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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Book Battle: We Have a Winner!


After two weeks of reading and deliberating, Jacob's Beloved and I have chosen a winner for Round 1, Bracket 6

Here are the two contenders:

I will be covering the critic Q&A for The Season by Sarah MacLean while Jacob's Beloved with be covering the critic Q&A for Ash by Malinda Lo.

-Is it visually appealing?
JacobsBeloved: Yes, the three young women are beautiful and dressed impeccably, while the design is not so cluttered as to be distracting. 

Book Vixen: In a way, yes, but the girls on the cover are not how I envisioned Alex, Ella and Vivi. The girls on the cover look more like modern day debutantes. Looking at the cover, without reading the book blurb, I would not have known that this book is a historical romance novel.

-Is it applicable to the text?
JacobsBeloved: Yes, the three young women are obviously Alex, Vivi, and Ella. The three dresses are not quite right - I found the matching descriptions of Vivi and Ella's dresses for a specific function, but the dress that Alex wears to the same function is not the one on the cover.

Book Vixen: Oh yes. We know the 3 debutantes on the cover are Alex, Ella and Vivi. One of the main focal points of the book is friendship and in my eyes the cover captures that.

-Does the title work for the text?
JacobsBeloved: Certainly, as the text begins and ends with the four-month Season for the titled English elite.

Book Vixen: Yes. The title doesn't give too much away and the storyline is plotted around "The Season".

-Are there recognizable protagonist(s) and antagonist(s)?
JacobsBeloved: To some extent, yes. As the text was part mystery, the clear antagonist wasn't truly revealed until the end.

Book Vixen: Clearly. I had an inkling early on in the story who was behind the murder and other shenanigans.

-Is there noticeable progression in character development?
JacobsBeloved: Yes, all of the main characters matured in some way, some more than others, with the exception of the antagonist, whose character obviously deteriorated.

Book Vixen: Yes. I enjoyed reading how Alex went from anti-marriage to falling in love with her The One. She was quite stubborn in the beginning of the book when it came to The Season. I enjoyed watching how Alex grew wiser and more mature as the story progressed.

-Are the characters distinguishable from one another?
JacobsBeloved: Most of the main characters had traits that separated their personality from one another, but I had trouble distinguishing between Alex's three brothers, as they all seemed to behave alike.

Book Vixen: Very much so. Each of the girls have their own unique personality that compliment one another. Alex's brothers also have their qualities.

-Are all "loose threads" accounted for?
JacobsBeloved: Yes, the murder was solved and Gavin was officially courting Alex with hints at a future marriage, so everything was accounted for.

Book Vixen: There was nothing that I saw that wasn't completed or answered by the end of the book. The mystery was solved. The romance between Gavin and Alex matured.

-Does it have good flow?
JacobsBeloved: The plot seemed to falter every time there was a journal entry by the antagonist, especially since what would happen in the plot following them didn't usually match up with what was in the journal entry.

Book Vixen: I think the book flowed well for the most part. There was a point where the whole mystery aspect was sidelined for a while, while the story focused on Gavin and Alex's romance.

-Is it specific to the named genre?
JacobsBeloved: The book came to me classified as a mystery, but I found that aspect of the text to be lacking most of the time, especially when focusing on the romance part of the text. I'm not usually a fan of mysteries, but the mystery of Gavin's father's death really seems to take a backseat to the budding romance between Gavin and Alex.

Book Vixen: Being that this is the first book I've read in this genre (historical romance) this is hard for me to gauge.

-Is it accurate to what is claimed? (as in year, country, language, etc.)
JacobsBeloved: The text claimed to fall in the year 1815, and there were lots of little details that made the text seem authentic, such as the three young women discussing the works of Jane Austen while identifying her as an anonymous author, the proper clothing attire for both men and women, and the proper decorum of both as well. Alex did seem to break with decorum a questionable number of times, but I'll attribute that to her personality and not a fault in background.

Book Vixen: I am no history buff. In fact, I found little interest in the subject all through junior and senior high school which is why, until now, I have shied away from historical romance novels. There was one part of dialogue that raised an eyebrow - Alex says "I am not in a funk." - I'm a bit surprised that the word funk was used. It doesn't seem like the word is from that era but I could be wrong. It seems like the novel was lacking the linguistic "fluff" of those times (I'm comparing this to movies I've happen to come across where you can barely make out what the characters are saying, however, those movies could have very well been from a different era).

-Does it get in the way of plot/character development?
JacobsBeloved: Not particularly, in many ways the background information aided the maturation of the various characters by forcing them into introspection, as well as a desire to question and test their boundaries.

Book Vixen: Surprisingly, it didn't. I was a bit intimidated at first but found myself about to keep up with the language used. And it was done in a very "young adult" way.

JacobsBeloved: While it's not likely I would have picked this particular book off the shelf if it were not for this competition, I have read similar works in the genre of historical romance for adults, and I have plans to read more of this genre in the future. I did enjoy this book and I would rate it 3 out of 5 stars.

Book Vixen: I'm giving this book 4/5 frogs. I was pleasantly surprised. If it weren't for the Book Battle, I wouldn't have read this book. In fact, I was dreading having to read this. At that point, I was leaning more towards ASH winning because I've been wanting to read ASH. Now, all's fair in this match!

And the winner for Round 1, Bracket 6 is:

The Season by Sarah MacLean!

I have to admit, before reading either of these two books I seriously thought I would have picked Ash as the winner. In fact, I wouldn't have picked up The Season to read had it not been for the Book Battle. That just goes to show you that you can't judge a book by its cover or its blurb!

Be sure to check back tomorrow and Thursday for my in-depth reviews for The Season and Ash!

To see what books won in other brackets in the YA Bloggers Debut Book Battle, be sure to check out The Shady Glade!

2 People had something to say:

  1. Natalie (Mindful Musings)May 11, 2010 10:55 AM
    Huh. I'm kind of surprised. Like you prior to the contest, I haven't read either, but based on what I'd heard, I was expecting Ash to win. I'll have to read these for myself eventually. Good job guys! :)
  2. Julie PMay 11, 2010 07:00 PM
    Historical fiction is really not my thing. But the way both of you discussed the winning book actually makes me consider reading it. Thank you for sharing!

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