Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: Drawn


DrawnAuthor: Cecilia Gray
Published: December 15th 2013
Publisher: Gray Life, LLC
Format: ebook, 325 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

Take a journey into the gritty world of political espionage through the eyes – and lies – of one extraordinary girl. A wholly original tale of friendship and betrayal from the author of The Jane Austen Academy series....
Sasha has a secret – that she can make you spill your secret with nothing more than a question. Her strange gift makes her a burden to her foster family and a total freak of nature. Not that Sasha cares. Why should she when no one cares about her?
Then the CIA knocks on her door. They want to give Sasha a new identity and drop her into a foreign country to infiltrate a ring of zealous graffiti terrorists. They want to give Sasha something to care about.
To survive a world where no one is who they seem, Sasha needs to make people trust her. But when that trust blossoms into love, Sasha is forced to decide between duty and friendship, between her mind and her heart, and whether to tell the truth or keep her secrets.
Oh, how deceiving looks can be! (I just love being overly dramatic sometimes, don’t you?) With the cover and the blurb as impressive as these, Drawn can easily pull in even the most skeptical of readers – and in my case, it did. Everything about this book looked right on the surface. The cover is alluring, the premise so very intriguing, and the short graphic introductions to each chapter promised a unique reading experience. However, it soon became clear that Drawn is nowhere near as good as I was hoping it would be. Instead, it is slightly amateurish novel that may appeal more to middle grade readers.

How many fabulous, but poorly executed ideas can you think of right this second? I bet I could come up with at least a dozen off the top of my head, and yet very few have had such promising beginnings and have ended up disappointing me to such extent. The protagonist, Sasha, is a human lie detector – her voice can make anyone say what they’re thinking out loud. Because of her talent, Sasha lives a very lonely life. Her parents abandoned her when she was a baby and she moved from home to home, friendless, until she was assigned to a female FBI agent who took care of her and used her to solve cases.

Considering Sasha’s unique ability, the mission she was sent on in Drawn, and by the CIA, no less, seemed ridiculously easy and entirely unnecessary. Her job was to infiltrate a group of graffiti artists and uncover the identity of the infamous Kid Aert, and how convenient that the daughter of Sasha’s handler – a girl who befriended her despite constantly blurting out embarrassing truths around her – was already a part of said group. Of course, as she befriends this group of French artists, Sasha ends up with an internal conflict – do her job like she’s always done, or protect the only friends she’s ever had?

The attempt to build Sasha into a complex character, bitter for being abandoned by various parental figures and constantly used by the government, failed spectacularly. Not for a second did I feel her loneliness and insecurity as I was undoubtedly supposed to. Instead, she came across as unapproachable and somewhat obnoxious.

As a general rule, I try to find at least something positive to say, and in this case, it would probably be the setting, except for all the errors it brought with it. Sasha’s assignment takes her to Belgium, a country we don’t see much of in YA, which I’d normally be thrilled about. However, although I don’t speak much French, even I could notice all the language disasters – the kind of errors Google Translate would do.

To make the long story short – I can’t, in good conscience, recommend Drawn to anyone. This is not Gray’s debut, but it certainly reads like someone’s first high school attempt at writing a novel, and I think we can all agree that those should be kept hidden, not given a pretty cover and shared with the world.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.



25 comments:

  1. Gah! There is nothing worse than being lured in and then severely disappointed. Sorry this one didn't pan out Maja.

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  2. This one sure sounded intriguing. Super crappy it didn't pan out but lovely, honest review as always. :)

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  3. Darn, it's such a shame this was so monumentally disappointing. It really does sound intriguing, but I hate when an idea never reaches its full potential. Meh. It happens all too often, I think. Anyway, I'm sorry you had to read this one, Maja - I hope your next read is more satisfying!

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  4. I really hate it when you get all excited about a story premise and it lets you down like that! Think I'll definitely avoid this one.

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  5. Damn, now that's sad! It sounded great! But thank you for your very honest review that has warned us about it! I will be avoiding this one.

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  6. I don't know French at all, not even a little, so those language errors probably would have flown right on by me Maja! Sasha sounds a bit problematic though, I was already sympathetic just reading your review because that would be very lonely life, so her coming off as obnoxious rather than vulnerable is a shame. I think I'll be passing on this one, but that cover is very cool:)

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  7. Ouch! I'm staying far, far, away from this one. I hope your next read makes up for this stinker. :)

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  8. Oh that's sad the blueb and cover were so interesting. Pity it was so poorly executed. So far the only good CIA YA novel I can recall is The Naturals. This genre could be so awesome

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  9. Belgium sounds cool but Google Translate is not a good substitute for a person. The idea's there, it seems, but the execution...well, there are reasons why I don't read self-pubs 99.9% of the time.

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  10. Ouch! Well this happen often enough. But really I cannot but end up surprised when I get to read such a great blurb. It promises you a great ride and it ends up with flat tire. Hope you're next read is amazing, Maja :) Great review :)

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  11. Wow...ok I will stay away, I can't say it sounds like a book for me

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  12. I was born a drama queen :P
    But seriously, this just sounds sad, the premise sounds really good. I hate it when a good idea goes down the drain because the author didn't play it out right :/

    I am sorry the book didn't work out.

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  13. Ok... that's not good. I agree with you the synopsis and the cover are really appealing but I'm glad I saw your review. You know as I'm french it's always terrible for me to see French sentences with so many errors and you can't even count how much it happpens. So when some authors ask me to translate some settings I'm glad to help them. It's just sad the others don't do the same just to know if it's all right.

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    1. I don't mean by me, but to ask someone who knows if it's ok. LOL.

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  14. I'm never that dramatic! *hand to head and swoons like she is in a death grip* Nope, not at all... :p

    Well, this might be a good one to see that even I could get published. ;)

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    1. Oh, Mel, I love that you're a glass-half-full kinda gal. ;)

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  15. Eh... the cover doesn't even appeal to me, It isn't often that you are harsh in your reviews so this must be exceptionally bad; I will skip it for sure.

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  16. Great review, Maja. I'd have picked it up from the blurb and then would have felt disappointed, so it's good to have you to save me from discovering this for myself :)

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  17. Bummer. I think I have this one :( sorry it didn't live up to it's expectations.

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  18. I've never even heard of this one. And this cover doesn't really speak to me at all. But I'm sorry this one didn't work out for you. :(

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  19. Oh no! I hate when a cool premise goes awry, and it sounds like the execution is lacking in a big way here. I don't think I've ever seen a book set in Belgium before, so that's a huge plus, but then butchering the language and culture kind of negates that. This sounds like something I'd definitely skip. Sorry it didn't work for you, but thanks for your honest review!

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  20. Ouch, the cover caught my eye, but alas this one doesn't sound right for me. So sorry this let you down. I need some realism with the world building, and wow, nope.

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  21. Ack I hate it when a gorgeous cover and premise ends up giving a false impression. I admit I too would be intrigued by this book if I saw it in a book store, but the number of issues that you've mentioned especially you being unable to form a connection with Sasha's character would hugely grate on me! Thank you for you honest review, I hope your next read is a lot more enjoyable!

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  22. Finally back from my blogging break! Wow, this book sounded like it had potential. I know I'd be really excited a book being set in Belgium so it's too bad it's full of errors in French. Also, the idea that somebody's voice can just make you spill your thoughts is ridiculous. Great review, Maja! Hopefully your next read is much better.

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