Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Review: Don't Turn Around - Michelle Gagnon

Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon
Series: PERSEFoNE #1
Genre: YA, suspense, thriller
Published on August 28, 2012
Published by HarperCollins
Pages: 309
Read From: 11.30.12 - 12.2.12

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been a victim of the system ever since her parents died. Now living off the grid and trusting no one, she uses her computer-hacking skills to stay safely anonymous and alone. But when she wakes up on a table in an empty warehouse with IV in her arm and no memory of how she got there, Noa stats to wish she had someone on her side. 
Enter Peter Gregory. A rich kid and the leader of a hacker alliance, Peter needs people with Noa's talents on his team. Especially after a shady corporation called AMRF threatens his life in no uncertain terms. 
But what Noa and Peter don't realize is that Noa holds the key to a terrible secret, and there are those who'd stop at nothing to silence her for good.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Doesn’t really do much for me. It does imply a rather interesting and exciting thriller, but it’s also so basic that if it hadn’t been recommended to me, I probably would not have given it a second glance.

Characters: I felt no connection to either of the protagonists. Noa was flat, and Peter got kind of annoying after a while. He always struck me as way younger than he was supposed to be, and he got too pouty and even a little whiny at times. This was, I’ll agree, a plot-driven story as opposed to a character-driven one. But the plot itself failed to interest me all that much, and discovering that I had no good characters to make up for the lack of storyline just made me realize how dull the protagonists really were. Peter’s dad, at least, was a lot of fun to hate, especially after he makes the comment about how the wrong son died. And Cody was all right for the most part, though he, too, was bereft of dimension. Peter’s girlfriend was just annoying in every possible respect; I really wanted her to die.

The Romance: The very brief interlude between Noa and Peter, where they start noticing each other, was so sudden and so pointless that it both puzzled and irritated me. Why does there have to be a romantic attachment between them? Why?! I suspect there might develop a love triangle in the sequel between Peter, Noa, and another character the Reader meets at the very end of Don’t Turn Around. Oh boy.

Plot: At first, it starts out good: fast-paced and mysterious. The Reader doesn’t get much of a breather between incidents; Noa and Peter will have just hit a safe haven, and in a split second they’re on the run again. This is probably what saved the book at all, but the plot twist was downright lame. AMRF - the “baddies” - is sort of doing genetic experiments (very sort of), but it feels like a rip-off, honestly; an attempt at being clever. Let the Reader believe it’s genetic experiments. But it really isn’t. How shocking is that? I, quite frankly, felt cheated. Here I had prepared myself for an awesome genetic experiment, and that’s what they’re doing instead?

Believability: I’m not a geek, so I don’t know how accurate the Author’s tech details are. This may be a book that drives computer geeks up a wall, for all I know. However, there was an aspect to this story that just irritated me, and that is AMRF itself. I always love (sarcasm, by the way) that in stories like these it’s always a corporation that is behind illegal human experiments. It’s never a government. Sorry, but no. That’s just not believable. The legal consequences would be way too huge to take the risk AMRF is. And how in the world are they planning to publish their findings without revealing their illegal experiments?

Writing Style: It was very movie-ish, very action-orientated, and there was lots of tech talk. Normally that kind of thing makes my eyes glaze over, but for the most part, the Author was able to write about all that geewhiz stuff in a fairly comprehensive manner. It didn’t bog the story down as much as I thought it would, though at times it certainly threatened to.

Content: 1 f-word, 5 g--damns, 1 s-word.

Conclusion: Surprisingly, it wasn’t dragged out, and kind of exciting. But the revelation of AMRF’s “evil” plans was just lame, and the characters so one-dimensional, that even the heart-pounding pace did little to salvage this book in my eyes. It could have been worse, but I wouldn’t read it again.

Recommended Audience: Guy-and-girl read, older teens, fans of “tech thrillers."

Others in the Persefone Series:
1)Don't Turn Around
2)Don't Look Now
3)Don't Let Go

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