Sara’s Review of Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell
I’d like to thank the folks at Flux and Lisa Maxwell for letting me participate in the blog tour for Sweet Unrest! For a list of all the blog involved, please click HERE. I’d also like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy of the book for an honest review, murr! =^.^=
This was a fun read, murr! Maxwell has done a fantastic job bringing New Orleans and its culture to life, both in its past and present day. I always enjoy a good New Orleans book that involves a bit of Voodoo, and this was definitely a good New Orleans book! With enjoyable characters, a sweet yet tragic romance, a bit of mystery, and just a dash of Southern Charm, this is one book that you’ll definitely want to check out. =^.^=
Nothing hooks my reading interest faster than a story that has elements of the occult in it. I greatly enjoy reading about Voodoo, Wicca, and various other mystical religions. So when it came to the character Mama Legba and her teaching/explaining things to Lucy, I found myself begging for more scenes with her in them. No question, she was my favorite character in the entire story. Maxwell definitely got the Louisiana accent down for her, which made picturing her in my head really easy. Likewise with Thisbe, though I actually didn’t like her, and for good reason. I’m not saying that the rest of the characters in the story didn’t have a lot going for them, but Mama Legba really stood out for me. You can tell that Maxwell did a lot of research prior to creating this character.
As for the other characters in the book, Lucy struck me as a typical teenager. She’s not pleased with the prospect of moving, she’s skeptical about the occult but at the same time open-minded enough to accept the possibility that what she’s experiencing is more than just her imagination, she’s also smart, determined, and quick to want to protect those she cares about. Alex was a strange character only because it took me a while to figure out his personality. He’s initially rather standoffish, but once Lucy starts to interact with him more, he turns out to be quite the gentleman. By the end of the book I felt sorry for the two of them because they really got a raw deal when it came to their relationship. Chloe and Piers were also great characters. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of them in the story to be honest, especially Piers, he definitely needed to be utilized more. Then there’s Armentine. Never did I feel for a character more than I did her. Being of mixed blood in the South during the nineteenth century wasn’t easy and I can’t say that I blame her for her doubts and fears, nor do I blame her for the actions she took which lead to the events later with Lucy. Her heart was in the right place, even if her choices weren’t the wisest. And since I already mentioned that I didn’t like Thisbe, I don’t think I really need to go into any further explanation where her character is concerned.
While it’s true that some of the plot is predictable, there’s still enough mystery to leave you wondering what’s going to happen in the end. I thought I had figured out how everyone was related, but was surprised when Maxwell went just slightly off the path I was heading down. It didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the story at all though. Maxwell’s prose is strong and paints a beautiful picture of New Orleans and its people, which more than makes up for any predictableness in my opinion. Sometimes it’s rather nice to see the story come together just as you knew it would…it allows more time to get lost in the atmosphere of the story itself rather than the plot.
The only element that I really had a problem with in the story, and it was mild when you get right down to it, was the jumping from Lucy’s present day to Armentine’s past. There were a couple of moments where I wasn’t sure when events were happening with regards to the past (Armentine’s memories weren’t always linear). I tend to function better with a linear timeline of events, but given that Lucy herself was a tad confused, I didn’t feel so bad when I got lost. And like I said, this was a mild issue which doesn’t really detract from the story itself. I only mention it because I found myself going back a few pages to make sure I read things correctly and hadn’t missed something.
And yeah, I will admit, I would have loved to have gotten more details about old New Orleans, present day New Orleans, and even more immersion into the culture and people, but given that this wasn’t a historical YA story, I can’t fault Maxwell for not going down that road with her writing. What was there still made me long to go see the city for myself one day.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy paranormal YA. I don’t know if Maxwell intends to write more books set in this world and with these characters (the ending leaves some room for a possible spin-off/second book, which makes me think this is not the last we may see more), but if she does, I definitely intend to read it, murr!
About the Author:
Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest (Flux, Fall 2014) and Heartless Things (Simon Pulse, Spring 2016). She has a PhD in English, and when she’s not writing books, she’s a professor at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.
Lisa is offering up some wonderful prizes to a few lucky winners during her month long tour. For a chance to be entered into the giveaway to win one of eight copies of Sweet Unrest, a Voodoo Doll key chain, $25 Gift Card, or other prizes, simply click on the Rafflecopter link below.