All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Actual rating: 3,5 stars.
Thank you St. Martins Griffin for providing me an ARC of this book! No money or favours were exchanged to affect this review.
All Our Pretty Songs, what a strange animal you are. I can see why a lot of people rated it 2 stars, but I quite liked it.
So, this is about the narrator, who doesn't have a name, apparently. She's best friends with Aurora. They've bot got pretty fucked up families, but they genuinely love each other. Then Jack comes into play. His music is hauntingly beautiful, and he and the narrator fall in love. It's this way for most of the novel, until in the end some really weird stuff happens.
It's hard for me to say what genre this is. This novel does have a very Contemporary feel, but that stuff in the end definitely wasn't contemporary, but rather Paranormal or Greek myth stuff. So I'll say this is a contemporary with a sprinkle of paranormal greek. Sounds legit, right?
So, there are quite some issues with this book, but let's start with the positive. The prose was absolutely stunning. Not Laini Taylor-stunning, but I put this on my 'gorgeous-prose' shelf without hesitation. The prose drew me in right from the start and kept me reading. But (there's always a but) as the lovely Ashleigh Paige from Birth of a New Witch so accurately states: The prose is so determined to take over the novel that it practically drains the life from everything else.
This is very true: the prose is so lush and there's so much of it, that you get distracted by it. It buries the story. This was one of the rare cases where I didn't mind, but I can definitely see why it would annoy others or even make them give up on this book.
Maybe my quite positive opinion of this book is (almost) all thanks to the prose. Because the prose is the main thing in this book instead of the story, there were a lot of things I just looked over. In this book there's insta-love. Normally I hate books with insta-love with a burning passion and they'll get nothing short of a snarky review from me. But really, I could overlook it here. I was just reading, thought: "hey, that's insta-love,", shrugged and kept on reading.
Another possible problem with this book is that it can be extremely boring. Once again, I didn't mind, but normally I get distracted easily if nothing's happening. Because really, for a great part of the book, there is nothing happening. I actually have no idea why I wasn't bored, but I guess it was the prose again. However, if you have a short attention span, I wouldn't recommend this. You're likely to get very bored.
But, as I mentioned, there is a lot of stuff happening in the end. Shit's going down quickly. But because in the rest of the novel there's not really all that much happening, it felt rushed to me. I wish there was more of this in the book and less of the rest. Although rushed, the ending was, in my opinion, very good.
So, all in all the biggest downside of this book was the prose, because it buried the story. The thing that saved this book was also the prose.
Think about that.