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My Need to Read

I love to explore genre fiction, and while I usually go for books with a romantic thread running through it, I just love great character and world building. And since I can hardly stand to let go of my favorite characters, I like series.

The Willow - Stacey Kennedy Rating: 2.5Quick Take:The mechanics of the story were a mixed bag; interesting overall world building, alongside rushed (and perhaps uneven) manner of exposition. All told, it didn't offend or wholly satisfy me, but did provide moments of excitement and adventure.Well. We can't love everything all the time, can we? ^_^ The Willow has many elements that usually perk me up over a book: a heroine who discovers and develops her own amazing abilities and origins; playful romantic intrigue; a team of supernatural-regulatin' badazzes. Cracking open to the beginning of this story was also intriguing. A grieving, devastated young woman sits under her favorite willow tree, in the middle of a suicide attempt. She wants to end her lonely existence, and almost immediately gets her wish, though not in the way she expects.From the start, and for the first several pages, there's quite a bit of exposition. I mean, a lot. This is not an inherently negative thing; it's just that it didn't feel all that smooth, but rather stilted and rushed. The progression of events--as well as Nexi's reaction to them--just didn't ring believable to me. Suspension of disbelief--not for the fantastical elements, but the mundane--only took me so far.About halfway through the book, things did get pretty fun. The overall tone (and pace) was infused with excitement and intriguing twists. It'd be a lie for me to say there weren't some high-octane, tension-filled segments.…but it's too bad I was unimpressed with the main villain of the story. he was mentioned early in the tale and was built up as intimidating, worthy of fear and wariness. Indeed, he was powerful being that caused trouble…but to me, he never really made it out of mustache-twirling territory. He remained pretty one-dimensional and thus not engaging.Now, I'm not usually one to delve into the more technical aspects of a book (I hesitate to even mention it now)…but in this case I can't not bring it up, since it was actually distracting. I'm referring to the legion grammatical errors. In some places it was a few per page. Now I know such a factor does not have bearing on the "meat" of a story…but seriously, it kept pulling me out of the tale. (If you know me, that's saying something.)The structure of the supernatural world was a big point of interest. Head of each supe "species" forming a council; an "enforcement" crew who carries out the law…I really dug it! I anticipate the politics being quite a complex and engaging draw in future books, now that a bit of world building has been done.So yeah. I didn't outright dislike this book, so I can't rate it lower. But I didn't find it wholly satisfying, either, so I can't rate it any higher. I know I'll eventually pick up the next book, though (I don't give up on a series after one book, period), and do look forward to it.