Review: Tumble & Fall by Alloy Entertainment and Alexandra Coutts
Release date: September 17th, 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Series: No, thank God
Rating: I wold like to drop an asteroid on this book.
DNF page 212.
A novel about the end of days full of surprising beginnings
The world is living in the shadow of oncoming disaster. An asteroid is set to strike the earth in just one week’s time; catastrophe is unavoidable. The question isn’t how to save the world—the question is, what to do with the time that's left? Against this stark backdrop, three island teens wrestle with intertwining stories of love, friendship and family—all with the ultimate stakes at hand.
Alexandra Coutts's TUMBLE & FALL is a powerful story of courage, love, and hope at the end of the world.
|This photo encapsulates my every feeling about this book.|
Reading this book was like walking into a bakery. I saw, behind the glass, the most beautiful, most appetizing cake I've ever seen. Everything about the outside of this cake was gorgeous. Whoever piped the frosting is a true artist. I read the menu to see what flavor the cake would be, and OMG, it sounded delicious! It had everything I liked inside it! So of course I bought it. I bit into it, expecting rich, moist cake, only to realize... it was made of sawdust. And garbage. And sliced tomatoes (I hate sliced tomatoes).
Reading this book was kind of like that.
I mean, do you see that cover? That is one stunning cover. The title is gorgeous and gets the song "Stand by Me" thoroughly stuck in my head. The synopsis is intriguing. All the icing is inviting and well-done. But what the icing is covering... no.
Once again, I have learned the hard way that things are not what they appear.
Sometimes, I DNF a book because it's offensive, or really poorly written. This book is neither of those things, but it is bad. Blah characters, no plot, and wretched world-building. Never once does it feel like the world is coming to an end. There's no urgency, even though it's these people's last week alive. The internal logic of the characters is just a mess. And worst of all, this book has no heart.
"But Gillian!" you may be thinking, quite justly. "If you hated it so, why did you read so much of it?"
Let me summarize the "plot". There are three separate story lines told by three different, utterly interchangeable POV voices: Sienna, Zan, and Caden. Heck if I can tell you one thing about their personalities, Sienna in particular. She has an INCREDIBLY BORING story where she falls in love with this boy Owen in three days. On the surface, I SHOULD get it--world is ending, time is rushed, everybody is falling in everlasting love because everlasting doesn't mean anything anymore. But it's not like that. She means it, Daddy, she really looooves him. She's going to abandon her father and little brother right before the apocalypse because she lurves him. Even though I have no idea how or when or why Sienna and Owen are in love. Or if they are actually even people. I might have dreamt them. I kept forgetting Owen's name.
Zan's storyline showed one or two glimmers of promise. Zan's boyfriend died ten months ago. A mystery drops into her lap concerning his whereabouts on the day he died, so she and her boyfriend's best friend, Nick, go on an adventure. This had potential, but... man, things just got weird. And boring. This book is mostly excruciatingly, soul-suckingly boring. Nick was actually a decent character, and I like to think more came out of this story further on in the book, but once they found the horrible Gretchen person, I just could NOT.
And Caden's story. What. The. Hell? He legitimately gets kidnapped by his uber rich father and it's all so WEIRD. Like, the weirdest of weird. I don't understand the logic of this story. None of the characters behave like real people! Like, the world is ENDING, Caden, CALL YOUR MOM AND SISTER AND LET THEM KNOW YOU'RE ALIVE AND LOVE THEM. And OMG, he and his father are so weird. They go hunting? The dad hires his son a prostitute? I don't even? I can no longer even.
And if you think these three, disparate story lines intersect in any way, guess again. They may be set on and around the same island, but they have less than nothing to do with one another. Switching chapters and POVs was like switching books. And I seriously cringed everytime it got to Sienna's, because Sienna's was by far the dullest and most irritating.
Obviously this book was a huge failure and an even bigger disappointment for me. I was SO looking forward to Tumble & Fall. It was one of the books I was most hoping to get at BEA, and I normally ADORE Macmillan books, but I just cannot with this one. Like The 100, I don't think it's packaged-by-Alloy-ness did it any favors. This book tries valiantly to be deep, to have heart, to be poignant, but it just plain doesn't.
So I DNFed. I'm not particularly proud of it. It's not something I often do. But I've only got so much time, and there are so many books out there that WILL grab my attention and move me deeply. But this ain't it.