Publication Date: July 6, 2016
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
I listened to The Awakening, which was the first book in The Vampire Diaries and thought something had gone wrong with my ipod because the book ended, just ended without a resolution. Nothing had gone wrong with my ipod. Although I’ve had the best intentions of completing the series because people tell me it’s good and there’s the television show, I haven’t moved beyond that initial disappointment of being left hanging.
There are so many book series out currently that show you how it’s done. (Any Kelley Armstrong series is a safe bet because she pretty much always delivers!) Satisfy your reader by making the first book a complete story with action and resolution. That makes me a happy camper.
All of this leads me to The Departed. The premise for The Departed is quite good. Gwen is a high school student whose typical day starts with texts between her and her best friend, Lana. This day that didn’t happen. But Lana’s dad is strict so maybe he confiscated her phone for some infraction. At school, Gwen learns that there are other people missing and then determines that Lana and her family are also among the missing. A couple of weeks pass and the rumor is that the missing were part of the rapture. Gwen receives an email from Lana telling her that she’s fine and that she and a few hundred others are being held in an underground compound. Lana and the guy she has a crush on, Isaiah, mastermind a breakout plan.
Oddly that’s the book and why I say oddly is because the above is a paraphrase of the book blurb. You’ve read pretty much the entire story right there. The ending is a dreaded cliffhanger.
The majority of the book is “tell” and not “show.” And frankly that doesn’t always bother me. Some writers just write so well that you could be totally engrossed with their three page long description of a peony flower. The Departed, however, has pages about the church doctrine, very dry reading. Also, for three-quarters of the book, nothing really happens. There’s a lot of talk, a lot of Gwen sitting in class while people debate what’s going on, a lot of her father watching the news, but no action.
At the 75% mark, Gwen and Isaiah go into action. At the 96% mark, there’s no resolution. I don’t think I’m alone in always hoping that a book is going to leave me satisfied. Yes, I know that Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy was a trilogy and therefore the story wasn’t over-over at the end of the first book or the second, but she ended each book with a satisfying ending. I guess I’m not altogether impressed with book cliffhangers, especially when the first book doesn’t have much happen. It just seems a ploy to have readers purchase the second. The key, if you want this marketing strategy to work, is that your readers have to be thoroughly engaged with your first book. You have to give them something tantalizing and yummy. You have to make them care about your characters and what happens to them so that they will happily be led to your next book.
For me, none of that happened with The Departed, so I won’t read the next one.
In its favor, the writing was good; the premise was good; the interaction between Gwen and Isaiah was good.
I was provided with an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
rating: (2 butterflies and a ladybug)