Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Compulsion by Martina Boone

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Just Finished Reading ... Compulsion by Martina Boone

Compulsion (Heirs of Watson Island #1)
by Martina Boone
To be published by Simon Pulse
on October 28, 2014

Source: ARC borrowed from Around the World ARC Tours

Synopsis from Goodreads: All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions. Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.
My take: At first glance, Compulsion seemed like the perfect book for me. I love Southern Gothic fiction -- the crumbling old mansions, the eccentric characters, the (sometimes) pararnormal elements. But for me as a reader, everything in this book could have been cranked up a few notches.

Barrie has been sent to live with her aunt in Watson Island, South Carolina after the death of her mother. (Barrie's father died years before in a fire that left her mother scarred and veiled. Okay, now this is perfect Southern Gothic material, but because she's dead, we never get to see Barrie's Miss Havisham-like mother except in other characters' memories.) Barrie arrives at Watson's Landing and meets her aunt -- her mother's twin sister -- and we also learn that Barrie has some kind of psychic ability that runs in her family, the ability to find lost objects.

I was all on board up to this point, but then everyone had long, involved stories to tell. There were three main families of Watson Island -- the Colesworths, the Watsons and the Beauforts -- and each family has different special powers and different dark secrets and I quickly got confused as to who loves whom and who married whom and who betrayed whom and had to repeatedly consult this geneaological chart that wasn't in the front of the book like it should have been, but just randomly stuck into page 59 of the ARC for some reason and I could never find it when I needed it and..... argh.

The romance was a bit ... sudden. I don't want to use the dreaded i-word to describe it, but within minutes of arriving, Barrie's crushing on a boy named Eight and a short time later the two of them are meandering all over town, exchanging flirty glances and shooting the breeze with the locals.  I wanted more creepiness. More suspense. More shocking revelations.  Maybe it's my let's-get-a-move-on-here Yankee disposition, but for most of this book, I was dying for a faster pace and more excitement. I knew going in that this was a series, so I guess I expected a more dramatic ending. (I was predicting a BIG twist like in The Thirteenth Tale, another gothic suspense novel that also featured twins and a fire. But that never really came to pass.)

While I liked this book, I can't say that I loved it. But I can see that a lot of my Goodreads friends have really enjoyed it, so I could just be the odd man out here. If you've read and loved this, let me know why in comments!

17 comments:

  1. Honestly, I was already confused by the synopsis. lol

    It sounds charming and creepy. Too bad it wasn't as creepy as you hoped.

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    1. It is charming and mildly creepy. If you try it, let me know!

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  2. I totally loved the feel of the book. For me, it was exactly what I wanted.

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    1. I'm so glad -- I saw a lot of positive reviews. Happy that you liked it!

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  3. I'm reading Compulsion right now, so I'm not reading your review YET. I'm at like 70% and so far it's a lot of talk and tons of info dumps, and it's all about the past and characters who aren't on the canvas. And it's confusing keeping everyone's story/gift/curse straight.

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    1. Hmmmm ... sounds like we have a total mind meld.

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  4. Romance and gothic suspense don't always work together, in my opinion. It's hard to pull off well.

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    1. That's an interesting point. It may be hard to balance the grotesque/creepy with the romantic.

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  5. I still haven't read this one but I've heard a lot of great things about it so I've been wanting to check it out but now i'm thinking this one may be more of a library read for me. I love my romance but haven't read all that much goth/suspense books before so I don't know how that would work for me.

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  6. Sounds like an awesome book with perhaps a bit too much backstory and it needed to have the love dragged out a bit more? Otherwise, this sounds like a good read to me. I have received it for review and can't wait to get to it now ^^

    Check out my double giveaway and review: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2014/10/you-had-me-at-hello-review-giveaway.html

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    1. Yep. Another great point. It may be that trying to give ALL the backstory for all the families was just too much.

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  7. I haven't read this one, but the premise sounds a little bit like Made For You by Melissa Marr? Which I ADORED. So I'm tempted to try Compulsion. Sad the stakes weren't really high though. Gah! That sucks. But the love interests name is Eight?! Is he twice as awesome as Tris' Four? ;-) looool Sorry. CAN'T RESIST. I think Veronica Roth has kind of got ruling over love-interests-as-numbers for a while. :)

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  8. This sounds complicated.... :/ Thanks for your honesty! It can be hard being the odd one out. ;)

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  9. oh dear, that i-word has me wanting to run away! It's a shame that this one didn't do much for you, I don't think this book would be for me.

    Thanks for the helpful review, Jen! <33

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  10. I always wanted to know more about this book, bacause well, the cover is gorgeous and the synopsis is intriguing. This is the first review I read and while I love how it sounds, I'm sad about the romance, I'm having problems with the i-romances these days.
    Thanks for the review, Jen!
    Lis @ The reader lines

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