Saturday, November 24, 2012

Persy -- Aldo's Fantastical Movie Palace by Jonathan Friesen

Chloe's life wasn't bad at all until a tragic accident on the farm leaves her with ugly emotional and physical scars. Her relationship with her father becomes strained, at best, and her mother's old movie theater, named after her great-grandfather, isn't doing well. Her only comfort lies in Grandpa Salvador, who spends his time painting and repainting his trailer.
Then a new boy moves into town, a blind boy named Nick. Neither take a shine to each other, but in time they grow to accept each other into a peculiar partnership. Nick is working on a script, and he finally allows Chloe to help him with the details.
But then it all goes crazy when they fall through the movie screen at Aldo's Movie Palace and find themselves in Nick's script! But it's neither his version nor Chloe's of their fictional land of Retinya, and they soon discover that the land is in dire need of help. But will Chloe be able to keep Nick on her side?
I was pretty excited going into this because the publishers of Replication sent it to me (I felt so special), and the whole story is really easy to fall into. Buuuuut there are so many things that aren't quite right with this poor little fantasy adventure... let's start with the characters.
Chloe started out interesting. She had the whole scarred thing going for her and a cool granda and works at an old movie theater. But let's face it, not only is she rather 2D, the one layer she has is pretty annoying. She will not listen and plunges straight ahead no matter what any of the wiser and more experienced characters say. She's ridiculously stubborn.
And then we come to Nick. You'd think he'd be a main character, but no, not really. He's only in the book for like, five minutes, and does absolutely nothing. Starts out mean and annoying, disappears for the middle of the book, and then comes back with...well, he's certainly not the same Nick. But there's a difference between character growth and character inconsistency.
Scout and Nob are okay. Quite flat, like everyone else, but certainly more interesting (and intelligent) than the others. Grandpa Salvador is easily the best, but, naturally, he doesn't get to do much at all. And then the villain...hardly exists. There's just not much going on there. His only purpose is so that there is a villain somewhere in the story to keep things going.
The world of Retinya is actually pretty cool. We just don't get to spend much time there or see many sights. The majority of our time is spent getting through the adventure as fast as we can, an adventure that makes less sense the more you think about it.
I mean, they make it work. But oftentimes it's hard to tell how the characters got where they are and why they're doing whatever they're doing.
But let me also say that the memory scenes were pretty cool. If you read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about.
To summarize, it's not a bad book, but it's far from good. It's just kind of...a book. A quick and easy read, though, so you probably won't feel like you've wasted a bunch of time reading it. But I can think of better quick-and-easy reads.
You might like this if you: want a quick-and-easy fantasy read; enjoy fantasy stories with modern characters in strange worlds; don't care so much about character depth but like creative fantasy worlds; or if you have a horrific scar and a blind friend and wonder what adventures are in store for you.

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