Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: The Rules (Project Paper Doll, #1)

The Rules (Project Paper Doll, #1)Author: Stacey Kade
Series: Project Paper Doll, #1
Release date: April 23rd 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Hardcover, 416 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

1. Never trust anyone.
2. Remember they are always searching.
3. Don’t get involved.
4. Keep your head down.
5. Don’t fall in love.
Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”
But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…
It has never been easier to describe a book in a single sentence. Here it goes: The Rules by Stacey Kade is the young adult and somewhat more civilized version of Alien vs. Predator.

I kid you not.

We have Ariane, a part alien in hiding with impressive telepathic and telekinetic powers; and Rachel, a spoiled, predatory rich girl with the tendency to bully people into submission. 80% of this book is a huge battle of wills between these two, so if you’re not a fan of high school drama and plans of revenge (no matter how justified), you’d best stay away.

Between them stands Zane Bradshaw, one of Rachel’s best friends. His brother is the city’s (and especially their father’s) pride and joy and whatever Zane does, he can’t possibly measure up. He knows he is simply not good enough, and it was finally and definitely proven a year ago when his mother left him.

When we first see Zane, we see him in the worst possible light. He is part of the in-crowd, one of the bullies, and while he doesn’t actively humiliate anyone, he doesn’t do a single thing to stop his friends either. It was hard to cease despising him long enough to actually consider his reasons, but once I did, he and I turned a new leaf. While his point of view came as a complete surprise, I started appreciating it pretty early on. I don’t think I could have understood him as well as I did if I was limited to Ariane’s point of view alone.

As for Ariane, I loved that she wasn’t a pushover. I was also fascinated by her relationship with her Father, the man who saved her from the lab and allowed her to assume his dead daughter’s identity. It was so hard for him to see some other girl, some alien girl in his daughter’s place, but still he protected her and cared for her and loved her as much as he could.

For the first six years of my life, give or take, I’d thought my name was Wannoseven. It was only after I escaped – with Mark Tucker’s help – that I learned Wannoseven wasn’t a name at all but a numerical designation. 107. Pathetic.

Perhaps this will sound a bit silly, but I generally dislike villains that are too evil. In The Rules, there are two: Rachel and her grandfather Dr. Jacobs. Both are evil to the point of being cartoonish and consequently, neither of them feels like an actual threat. A truly frightening villain has some small part you can identify with, something that makes you wonder how they got to that point. A well-crafted villain is made of many colors, and while black may be predominant, it’s certainly not the only one.

And whatever happened to worldbuilding, Ms. Kade? Mentioning Roswell does not a worldbuilding make! Perhaps more will come in future installments, but right now, I’m not even sure The Rules qualifies as sci-fi. It reads very much like a contemporary with a few weak paranormal elements.

In addition, I think this book’s biggest fault is that it’s just not memorable. After The Ghost and the Goth, I expected more from Stacey Kade – I was sure she’d give us unforgettable characters at the very least. But alas, I’m having trouble remembering their names even though I finished the book no more than five days ago. So when I compare that to names (and characters) like Froi of the Exiles, Georgia and Shaun Mason, or even Janelle Tenner, my opinion on this series becomes crystal clear.


  1. "more civilized version of Alien vs. Predator" lol that would be actually interesting to read. But I'm really sick and tired of high school drama and revenge so I'll stay away from this one. Great review Maja :)

  2. Meh. This book appealed to me. I was so SURE of buying it when it comes out and read it immediately. But now, I'm having second thoughts. I think that's the problem with most of the authors today! They have a hard time building the world that's supposed to be the real setting of the story. That's why most of the time, it makes the readers feel as if they're just reading some contemporary novel. :( Great review, Maja! ;)

  3. Unforgettable characters.... This book is not for me. I love the cover though. Thanks for the honest review, Maja :D


  4. I am getting horridly concerned about this novel. I've seen stars of each sort! It's crazy! Looks like I'll have to read it myself and see:/

    It's sad to see that you didn't like this much, Maja. Fantastic review anyway! <3

  5. I was not the biggest fan of Zane, especially since he didn't do anything to stop that evil beyotch (who was a bit too cartoony bad for my taste). Still, I enjoyed the story overall. Love that this book is garnering so many different reactions.

  6. Yeah I totally agree that the mere mention of Roswell just was not enough in this one. I wanted to know where she came from, if she came alone, stuff like that. I also wanted to know more about GTX and how they were able to get away with all the crap that they were doing. I also agree that Zane's POV was a very welcome surprise, I don't think I would have empathized with him at all without it so it was a great choice to include it. Basically I AGREE!!!

  7. Yikes! I have heard so many mixed reviews on this one but yours seems to be the common one. Most people don't love the Ariane but they loved Zane and say he was the only saving grace in this book. I think this is one that I will pass on even though I had originally wanted to read it.
    Great well thought out review!

  8. I enjoyed more than you but I too liked that Ariane wasn't a pushover and once I got to know Zane I enjoyed his character.
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  9. Awwwww sorry this one didn't work as well for you as it did for me Maja! I agree with you completely on Zane, I definitely would not have liked him in the least if we weren't privy to his thoughts, and I'm really grateful Stacey decided to write this story in alternating POVs. I also agree that the world-building left a bit to be desired, but I loved Ariane and Zane so much that I didn't even care:) Hope whatever you read next is memorable for you, and I enjoyed reading your thoughts as always. It's fun to see how what worked for me didn't work for you:)

  10. I think that's the one thing that's going to disappoint a lot of people reading this - if they're expecting sci-fi they aren't going to get it.

    I was kind of surprised how contemporary this was but I did end up enjoying it quite a bit.

    I do hope we learn more about Project Paper Doll in the next book though.

  11. I'm sorry The Rules let you down Maja, Ariane sounded like such a great mc too, I like ones who don't take any crap. I think I will still give this book a try, but I probably won't be in a rush to get to it. Great review Maja! :)

  12. I have not seen Alien vs. Predator so I have no reference point, but movies like that aren't really my thing so I'm thinking that books may not be either. I love your discussion here about villains however. I agree, that the most compelling ones have something that makes them seem like a real person and gives you tinges of sympathy. That can also make their choices scarier. The mustache twirling types are more caricatures, unless they come across as truly psychotically evil. Now those types freak me out, because you just never know what they might do next.

  13. I was looking forward to this since it has aliens and that is something you don't get too often in YA, but alas if you say that the characters and such are not memorable well I will have to pass. I don't have time for mediocre these days!

  14. Aw... too bad! I was hoping this one would go better but not liking the sound of the characters. I will say tho... you have me wanting to watch Aliens vs. Predators. I can't believe that is the only Alien's movie I haven't seen yet. LOL

  15. I agree completely, Maja. Granted, I haven't read this, but The Ghost and the Goth Series was silly and cute, but kind of memorable in some ways. I can't imagine that same writing style translating into a different genre with much success, though. A lack of world-building is one of my deal breakers and villains without a balance of grays frustrate me these days. I'll be skipping out on this one for sure.

  16. Not being a big fan of high school drama, as well as two dimensional villains, I'm thinking this is probably not the book for me. The blurb seems to have advertised a story that's much different from the book's actual contents. From reading your review, it doesn't sound like the science fiction elements are very prominent at all, which is a bit of a let down to be honest.

  17. Yeah, I wouldn't say this is terribly memorable. I enjoyed it still, but it certainly didn't blow me away. The world building WAS weak, but I just looked at it more as a contemp instead and it was okay. I think you described the villains pretty well. I didn't think of them that way, but once you said that I realized that you are right on the money. It's just how much it actually bothers you, and I guess it didn't bother me too much. Sorry you didn't like this one more though!

  18. Ha, I compared this one to The Ghost and the Goth too and found that one was better. But I still found it to be entertaining, and I liked it because it wasn't very sci-fi-ish.

  19. I'm sorry this didn't work for you, Maja, This has been the general consensus regarding this book though. I'll admit that nothing about this book really caught my attention.
    The lack of world building is really putting me off and I'm glad I didn't request it. I also think too evil villains are ridiculous and the villains in this book seem exactly that.
    I'll be staying away from this, but lovely honest review, Maja.

  20. I was mildly intrigued by a few positive reviews I've read, but I think I'll stick with my original decision to skip The Rules after reading your review. "Mentioning Roswell does not a worldbuilding make!" <-- :D Poor worldbuilding in a sci-fi is already a no go for me, but the fact that you forgot characters right after reading is my cue to stay clear. I agree, I can never imagine that happening to Georgia & Shaun or Froi; I can hear their voices in my head when I just think about them. Thanks for your honest and thoughtful review!

  21. I keep hearing mixed things about this book and my opinion is all over the place. Sometimes I'm like "Yeah, I need to read it!" Other times I feel disappointed and I decided to leave it unread..
    I always find world-building very important, so that is going to be a problem.


  22. I'm not even big on Alien vs Predator. lol. This really didn't sound like my kind of book to being with, so I don't feel bad after reading your review.

  23. Great Article. Thank you for sharing! Really an awesome post for every one.

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