Monday, August 26, 2013

[Review: Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney]

"Starry Nights"
Author: Daisy Whitney
Pages: 288
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Paranormal
Date Published: September 3rd, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format Read: ARC from BEA (gifted by Eileen)


Seventeen-year-old Julien is a romantic—he loves spending his free time at the museum poring over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, a peach falls out of a Cezanne, Degas ballerinas dance across the floor, and Julien is not hallucinating.

The art is reacting to a curse that trapped a beautiful girl, Clio, in a painting forever. Julien has a chance to free Clio and he can't help but fall in love with her. But love is a curse in its own right. And soon paintings begin to bleed and disappear. Together Julien and Clio must save the world's greatest art . . . at the expense of the greatest love they've ever known.

Like a master painter herself, Daisy Whitney brings inordinate talent and ingenuity to this romantic, suspenseful, and sophisticated new novel.A beautifully decorated package makes it a must-own in print.

My Thoughts:

This book should have been epic!  This book should have been amazing!  This book should have been the best mix of Paris, art and magic.  Instead it was a book that just didn't work.  I've really had to think about why it didn't work.  In the end it comes down to pacing and HUGE holes in the plot.  This book should have been National Treasure mixed with the paranormal.  There should have been huge amounts of adventure and epic battles and all the goodness of art history.  But what we got was the corniness of Night at the Museum battling with the awesomeness of art history and it all just got too messy for my taste.  It took me 6 days to read this book!  6 DAYS!  The book is not even 300 pages...

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it was all bad, because it wasn't.  I actually really like Whitney's writing style and her attention to the art details.  I found the historical art facts to be fascinating and things that I hadn't even thought about.  And the setting!  I visited Paris earlier this year and I could see all of the places that she kept talking about.  I love the city and I loved the bits of places that she chose to put in the pages.  

And the characters.  I loved the characters.  Okay, almost all of the characters.  Bonheur is probably one of my favorite secondary characters I've read in a long time.  He was glorious in his fancy wigs and his aprons and his parties!  And his little sister was a charmer! And Simon and Lucy and Emilie all have their parts to play. I even really liked our main man Julien.  His voice was so honest and I loved that he was trying to figure out who he was while his life was going crazy!

Then we have Clio.  I wanted to like her, she could have been awesome, but just like the normal humans who had a hard time reacting to the crazy things happening around them, she didn't feel like an honest character.  The fact that she was surrounded by some really awesome, honest characters only pointed this fact out more.  She had been in a painting for 130 years, not able to interact or observe the things around her and yet she talks just like a modern teenager.  It didn't work for me.

But even the good couldn't beat out the bad in this book's case.  It make me so bummed, but it's the truth.  Though I did like the writing, the story telling was a big mess.  I don't know how it happened, but it did.  It just didn't feel honest.  Crazy things were happening in the art world, paintings were coming to life and some were getting sick and falling apart.  The reactions of the people who worked in these huge, brilliant museums didn't react honestly.  Things were literally falling out of paintings and their calm reaction was, "Well guess I'll just mop this up" or "why does that painting look different?"  People should have been loosing their minds over the things that were happening around them, instead they seemed to act like it was fairly normal and like they were only slightly agitated about it.

So, while I have to say that I wasn't a fun of Starry Nights, I think that I am a fan of Daisy Whitney.  I'm definitely going to give another one of her books a try.  This is her first paranormal, so I'll give a contemporary a go and see what that's like!

2.5 Unicorns = It was okay but something just didn't work for me!


GillyB said...

Aw, I has a sad now. Was so hoping this would be better. I mean, the concept is just so amazing! But that girl in a painting talking like a modern teenager is a huge red flag for me.

Sandra @ Waiting For Wentworth said...

Great review. The concept was awesome, but the execution was a mess. It took me 2 weeks to get through this, and I had to MAKE myself finish. I had such high hopes for it, but it was really a disappointment.

Giselle said...

Wait.. his name is Bonheur? I'm French and that is not a normal name lol. It's the french word for "Happiness". Weird. Anyways, this book sounds like it had a lot of potential but failed to come through. Such a disappointment! One of my biggest pet peeves is unrealistic reactions to things like finding out vampires exist or well.. paintings coming to like I guess lol. This book just sounds weird all around!

Megan R said...

To bad this one didn't do it for you. However, it's nice that you found a writer you'd like to try again. Here's hoping your net book by her goes better!

Brittany S. said...

Eeeeeeek kind of a bummer! I feel like I've heard that about this book.... And yet I still want to try it haha. At least I have a fair warning! :)

Emily Anne said...

I had that gut feeling I wouldn't like this book, and here's the proof! I really loved the review because now I know that I won't read this. I'll try a different book from the author, though, cuz it sounds like I'll love her writing style, and most characters. Thanks for the save!