A review for Friday :)
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Eagle Elite #1
Release date: 9th of July 2013
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Romance, Contemporary, YA
Published by: Forever
Pages: 222 pages in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle
For Tracey Rooks, life with her grandparents on a Wyoming farm has always been simple. But after her grandmother's death, Tracey is all her grandfather has. So when Eagle Elite University announces its annual scholarship lottery, Tracey jumps at the opportunity to secure their future and enters. She isn't expecting much-but then she wins. And life as she knows it will never be same . . .
The students at Eagle Elite are unlike any she's ever met . . . and they refuse to make things easy for her. There's Nixon, gorgeous, irresistible, and leader of a group that everyone fears: The Elect. Their rules are simple. 1. Do not touch The Elect. 2. Do not look at The Elect. 3. Do not speak to The Elect. No matter how hard she tries to stay away, The Elect are always around her and it isn't long until she finds out the reason why they keep their friends close and their enemies even closer. She just didn't realize she was the enemy -- until it was too late.
I took up this book solely for the reason that it sounded so incredibly similar to one of my favorite manga Hana Yori Dango. And as big of a guilty pleasure with a soap opera-ish ridiculous plot it is (but it still all GOOD), the same can be said for the Elite series’ first book. And the similarities don’t end there. BUT, luckily, it this book ended up being more different that I feared.
Let’s count down some of the good and bad:
I enjoyed the beginning, maybe because it resembled HYD the most in that part, but I was gripped reading about this simple country girl butting heads with the rich, powerful and beautiful and even win several battles. Also, entering this new elite world, with crazy rules, regulations and being completely over the top, was exciting! I loved the first part. Unfortunately, I totally lost my grip on the book by the second half where all those revelations were being thrown at me. Not because I didn’t understand or follow anymore, but because it was just somehow “wrong” or unbelievable or out of place or … I don’t even know an appropriate word for this. I didn’t overly appreciate the turn the book took, but I was still on the edge of my seat, so the second part wasn’t all bad.
I thought Trace was potentially a great heroine once she gets a solid footing in the new and completely forging environment and starts kicking butts. Which she also did a couple of times (and, oh, how I cheered), but somehow her spark just faded and she became your typical complaining precious package to protect and hold dear.
The guys: I can’t really whine much, because while Nixon, a complete unredeemable douche one moment, managed to be so incredibly swoony, sweet and considerate in the next. I didn’t, however, like his too hot and eternal love for Trace, it was at times too overwhelming. Chase was an essentially good guy that will not get the girl of course. The other two guys in the quartet all had their roles to play and purpose, so as I said, the guys were enjoyable.
I didn’t like the love triangle in HYD and I naturally didn’t like it in this book. Enough said.
The story was simply gripping, fast-paced and addicting. I can see why so many people love it and I myself will come back for seconds, but I still can’t pretend like it doesn’t have the faults it does, and it has a lot honestly saying.
Trace – I’m still hoping she fulfills my dreams and becomes a kickass, but with so much testosterone surrounding her, I’m afraid she will remain an opinionated delicate flower. If only she could become the magnificent “weed” that was Tsukushi from HYD. I’m not giving up hope! I believe in you Trace!
Nixon – I found him very intriguing and a potentially brilliant hero. He’s full of contradictions, but in a good way.
I think this book is a hit or miss, those that love it really adore it and those who find it ridiculous find it such as a whole. I liked it, it’s perfect guilty pleasure material, but then again I can’t overlook the aspects that make me iffy and I find lacking. So, find this out for yourself to which category you belong to.
P.S. Read Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers). It’s a one of the greatest Shoujo manga out there (not to mention one of the longest – 36 volumes!), with TV adaptions made by Japan, South Korea, etc (the Japanese version is my nr 1 though along with the Japanese full feature film).