“The Line” is heavily, poorly drawn

thelineThe Line by J.D. Horn
47North (Amazon Publishing), 25th November 2013 (Urban Fantasy / New Adult?)

My rating: The plane was delayed, the luggage lost, and the museums closed

In this book, a young woman from a magical family without any powers discovers her own potential for magic and learns the secrets her family has been keeping from her for her entire life.

Overall, nothing about this book felt true. The relationships seemed stiff and unlikely. The world building was weak and forced. The plot, transparent and unrealistic.

The characters were pretty two-dimensional and often acted just to move the plot forward (or sideways in some cases). Mercy was clearly more special than everyone around her guessed, knew, or was telling. From the beginning, it was clear that Mercy was a Chosen One. Yet, she kept being duped by everyone around her, and I felt that her simplicity and trusting nature were really a means to surprise the readers with the denouement. The relationship between Mercy and her twin sister was simplified in some ways. The jealousy and dislike was realistic, but the way the relationship ended seemed simplified and forced.

Other relationships also fell flat – Mercy kept saying that Peter was her best friend, someone she would always choose to have around her, but there was no real support for her affection for him. He had very little time on-screen, and no moments between Mercy and Peter convinced me that they were that close. I also disliked the love triangle with Jackson. Yes, Mercy was infatuated with Jackson, but the way she kept letting her infatuation influence her choices was frustrating, when she kept trying not to.

This point brings me to another about genre. Was this book intended as a “New Adult” book? It felt very YA to me, with the love triangle, hormones, and obvious plotting.

The plot was as predictable as they come, except for a couple of twists in the conclusion. The foreshadowing was really much too heavy-handed for me – I prefer books that leave the plot more to the imagination, and which have more suspense in them. Additionally, the plot seemed pretty coincidental. As in, certain things happened just because that’s the direction the author wanted the plot to go, not because it made sense within the framework of the characters, setting, and story.

I never really understood the world building. There’s another dimension, full of demons (an underworld?) that the witches protect our world from – ever since some time in the past, when demons ruled the world and witches were their under-lords. When was that time, how does it fit into our past, and why is our world still our world, if the past was so different from our own? Why does human memory not recall the time of demon rule? What is the meaning of this Line, truly, and how does it divide the worlds so that demons can’t get through? Yet it seems unsuccessful, because there would be no plot to this book without a break in the line.

Ultimately, I didn’t really enjoy this book. The mediocre execution, the predictability and unconvincing story elements, and the transparent, coincidental plotting made it a poor read.

Read-alikes

The blurb for The Line touts its similarities to the Sookie Stachkhouse paranormal romance series. It’s true – they have a similar story, they’re both set in the south, following a young naive, unusually powerful woman… The first several Sookie novels are quite good, and in my opinion, better than The Line.

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1)

Dark Fever has a young Southern belle for a protagonist – only this time, the action takes place in Ireland, as MacKayla Lane searches for her missing sister. The series gets dark, but the protagonist shares some characteristics (namely, naivete) with Mercy Taylor, heroine of The Line. The action also revolves around a barrier between the fae world and the human world.

Darkfever (Fever #1)

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