Summoned - YA Review by Rayna Grace C.

Reader: Rayna Grace C.
Age: 15
Title: Summoned (Redemption's Heir #1)
Author: Anne M. Pillsworth
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pub Date: 06/24/14
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: From what I gathered from the 70 pages I could muster reading, this book had clear plot development, but poor character development for the major characters and utterly lacking in foreshadowing. I tried for over a month to finish this book, but despite my iron will I just couldn't do it; the lack of suspense made it too difficult to read. The clearest example of this was in the first few pages, when the writer tried to weave a mood of suspense and mystery into the story surrounding an old newspaper ad the main character found which asked for a magic apprentice, dated 1895 but offered an email address in its contact information (!!!!). The realization that anything was amiss at all with the ad was thrown in at a seemingly random time, like it was paraphrased and pasted in from a different part of the story because the editor wanted it moved. There was no building of suspicion or any fear exhibited from any of the characters that saw the ad, even though it was the spookiest thing ever (seeing as it was also found in an ancient book within a bookstore’s shelves— which was not listed in any of the store’s inventories, so it was given away to the main character for free). Not only was this confusing for the reader, but it made the book seem dull. If the protagonist was not the least bit concerned, why should I have cared? The remainder of what I read of the book continued in a similar fashion, where spooky things would (or should have been) happening and everyone was acting really laid-back and nonchalant about every plot development.

        The other major issue with this book was that the author somehow managed to give the minor characters unique personality traits (although sometimes they seemed more like labels the reader was supposed to memorize rather than a live person) whereas the major characters did not feel like characters at all, but more two different narrators with different sets of vocabulary. Their personalities barely showed through at all and they ended up being quite passive throughout the entire first section, not making very many choices that either thickened the plot or revealed their nature. Furthermore, the teenage protagonist’s perspective was painful to read because none of the descriptions of scenery or people were vivid or in any way provided a good vision of what is should have been depicting. Using the correct slang seemed to be more important to the author than the actual content at some points, which made the book frustrating to read. The adult main character, however, provided good imagery of people and places, which makes me think that the author believed she needed to dumb down her vocabulary and writing style to fit the character, but really it was overall boring and somewhat insulting not only  to my own intelligence, but to all teenagers across the board.

        So, long story short, the major characters in this book were boring, the teenage main character seemed too dumb, and there was no suspense whatsoever.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book was forgettable because the main characters were not relatable or the teensiest bit interesting, the only “cool” trait about them being the ancient magic that was thrust into their lives, which doesn't count because that characteristic must exist for any of the plot to occur. Furthermore, the absence of suspense throughout the novel makes the point of reading the book unclear to nonexistent.
Cover: I think this cover is alright, the vivid colors caught my eye on the shelf immediately. However, when I walked around with this book at school, two different people on one day asked if it was a comic book because apparently the cover has a comic book style. Honestly, I didn't notice the similarities until after it was mentioned and I stared at the cover for a while, but just to prevent confusion for consumers later I thought it should be mentioned.
Age Range: 12 through 15
Quality:  2Q Needs more work
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

tags:  fantasy / Redemption's Heir / ya lit

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