January 1, 2013

book review: the beginning

A group of friends experience significant and unexpected transformation during their adolescence and early adulthood in Margaret Millmore's The Beginning.

About Book I of The Four:
Clare had an ideal life. She lived in the perfect little town, had a great family and four of the best friends in the world. She also had nightmares, nightmares that plagued her for almost a decade. But these are not ordinary nightmares; they are premonitions, warnings of what is to come and what she will become.  
She discovers that she isn’t alone in these vile dreams; her friends are having them too. They are dreaming of their ancestors and their own future... The discovery of their destiny and the future they must embrace is shocking and terrifying.
With numerous books, movies and TV shows featuring vampires and werewolves, it takes a particularly unique take and method of storytelling to make a splash in the market. Unfortunately, though interesting in its own right, it was difficult for me to get into The Beginning, because it took too long to grab my attention.

The story begins when Clare, the main narrator of the story, and her friends are in middle school. Though the first third to half of the book creates a foundation for the story, it is almost entirely background, which could have more effectively been woven into other elements of the story allowing for more action.

At one point, the narrator changes to one of her friends. While I can understand the reasoning for doing this, because it allowed us to go overseas to learn more of the history, it did not work well for me, just like switching to Jacob Black's point of view did not work for me in Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn.

While giving this background, the book featured too much and too obvious foreshadowing. With statements similar to, "little did we know" included often, it was too apparent what would come ahead, which took some of the mystique and intrigue from the story. Several cliche phrases also appeared regularly in this book. I typically do not mind these in moderation, but there seemed to be enough that I noticed them.

Despite these issues, Millmore does create an interesting world, one I would be intrigued in learning more about as the series progresses. This story would have been a stronger read if it would have started as late as halfway through the story.

Rating: 3 of 5

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