy who was like a brother to her, and Jeremy actually asks her if she's alright. Really? I understand he's just trying to look out for her, but there is such a thing as being over bearing, and not letting her properly grieve (or feel that she has the right to at least) at a funeral for one of her closest friends is kind of wrong. I want to like Jeremy, and I feel that that's also the authors goal, but it was hard when every four seconds he was practically jumping down Liss's throat with, "are you ok?". Sometimes people aren't going to be ok, and that's fine. It's healthy. I personally had a friend who died a few years ago and no one asked me if I was ok during, because no one was ok. I'm assuming that Jeremy and Rob also knew Andy, so the two of them shouldn't even be ok. I wanted Liss to be a strong character, having to deal with the burden of her nightmares and neglectful parents, but it was hard for her to seem that way because she just kept taking crap from everyone. The scene where she yells at her mom in her room, for instance. I know I'm back tracking here but I just realized I have to say something about that. Her mom literally came home to tell her Andy died, and instead she yells at her and waits to the very end of their conversation. Then, instead of feeling bad about Andy (who supposedly is like a brother) Liss feels guilty for yelling at the mom she keeps saying is a crappy parent. Huh? There's not being surprised (a thought Liss has after finding out about his death) and then there's just being callous. I'll give it to Webb though, her parent's do seem like totally nut jobs. But I would have liked to see more of that. Proof that they were really neglecting her. They seem like smart enough people, for instance, to come up with a better solution then a wrist brace to cover the tattoo. And if Liss hates it so much, she can just take it off. Sounds like her parents are never around anyway, so it's not like they'd notice her without it. We also don't know enough about her dreams from the start. Why does she think they're real? Does she believe they're connected with her tattoo? It just seemed strange that one minute she's crying over how she's a freak because of some birthmark, and the next she's dropping that her nightmares are real. But we don't see that she's ever gotten any proof of that before she sees Andy so...? I did love that bathroom scene though. The details were great and for the first real time in the story I was sitting on the edge of my seat. But, another major thing is when Liss wakes up in the hospital for about a minute just to find every one thinks she's tried to kill herself. The nurse would want to talk to her alone, without her parents there. There would also be others there who needed to talk with her about it, not just a "social worker". Suicide attempts are taken incredibly serious. It doesn't matter that her father is a doctor. People would be there who needed to hear her side of the story. It would have been simple for her to say she tripped and banged into the mirror, after all she'd been given a sedative the night before and was no doubt disoriented. She literally is just put back to sleep before she can explain herself at all and wakes up at home. A week has gone by. A week? What. She mentions that she believes her father has been keeping her asleep to make it easier on himself, but let me just say doctor or no, there is no legal way he would be able to remove his still unconscious daughter from the hospital. They would have needed to wake her up. Not to mention keeping her asleep that long counts as being in a coma. As far as we know she's literally been asleep the entire week. There's no way her dad could have done that to her. Especially not after a suicide attempt. No one would have let her leave that hospital before speaking to her extensively about that, in part for the possibility it was actually abuse by her parents or brought on by them. He would have had to the very least woken her up before moving her from the hospital. This made me so upset. It was like the author was just jumping from point A to point G because it was easier. A lot of the book happens to be that way. I want to actually see things happen, not just jump from one event to the next. To be perfectly honest, I only got halfway through the book. Maybe it picks up for the other half, but it just wasn't worth me finding out. It wasn't cohesive enough for me to get into it, or care at all about any of the characters. All of the relationships here need to be fleshed out, given more life and detail. I would recommend this book to someone who can look past all of the changes in pov, jumping about, and non believable occurrences. There are people out there who can read a book just for the overlapping story. The concept for this is great, and if it was polished better I would give it another shot just because the idea still interests me. But this isn't a quick read, so unless you know you're going to be stuck on a long flight I wouldn't read it.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
on Sep. 09, 2011 :
I loved the prologue! This book grabbed me right off the back and freaked me out. Dolls scare me. I thought the book is well written and had engaging storyline. I had a hard time identifying with the characters but overall it is a good story.
(reviewed 7 months after purchase)
on July 29, 2011 :
Definitely disturbing, but I like it. The spruceness of the title's lettering with the little flourishes set atop the slight creepiness of the cover art presents a nice contrast.
For me, the book started off reminding me of a cross between I Know What You Did Last Summer, Chucky and Scream. It did get better as I kept reading.
Minus the prologue, this book starts off common enough: boyfriend and girlfriend walking home from school with friends talking about what they're going to do that night. Then the freakiness hits the proverbial fan ...
Without giving away spoilers, I will say this novel contains twins who represent good and evil, a loyal servant/protector to the good twin, ghosts, shapeshifters, witches, demons, gods, delusions, love, human sacrifice ... this novel has it all.
Melissa - An only child stuck in a home with parents who are too busy for her.
Jerry - Melissa's boyfriend and son of the town's sheriff. He does everything he can to protect her.
Hunter - He has vowed to protect Melissa at all costs no matter the circumstance. He's wise, mysterious, strong, loyal and faithful.
Mark - New kid in school who befriends Melissa and seems to take a personal interest in her. Will he come between Melissa and Jerry?
This novel has a lot of familiar aspects (especially to an avid reader), but they're written in a style that is different and engaging. I would recommend this to any fantasy and mystery lovers.
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)
on April 15, 2011 :
Weaver of Darkness starts off well, but when a murderous Raggedy Ann doll appeared at the end of the prologue I actually laughed out loud. All the tension that had been built up was lost and never regained.
The rest of it read more like a direct to video horror movie than a book. The plot was full of clichés, the dialogue was bad, and the characters lacked depth.
(reviewed 51 days after purchase)
on April 05, 2011 :
Wow! There were some really eerie parts in this book. If you like your paranormal on the dark side this is a book you have to read. This was a little too dark for my taste but everyone's taste is different. The main characters were well written. I really felt sorry for Liss and all she went through.
It was hard to decide who I liked more for Liss, Hunter or Jerry. I have a weakness for shapeshifters so I have to admit I was leaning towards Hunter. Especially with the history he and Liss shared. I thought it was a little unrealistic how accepting he was of her relationship with Jerry. They both love her and sacrificed so much for her, though so in the end I could find it in me to accept who she did end up with.
All in all, it was fairly well written. The endearment "baby" was used way too many times. It started to get to be a bit nauseating after while. I just was disappointed by how dark it was. There was so much death, suffering, pain and betrayal. Not the type of book you want to read when you are feeling down.
(reviewed 42 days after purchase)
on March 16, 2011 :
Weaver of Darkness was a decent fantasy novel, fitting well into the current young adult lit "supernatural vs. teen" genre. The prologue, evoking an image of a common childhood toy becoming something evil, was disturbing enough to get my attention. As the story progresses, the teens in the story fill familiar roles; the reluctant heroine, the overprotective boyfriend, the faithful secretly-in-love-boy, the jealous girlfriend, and the parents who don't listen, to name a few.
The plot is reminiscent of other similar stories - a battle of good vs. evil throughout the ages, there is always a "price" for power and desire, etc. The action is fairly fluid, bogging down a little when main character Liss, gets stuck over and over on blaming herself for everything bad that is happening. The Druid characters who are introduced fill out the back story could have been more fully developed. The ending was not unexpected, especially for this genre. My one large criticism, and it is one I have of several very well-known authors, is getting caught up on one or two words or phrases that get repeated ad nauseum through the book. In Weaver of Darkness it was the repeated use of the endearments "baby" and "sweetheart". By the end of the book, my attention was wandering from the story and focusing on how many times on a single page those two words were going to appear (in one case, it was six).
Weaver of Darkness is interesting and Melissa Webb shows promise as a fantasy writer if she stays out of the trap of always needed to add that "one more word" to a sentence. (as an aside, I would expect a good editor to pick up on that kind of repetition and make note of it). Overall, a solid effort.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
on Feb. 27, 2011 :
Weaver of Darkness is a very strange novel that takes several different concepts and tries to merge them together with mixed results. The prologue is what really got me. On one hand there was the feeling of terror that was given out as this horrible thing was happening, but the inclusion of the Raggedy Ann doll as the “evil” figure was too much for me. It made me smile and laugh despite the author’s best efforts to create a frightening scene.
Sadly, after that inauspicious beginning, the novel failed to deliver in many key ways. The author attempted to include several pertinent information into the middle of a scene, creating a jarring effect. Liss, the main character and her friends are basically well-rounded, but at times the author has a tendency to fall into a cliché of high school students. Certain concepts seem to be juvenile, such as calling Liss and her friends “members of the Secret Circle”. Those things did not endear me to the work.
However, the overall plotline is well put together and the story moves along rather well, despite often over-emotional scenes that leave the reader confused or dismissive. The bare bones of a good story are there, I just believe that the author needs to work on the details that makes a novel really shine.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)