Book Review: Crave by Melissa Darnell

11164626Title: Crave (The Clann #1)
Author: Melissa Darnell
Genre: Fantasy, Supernatural, Witches, Vampires, Young Adult
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Publication Date: October 18th 2011
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Rating: 2 stars
Review copy received by the publisher through Netgalley.

Savannah Colbert has been shunned all her life by the kids of the Clann. And when she undergoes some drastic changes after a strange illness, Savannah learns secrets about the group and about herself—dangerous secrets. For the Clann are powerful magic users, and Savannah herself is half Clann and half vampire—a forbidden, unheard of combination. Falling for Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman isn’t just a bad idea—it could be deadly if anyone finds out. But her attraction to Tristan—and his to her—isn’t something either of them can resist for long.

Crave is one of those books that left me with mixed feelings and the constant urge to hit my keyboard with my head. The latter is not advised by the way, not because it could hurt your head, but mostly because your keyboard will probably not appreciate it. And if there’s one person/thing you don’t want to mess with, then it’s your keyboard. Especially not if you want to play WoW later on, write a review or even write some assignments for university. The reason why I have mixed feelings about this book is because I liked two things about it: 1) the synopsis and 2) the cover. Let’s admit it once and for all, covers are important, even if we all claim that they’re not and that we’re intellectual beings who are not persuaded by superficial things like cover art. I know that sometimes the greatest stories are hidden behind the ugliest covers imaginable, but still I get excited when I see a gorgeous cover. However, the opposite is true equally as many times as well, and sometimes you can find one of the most boring and unoriginal stories behind the most gorgeous cover imaginable. Don’t believe me? Try out Crave.

I have to add that Crave isn’t that bad. If you haven’t read a ton of YA fantasy/vampire fiction books already, then you might actually enjoy it. On the other hand, if you’re as familiar with the genre as I am, then you’ll be astonished by the amount of clichés author Melissa Darnell manages to put into one book. Let’s talk about the main character, Savannah first. Savannah holds a lot of resemblences to our dearly hated and well-known Bella Swan. Not appearance-wise, but personality-wise. I always go on and on about how Bella Swan could be replaced by a cow or another animal and the story wouldn’t even change, because she has the personality of a cardboard figure and is just about as interesting as watching reruns of Dawson’s Creek for the seventh time. Savannah Colbert, main character of Crave, is a Bella Swan in disguise. Although she pretends to be halfway interesting by being a vampire (big deal…), in all honesty she isn’t. She hasn’t got a single personality trait that makes her special or unique or even remotely interesting. Why she has friends to begin with is a giant mystery to me. She has no spine, no backbone, no real hobbies besides going to school, nothing at all that makes her anything more than a standard cardboard figure. I couldn’t help it, but I didn’t like her at all. That’s not to say that I didn’t try. But the endless descriptions of how ridiculous she supposedly looks (carrot-orange curly hair that she can’t do anything with, pale skin) obviously served as a replacement for any actual personality traits she might have had. Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less if Savannah was a gorgeous blonde with a flawless tanned skin or a redhead with zits, pimples and glasses the size of Timbuktoe. I care about who people are, not what they look like.

However, that’s not where the author’s obvious preferences for superficial qualities ends. She goes through great lengths to describe Savannah’s crush, Tristan as being the prince of Jacksonville, the typical hot sportstar every girl swoons over. Yes…Let’s disregard the fact that he’s also the biggest jerk walking around school, a total pushover who does everything his parents tell him to do, has absolutely no leadership qualities whatsoever and has the emotional level of a baby. Seriously, Tristan, you have to grow a pair. Excuse me for stating it so bluntly, but that’s basically the only way I can describe it. Tristan is apparently once of those people who’s still stuck in kindergarten even though he’s in highschool. He supposedly has feelings for Savannah and has had these for a while now, but because the Clann told him to stay away from her, he happily obliges. Yeh…That would really make me swoon all over him. Not. Apparently for Savannah it’s no biggie though. Although this is the guy who she was best friends with until fourth grade and who turned his back on her from one day on the other without even giving an explenation, she continues to fantasize about him and convince the readers every once in a while of how hot he actually is. Yes, well I’m unconvinced. He could be looking like Ian Somerhalder (my favorite actor at the moment) and I still wouldn’t go for him, because he has the personality of a zebra. Really. One day he’s black and all ‘must follow clan rules’, the other day he’s white and all ‘I love Savannah nanananana’.

But hey, it’s not over yet. Suddenly Savannah meets a guy named Greg who is supposedly the best boyfriend material anyone could wish for. He’s the kind of guy your mother would approve instantly – not an easy task to accomplish. Not only is Greg polite, kind, generous and caring, he’s also good-looking, intelligent and has a nice sense of humor. Brilliant, right? By now every person in their right mind would have jumped on the Greg bandwagon in a heartbeat. Not Savannah though. No, because Greg doesn’t threat her like crap, doesn’t ignore her whenever he feels like it, and isn’t one big push-over. He’s just not Tristan, she occassionally muses. Ofcourse he’s not. He’s about one million times better than Tristan, but Savannah fails to see that. By now, I felt like throwing my entire laptop at that girl and knocking some sense into her.

Hold your horses. The fun isn’t over yet. Remember how I told you that Savannah is supposedly a vampire? Well in fact, she’s a half-vampire, a dhampire if you want. And she’s also a half-witch. In any other book that would mean insane superpowers, the ability to save the world from the apocalypse or the destiny to fulfill some ancient prophecy. Hahaha, but not in Crave! We were wrong all along, ladies and gentlemen, because the number one superpower you get by being a half-vampire/half-witch hybrid? You grow boobs overnight! Yes, you can go from a size A to a size C in just one night! Isn’t that bloody amazing? And you know what happens when these boobs just miraculously appear? You get male attention, all of the sudden. Yes. Tons and tons of horny teenage boys come knocking on your door because HEY you got boobs now! Isn’t that amazing? It’s like the coolest superpower ever! Spiderman and his spider senses can go screw themselves, here’s Superboob to protect the world from harm…and to turn all teenage boys into horny sex slaves!

Yes, I used a lot of sarcasm in the previous paragraph, but you have to admit how stupid it sounds. If the only thing I initially got from being a hybrid was to grow two boobsizes overnight, I would be anything but amused. It gets worse though. Savannah can now enchant boys just by looking at them and turn them into drooling stalkerzombies. Although the concept seems hilarious it’s more enervating than anything else.

And what about Tristan and Savannah’s love affair, you ask? What can I say about it except that it’s the most unrealistic unbelievable crap since Twilight. Savannah never even questions why Tristan didn’t talk to her for well over seven years, it’s left unexplained why the sportstar shows interest in the freak girl all of the sudden (why not three years sooner, for example?) and Tristan never grows the backbone needed to be an actual asset to this relationship. They’re such a mismatch that they’re worse than Luce and Daniel from the Fallen series, Bella and Edward from Twilight and Elena and Stefan from The Vampire Diaries together. There is nothing that could explain why they’re drawn to eachother, no mutual interests whatsoever, except this strange, unexplainable love they cannot deny. Been there, done that, it never works out well, not even in fiction. I would love it if a psychiatrist could get his hands on Tristan and Savannah and finally knock some sense into them.

As you probably realized by now, Crave is just one cliché on top of the other until it forms a giant mountain of clichés that even the best writing skill in the world couldn’t undo. The book isn’t totally bad though. Melissa Darnell has an interesting and enjoyable writing style, and I’d like to see her write something else but using the same style. If she managed to step away from the clichés and write about a believable, interesting romance then she really has potential. The pace was fast through-out the entire novel, but sometimes it dropped significantly and seemed to drag on a bit. However that’s to be expected from the first book in a series so I didn’t really mind it that much. Overall the premise of this book was intriguing, and it could have been a real success-story had the characters been less like cardboard figures, had their romance been more believable and if the book had a more promising plotline overall. It started out promising enough but near the end when nothing major or apocalyptic-like had happened, I sort of felt dissapointed. If you write an entire book with as only goal to bring two characters together and you don’t even manage to do that right, then you’re obviously doing something wrong. I always enjoy it when something else is going on in the background, like some epic battle with the entire world at stake or something along those lines, but here there was…well, nothing.

I expected a lot more from Crave and in all honesty it delivered very little. The only characters worth mentioning where Anne (now she has some personality!) and Greg. Please make these two the main characters of the next book in the series, and I might believe in The Clann series again. For now, I do believe in Melissa Darnell’s writing skills and that she could write a magnificent piece of fiction one day, but only if she steps away from clichés and works a lot on adding actual personality traits to her characters. For now, I’m not sure if I would recommend this book to anyone. However, a lot of people on Goodreads rated it highly, so it must have something that works for some people. You’re free to give it a shot, but don’t come knocking on my door with an angry mob if you don’t like it or if you ruin your keyboard by smashing your head into it while reading this book. I do believe the author has a lot of potential, and I wish her good luck with her future works. This book just wasn’t for me.

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