Sunday, October 28, 2012

Book Review: Vixen

Sorry that once again this is late, although considering this book has been out for a few years now I don't think that a day is going to make much of a difference. The whole reason I hadn't read this book earlier, even though it was set in the 1920s and I really like reading about that era, was due to the simple fact that my library didn't have a copy of it. They do have a copy of the e-book for the next book in the series, but the not the first book in any way shape or form so I hadn't bothered tracking it down. That is until I won a copy of the third book in the series and then found that a library in a nearby town (which was in the same county so I could get a library card to it) so I grabbed it from there. So was it worth that extra effort after all?

Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Summary: There's a strange dichotomy to Gloria's life in 1920s Chicago. By day she goes to her prestigious private school and by night she sneaks out to speakeasies to drink and listen to jazz, although that's nothing compared to the double life her cousin Clara has. Her friend Lorraine is jealous of both parts of Gloria's life however and as Gloria gets pulled deeper and deeper into the seductive, seedy side of life Clara tries to help her out but Lorraine is only interested in helping herself.

The Good: I really liked Clara's chapters and wish that she had been the "main" character of the story instead of Gloria (all three of the girls are lead characters but it's clear that Gloria's actions are the ones that shape the other two girls lives, hence why she's the main character). I really hope she turns up in the next book since not only did she feel more realistic than the other two but she was more interesting, how many stories do we see that happened entirely after the character has made their life-altering, dumb, choice? It was both unusual and gave her some extra depth that the other two girls didn't have.

The Bad: Lorraine is an unreliable narrator and you know what? I just don't like unreliable narrators as much, it's just not a style I like as much so of course I'm not going to enjoy her part of the story as much. Even taking into account that an unreliable narrator will see themselves much differently from the way the other characters do, she was so different by the end of the book for no reason except for festering jealousy that I tried to read though her chapters as fast as possible. I hope she doesn't appear as much in the next book (although I doubt it since she's such a good tool to move the plot around) but what bothered me more was how this book ended. It felt as if the author was planning on writing a stand alone novel and then got a book deal for a series so they had to hastily rework the ending. Of course that's probably not what happened at all and I suppose they were going for "realism" by not having a happy ending (or at least, not giving the characters a happy ending yet) but I did feel like I got cheated out of a nice ending when I was done with the book.

So, was the wait worth it? Ehhhhh, it wasn't a terrible read but I do wish it had been, different. I'll still read the other two books (I'm determined to get them both read and reviewed before January 1st) but now I don't feel so bad about taking so long to get there.
Oh, and by popular request (you know who you are~) I give this book 2.5 or 3 stars out of 5, depending on your tolerance for unreliable narrators and how dull you find Gloria's story to be.