May 30, 2013

Book Review: Scrap - Emory Sharplin

Title: Scrap (The Grimmic Chronicles #1)
Author: Emory Sharplin
Release Date: May 17th 2013
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group
Source: eARC from NetGalley
On the brutal streets of Hellip, a village in the vast empire of the cruel King Ibis, you either become good at running from the king’s Blackcoats or you die. This is the lesson that twelve-year-old Tucker Scrap, abandoned as an infant among the orphans of Hellip, learned early. Along with her friends Ash and Kally, Tucker spends her time keeping one step ahead of the unjust laws, stealing what she needs to survive, and pondering her own unknown origins—and those of the enchanted bracelet with which she was found.
Now, both Ash and Kally have vanished from the orphanage, perhaps headed for the faraway city where Ibis still rules. When a mysterious girl named Vivian arrives in Hellip with a strange invitation to Tucker, the leader of the orphans decides that this may be her opportunity to find her missing friends. But more than this: it may become an opportunity to recover her hidden inheritance, and to change the fate of an entire kingdom.
The introduction to a fantasy world rich with ancient magic, enigmatic gypsies, palace labyrinths, and deep woods haunted by strange and forbidding creatures, Emory Sharplin’s debut novel tells the story of Tucker Scrap: a bold, memorable heroine at the center of a centuries-old mystery, stepping into her destiny at last.
Set in a harsh and gruesome world filled with magic and where danger lurked in every corner, Scrap is the story of Tucker Scrap, a rough, resilient, trouble-making orphan girl from Hellip who works in a bakery and steals whatever she can to support herself and the other orphan kids. But when her two dearest friends disappear and an old friend makes herself known, Tucker decides that it's time to go on her own adventure.

First things first, you should know that this book was very slow to start; I almost gave up after the first fifty pages but I chose to keep at it because of the beautiful prose. I'm glad I did because things got interesting and although there were still a few draggy parts here and there, I just breezed through the pages.

Another problem I had with Scrap was the lack of conflict. I don't think Tucker had any other major problem aside from dealing with King Ibis' cruelty and the kingdom that had resulted from it, or maybe that's because the author left a huge number of possibilities unturned. Tucker's road to fulfilling her mission was less bumpy than I'd expected it to be, lowering the stakes and the complexity—which is sad because the story had a lot of potential to be as expansive as, say, George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. How I would have loved to see that.

I think what I enjoyed the most in this book were the plentiful characters. Each of them, even Tucker herself, was worthy of being doubted. But even with the doubts, they still provided a good number of laughs—well, Colt and Napier did, at least. Colt, a young duke, and Napier, a thieving gypsy, were from the opposite ends of society, but when Colt saved Napier from getting his arm chopped off by a Blackcoat, a friendship bloomed. I had a lot of fun seeing the dynamic between them.

Tucker stretched out the stiffness in her limbs before nudging the boys awake. "Come on, it's time to move out."
Napier rolled over. "Sorry, I'm not here."
"Me neither." Colt draped an arm over his face and blocked out the light. "Try again later."
At first, I got confused as to whether this was historical fantasy or high fantasy, and the main reasons for that were 1) the use of expressions like "Speak of the devil", and 2) the huge similarity between the court hierarchy (Is that what it's called?) in this book and during the Victorian era, which alludes to the lack of world-building. And as if I didn't already have enough complaints, the ending only gave me two things: zero resolution—when I say zero, as in 'Did she even get that arrow out of her leg?!'—and a mothereffing shocker that left me irritatedly worrying about my ships and utterly desperate for the next book!

MY FAVORITE PART was the mothereffing shocker I've mentioned above. I was in class when I got to that part, you see, but I still couldn't stop myself from flailing around in my seat. The flailing may have been due to the murderous intent that the last few lines of the book gave me.


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