Saturday, 8 March 2014

Review: Dead Ringers | Illusion + Invertigo + The Spider

Dead Ringers (Dead Ringers #1-#3) by Darlene Gardner

The first three volumes of a haunting serial with romance, mystery and missing memories.

Dead Ringers 1: Illusion
Do you know where your time went?

Jade Greene’s memories of the two days she went missing are slowly returning, but they involve a blinding headache and an evil clown with a syringe. Not exactly the stuff of sanity.

Dead Ringers 2: Invertigo
Do you know who you can trust?

Max Harper insists Jade’s best chance to find out why she remembers so little of her abduction is to team up with him. But can she trust him?

Dead Ringers 3: The Spider
Do you know where the Black Widow is?

Someone in Midway Beach isn’t who they seem and unless Jade and Max can figure out what’s going on, they could become the next victims.

My Thoughts:

 Illusion: 2.5 stars

When I started Illusion I was expecting a somewhat thrill-bound horror story with knife-wielding clowns and creepy carnival funhouses but sadly I didn't get any of that. Well, there was a funhouse but that was about it. I have never really been that into horror before and I cannot even bring myself to watch a scary movie so this was even more of a disappointment to me. If it cannot even remotely scare a self-confessed scaredy cat (such as myself )how is this supposed to play in the big leagues with the horror buffs? The answer is that it wont.

The writing felt rushed and hastily put together. It didn't have a fluidity to it that would have made it easier to get into. The mystery wasn't paced out enough. Jade seemed to run form one point to another and it was a struggle to see how each part connected.

The general mystery wasn't intriguing enough and too much was left unexplored. This was supposed to be a thriller but that fact was lost between the Hunter-swooning and Adair-bitching. The plot didn't seem to pull together and I felt like each incident was almost isolated with no real relevance to anything else. Maybe further on everything will come together? I don't know but I sure hope so.

The characters weren't that great either. They were all a little weird and I hate how all the guys have to be described as hot and perfect - there other adjectives that can be used to describe the male race you know? Our protagonist, Jade Greene, was rather strange. I couldn't get a read on her. She was obviously scarred from the incident in February but I didn't feel that we got to explore that side of her much, or any side of her really. She was a bit bitchy and unusual for my tastes but I am hoping to warm up to her in the next book.

Overall, not a great thriller. It was a little too dull for my liking and little to slow for such a short and hastily written book. I am hoping that more will become clear in Invertigo. That was quite a cliffhanger to end on!

Invertigo: 2 stars

This review may contain spoilers to Illusion.

I am sorry to say that
Invertigo was even slower and duller than the previous Dead Ringers book. The story continues almost from the very last sentence of Illusion and didn't introduce any new concept or mystery that was catching or thrilling. It suffered rather badly from your classic Middle Book Syndrome - it felt completely pointless. A big lead up to... what?

The characters, mainly Jade, was irritable. They were all dense, moody and snappish however. Jade made a lot of really stupid mistakes but what was worse was that she knew that they were stupid mistakes as she was making them... yet kept on making them over and over again! Can you get much denser than that? She knew that she shouldn't trust Max so completely but allowed him to take her to strange, abandoned places even when she admitted he was acting suspicious.

I didn't appreciate the romantic angle that was attempted. It was rather a pathetic attempt especially the whole Max/Jade versus Adair/Hunter scenario. Isn't
Darlene Gardner supposed to be a romance author anyway?

The mystery about Max and Jade's double "missing hours" now mixing with the mystery of the dead murderer, the Black Widow, seems thin and more like a random, impulsive decision of the author's rather than a planned out set of "coincidences" like a murder mystery should be.

Overall, this series, so far, has been nothing but dull, shallow and yawn-inducing. I am not very impressed and I am holding out for a better third book to impress me.

The Spider: 2 stars.

This may contain spoilers to Illusion and Invertigo.

The Spider took a rather unexpected turn from the previous Dead Ringers books. The twist had been hinted at before but I dismissed the notion as ridiculous and didn't expect the author to wander down that path. How wrong I was.

Body-switching. The words make you think of lame sci-fi made-for-TV movies with crappy actors and special effects, doesn't it? Or possibly (at least my reader friends might), the Airhead series which I love and of which I am actually currently reading the third book. Either way, it isn't the angle that I expected to be taken in
The Spider, probably because it didn't work. Max and Jade jumped to the conclusion to easily and the way it is approached, with such a carefree this-isn't-a-big-deal attitude, made the concept seem utterly ridiculous.

The characters weren't much of an improvement. They still act irrationally and I am getting tired of Jade blindly following Max when she still doesn't trust him. Plus I don't understand their romance? Is it real or not? If it isn't, why the hell are they faking it? I don't understand the point.

Overall, this really didn't add anything to series and I am disappointed with the angle it took. I won't be picking up the other anthology. There are meant to be three more books and I am not enthused enough to pick them up.

Note: a copy was provided by Darlene Gardner through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or taken during this process.

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