I won a copy of Musical Chairs through LibraryThing.
It’s hard to comment on an incomplete novel but I’ll try. Even taking into account the fact it’s supposed to be book one in a series, twelve two-to-three-page-long chapters coupled with the lack of a full plot structure made this story fall short of a novel. Most of the story is spent having the protagonist outright tell the exposition and it ends before even reaching a climax.
Unless they are well-written, I detest first person point-of-view stories because they often fall prey to clunky dialogue and poor attempts at describing situations in the character’s voice (and I tend to wonder throughout the book who the narrator is talking to except in situations where it’s stated). That may just be my personal taste, but I found the first person usage in Musical Chairs to be distracting, awkward and nauseatingly reminiscent of Twilight. In the first chapter, after talking about how she likes to feed on emotional people, Annabel touches on how emotions are transferred into the blood and then says, “It’s a complex thing to explain so I’ll get into it a bit later on,” which leads the reader to believe she’s talking to someone or something (perhaps a diary?) about this story (considering the circumstances were peculiar compared to her other high school kills); however, Annabel’s thoughts are sprinkled throughout the text. It seems unlikely that since the fourth wall is already down that she wouldn’t just directly state how she was feeling/what she was thinking at that moment. Along with this, Annabel describes every detail about a person’s outward appearance when she first met them or every time she changed an outfit. It became a huge chunk of text containing nothing that couldn’t be briefly stated and it only reminded me that I was reading a story someone had written, which is surely not the effect the author intended. Every teenager Annabel ran into got some vague characterization (mainly consisting of the clothing they wore) but because it was written in first person, I’m not sure if Annabel viewed high school students as flat characters or it was simply bad writing. Aside from all this, I found it hard to overlook the obvious grammatical and spelling errors in the text, though these are more easily remedied.
I can’t say I would recommend this story to anyone before changes were made to it.
Let me start off by saying that I expected this story to be more about parodying Twilight and less about the ideas behind the story and its popularity, however, I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It strayed from the usual plot structure and character development to deliver a message to the reader (made more apparent by the frequent hyperlinks to external news articles). I would have preferred this to be a nonfiction novel because I feel the characters’ opinions (which I assume to be shared by the author, Jess C Scott) would have been ideally suited for that format.
The plot line about Isobel and Twue Wuv led me astray as it was portrayed as being the central focus on the story. (The main point of the story turned out to be the IM chat between Edwin, Jacobus, Stephen, and Joanne in chapter four.) Though I found the parody to be hilarious, it made me think the novel was going to be something it did not end up to be. I don’t think this book is just for those who dislike Twilight since the topics discussed span other young adult literature and American culture as a whole. I would suggest the book to anyone who wants to break free of the mindless masses and who may think their opinions aren’t shared.