Monday, May 20, 2013

[Review: Night School by C.J. Daugherty]

"Night School"
Author: C.J. Daugherty
Series: Night School #1
Pages: 400
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Date Published: May 21st, 2013
Publisher: Kathrine Tegen Books
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review


Allie's world is falling apart...

She hates her school. Her brother has run away. And she's just been arrested.


Now her parents are sending her away to a boarding school where she doesn't know a soul.

But instead of hating her new school, Allie finds she's happy there. She's making friends. And then there's Sylvain, a suave French student who openly flirts with her. And Carter, the brooding loner who seems to have her back.

Soon, though, Allie discovers Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school. Nothing there is as it seems. And her new friends are hiding dangerous secrets

My Thoughts:

I can't tell you that Night School was a bad book.  I can't tell you that the plot wasn't well thought out, or that the halls of Cimmeria weren't beautifully described, but I can tell you that this book didn't work for me.  It bums me out to admit that, because there was so much promise between the 400 pages that create this story.  But in the end I ended up being frustrated with this book.

The book was well written and Daugherty had a way of describing the halls and grounds of Cimmeria in a way that brought it to life.  Giving us a delightfully Gothic setting for the story.  I could imagine being in the boarding school and she nailed the feeling of British architecture.  The details that she weaved into the building were brilliant and some of them even made your blood run a little cold.  I loved getting lost in the halls of the school and surrounding areas.

She also created a really interesting plot.  Everything about this book screams "paranormal", but because I read a few reviews before digging in I knew that isn't what I was going to get and that excited me.  There is mystery and shocks and gore in abundance.  And the plot Daugherty created has some twists and turns, which I like.  Nothing is as it seems, and everyone is lying to each other and keeping secrets.

But somewhere something got lost for me.  I'm still baffled at what happened while I was reading this book.  When I kept digging deeper into the world of Night School I came to the realization that Daugherty's beautiful descriptions and interesting plot were butting heads.  They were both vying to be the best part of the book and what ended up happening is that the descriptions ended up overpowering the plot most times.  While both sides of the writing were done so well, the battle was distracting as a reader.  I honestly don't know how it happened, but it did.  

I think the plot also felt drawn out.  Nothing extremely exciting happened until 50% into the book (in the eARC).  Yes, there was a lot of intrigue leading up to that point, but I wanted some answers.  Any answers would have been good before that 50% mark, but I didn't get them.  And the conclusion after reading 400 pages left me wanting more.  The idea behind Night School is an amazing one and I am interested to see what happens in the next book, but Night School itself felt like 400 pages of set up.  Well thought out set up, but set up none the less.

The characters were interesting, but I have to admit that I didn't feel overly connected to any of them.  Carter pulled most of my attention.  I really liked him.  And near the end I started to get what Allie was all about, which made me like her more as well.  I feel like the characters lacked something, and I think that that has to do with the pacing of the book.  Though at the same time, each one was used really well.

As you can tell this book was extremely hard for me to review.  So many of the things that made this book good also hindered it, leaving me utterly baffled.  If you're looking for a book that's not a typical read, give this one a shot.  Who knows you just might connect with it better than I did?!

                3 Unicorns = I liked it but something just didn't work for me!


Jenni @ Alluring Reads said...

Awww it's too bad that this one lost you along the way because it sounds like it held so much promise. The first half of your review definitely has me curious though and I think that I will still give this one a go and just hope that I have better luck with it! Great review as always chick!

Ashley said...

Hmmm, bummer you did not connect with it better. I don't know if I can wait until 50% to get some questions, I might hold off until my TBR pile dwindles some :) Great review!

Ashley @ The Quiet Concert