Saturday, July 6, 2013

Review + Interview: The Year of the Great Seventh by Teresa Orts

Published: July 6th, 2013 (first published March 23rd by Drayton Press)
Pages: 295
Rating: 2/5 (DNF)
Sophie has always felt out of step-an outsider, even amongst friends in her high school with all the hype about celebrity culture. Her life in L.A. seems to have been already written for her, but when her junior year starts, it all takes a drastic turn. When she crosses paths with the school's heartthrob, Nate Werner, they fall for each other in a way neither can understand. What they don't know is that by giving in to their desires, they are unlocking an ancient Egyptian prophecy that threatens to return Earth to the dark ages. To undo the curse, Nate and Sophie embark on an adventure that takes them across the country. But their quest is not only to save the world as they know it. It is also a fight for their very survival. Behind the scenes, there are those that are counting on them to fail. [Description from Amazon] 
This book was full of surprises. Usually when I say something like that I mean it in a good way. Not this time.
I really truly wanted to like TYotGS. I didn’t have too many expectations for it, mainly because I knew little about it before I read it. I knew enough to think that I might like it. But apparently I was wrong in that aspect. I got to page 120 (40% of the way done) and had to stop. I really just couldn’t read any more.
The surprising thing is, most of the reviews this book got on Goodreads were positive. Three, four, five star reviews. What am I missing here? Is there something wrong with me?! Unless the writing style and the characters changed drastically between page 120 and 295, I have no doubt in my mind that I would still have disliked the book just as much as I do now. That’s just the sad truth, folks.
Ok now, moving on. Why did I not like TYotGS? Well, it starts out so typically that I nearly slammed the book shut upon reading the first chapter. Girl likes popular guy. Guy doesn’t notice girl. Standard high school drama ensues (parties, drugs, jealous popular girls, etc). For one thing (and this is in reference to many other YA books, not just this one), is it really that “normal” for a girl to actually start dating the guy she’s been crushing on for who knows how long? This doesn’t happen in real life, guys. That said, why is this tactic used in sooo many YA books?! It’s highly irrelevant to real life situations, yet it’s used in about 80% of YA books. I know we can let our imaginations soar and whatnot when it comes to fiction, but at least try and keep it somewhat relatable, alrighty?
Whew. Sorry, got a little emotional right there. Anyway, I found the story slow getting started and the plot tiring and pathetic. Oh, and typical. Have I mentioned that yet? Also, the MC, Sophie, kind of annoyed me. She seemed somewhat stupid and senseless and just…too Hollywood-ized. Too glamorous. Too blonde (to use a stereotype I don’t wholeheartedly approve of). I totally didn’t understand her attraction to Nate. He’s a hothead who, when angered, destroys things. And people. I understand that it’s not his fault that he’s the way he is, because he inherited it or something from his grandfather, but I still fail to see what’s so attractive about him. Oh right. His perfect face. Sophie mentioned it like, a dozen stinkin’ times. He’s such an angel. *rolls eyes*
I guess it just wasn’t for me. Apparently the novel’s not inherently awful because it seems like everyone else who’s read it has liked it. I wish I did, but I just can’t.  Too typical, too boring for my taste. To end a negative review with a bad joke, The Year of the Great Seventh just wasn’t all that great.
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Language: None (as far as I read)
Violence: Mild
Sexual: Mild (as far as I read)
Interview with author Teresa Orts:
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in a small town in the outskirts of Valencia, Spain, but I’ve been living in New York and London for the last 12 years.
What inspired you to write The Year of the Great Seventh?
I started writing it by pure chance. One night I started typing a short story. The characters felt so real in my mind that I felt the urge to discover what was going to happen to them.
Describe your main character, Sophie, in five words.
History geek, strong willed teen.
What kind of research did you have to do pre-writing? What's the coolest fact you discovered?
Before I wrote anything about Ancient Egypt, I decided to read all I could find about it on the internet, but the most amazing part came when I walked into the Met in NYC and the story just fell into place among the exhibits of their Ancient Egypt section. I truly enjoyed the research part. Part of the prophecy is based on real Ancient Egypt facts, but some of them are pure fiction. I tried stick to real facts as much as I possible.  The coolest fact was when I discovered syenite stone and what it was used for.
What's the one piece of advice you'd give to aspiring authors?
I think the best advice I can give is: do what you love, enjoy the journey, and don’t obsess too much about the endgame. That way, no matter what happens, you got some pleasure out of it. Publishing a novel sounds fantastic, but the true joy comes from writing each page.
What are you currently working on? A sequel, maybe? *wink*
Yes, there will be a sequel of the Year of the Great Seventh. I’m aiming to publish about mid-2014.

Connect with Teresa:

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