Saturday 21 February 2015

REVIEW; Thief, The Academy (The Scarab Beetle #1), by C.L. Stone


Genre: Young Adult, Drama, Mystery

Recommend: Yes

Kayli Winchester earns her rent money by pick-pocketing those she believes wouldn't miss the money, in order to take care of her brother and drunken father. However, The Academy have had their eye on Kayli and want to momentarily recruit her as she has proven to have the skills they require. 

Meeting the boys; Marc, Raven, Axel, Corey and Brandon, Kayli is thrown into a world of secrecy and joins them on a dangerous job. They're keeping an eye on one of Charleston's playboys, Blake Coaltar, who they suspect is meddling in the drug business. All Kayli has to do is pickpocket his wallet so the boys can swipe his details, and return it as soon as she can. But Blake takes a shine to Kayli putting her right in the spotlight and in harms way. 

Due to her curiosity Kayli finds herself in deep trouble as she gets too close and the boys nearly risk everything to try and save her. 

My Thoughts:
As a reader/lover of the Ghost Bird series I was quite excited to read the "adult" version, but unfortunately was let down.

Plot: The plot sort of fell apart for me. It was more about Kayli interacting with the different guys and getting to know them over anything else. There was the effort of integrating the investigation about Coaltar but it all seemed a bit rushed and added in. They also didn't have sufficient reason/evidence to have started following Coaltar; it all seemed to rely on some sort of suspicion without reason.
As for the plot-twist ending? Could tell that was coming from the get go. Not much of a surprise. 

Kayli: At first I admired her; she was quirky and such an individual and she did what she could for her family and could clearly stand up for herself. But once she was introduced to the guys she became unbearable. Why did she have to fall for every guy in the book? And why did every guy (especially as adults) all develop an attraction for her? I know she was unique but she was that special that she brought them all to her knees? She had just met them and was flirting and messing around as if she had known them for years. None of it felt real or believable. 

Writing: I generally overlook typos/errors but there were a good few in this. I would've thought by now they'd have been sorted out. There were also some factual errors etc. 
"The warmth drew me in first, followed by the rich aroma of coffee infused with mocha and a spritz of hazelnut."

Minor, but mocha is coffee and chocolate so it should read "coffee infused with chocolate." These little things just jump out at me. 

Ultimately I ended up speed-reading this to get it finished. It didn't have the allure that Ghost Bird series did. Promoted as the adult series I had expected it to be a bit more Adult-themed but it still felt like a YA novel. The drug-sub plot didn't interest me and I skipped a good bit just to get back to interesting parts. 

So why 3 star rating? 
I probably would've enjoyed this more if I had not yet read the Ghost Bird series. I found myself comparing them a lot of the time and I preferred Sang to Kayli and Sang's back story was much more alluring.

Any Good Points?
Regardless of my feelings about GB Series, I need to judge this book in its own right. It started off with 4 stars in my mind but the negatives dropped it down one. The boys were just as captivating and interesting as in GB and all had clear idiosyncrasies and their personalities were so brilliant. Axel was definitely my favourite but I enjoyed the non-romantic element of each of their relationships with Kayli. Kayli also doesn't ever try to play the victim and win them over that way; she makes it clear from the beginning that she can fend for herself and that's a breath of fresh air in novels compared to the over-used helpless heroine. 

Overall, I would recommend this novel but for mature YA over NA. Although it fell down on some aspects for me, this is mostly due to my expectations being high from GB series. It's still a half decent read, I've just read better.