Monday, February 3, 2014

Breaking the Usual YA Conventions: Infinityglass by Myra McEntire

Just the facts:

Overall:  3 Stars

Addiction Level: I read it every waking moment.

Believe-ability: It was believable.

Dystopia Factor: Eh. It’s “normal” life.


            Like I said in our Best Books of 2013 post, Rebecca and I actually did read our share of books last year. I wasn’t the most consistent with posting, but I would like to share my reviews for some of the books I finished, especially those that I’ve reviewed previous books in the series.

(Need to catch up on this series? Check out our reviews for Hourglass or Rebecca’s review for Timepiece.)

I had been anticipating this book and the conclusion of the Hourglass series for a long time. I also had been not so secretly hoping that McEntire would return to Emerson as narrator. However, it was not meant to be. Infinityglass is actually narrated by Dune and a new character Hallie. (Insert sad face here.) This was an instant dilemma for me. I didn’t care for Timepiece as much as Hourglass because of the change in view point and Infinityglass started off on that path as well. This brings me to my main point.

I think YA readers have come to expect a certain framework in their novels. An integral part of this framework is that we expect to be given the “starting lineup” of characters that will be telling the story. Once those characters are established we tend to be comfortable and happy to keep it that way. McEntire, however, has purposefully chosen to upset the contentment of her readers by giving us a series that does not follow this convention. What, then, is a reader to do?

This equates to my problem with the series (note: not McEntire’s problem). I absolutely fell in love with Emerson in Hourglass. I loved her snark and was looking forward to living in her world for a while longer. Then, along came Kaleb and my biggest feeling from Timepiece was disappointment. I know that some would argue that Timepiece suffers from Second Book Syndrome, but I would disagree. I think that it is easier to get hung up on what I wanted from Timepiece and Infinityglass than to appreciate the stories for what they are. Just because we as readers expect our narrators to stay consistent does not mean that they actually have to. It’s our job to read the books, not write them.

 I do think that Infinityglass has some things going for it. I loved that the overall story encompassed so many people. Typically YA novels rely on one or two characters to solve the dilemma of the story (see above: elements of YA framework) but McEntire creates an entire team of characters that have to work together to fix the problem. It really is a great reminder that no one person has it all together. There is no fantastic hero/heroine who can do it all on their own. Plus, McEntire uses all three books in the series to tell the story. I don’t think that any of the books are redundant or could be removed from the story. And although we don’t get all the details from the characters I love, we do learn about other interesting characters. I really enjoyed getting to know Poe a little bit better. Had I not read Infinityglass, I would never have known that I actually like Poe.

Lastly, I will say that upon reading Timepiece for the second time I was better able to enjoy it. I surely hope that happens when I reread Infinityglass. And perhaps, I need to remember that I do not control the plot or characters from my favorite books. I just get to go along for the ride.

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