As part of Hype or Like Friday, this week’s topics was about a Tragically Bad or Superbly Good book. Since I opted to do a post on The Best Lines of Dialogue from The Hidden Oracle last week, I figured. this time, I would go in the opposite direction and pick a book I found was tragically bad:
First off, I saw that cover and I was immediately interested in the book, and the synopsis only made me want it even more:
When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification. And she really can’t imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe. But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world. From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.
As the ultimate mythology nerd, giving me a book with this premise guarantees I will not only read it, but also be more lenient with it than I would be with other books because my love for Egyptian mythology is that great.
Except it was absolute crap. First off Liliana is one of the single most arrogant/snobbish and hypocritical protagonists that I’ve ever come across with lines such as:
Even though I was very picky, wore only designer clothes, and had a monthly allowance bigger than what most people my age earned in a year, I was by no means a snob.
Liliana a snob? Now, why would anyone ever think such a thing?
Now, I don’t mind arrogant protagonists, I really don’t, not when their arrogance just slaps them across the face a couple times during the book and they realise they’re not, in fact, the centre of the universe. Does this happen in Reawakened? No, no it definitely does not. In fact, Liliana is portrayed as this magical and perfect protagonist who can do no wrong, you know the type of girl, the one who’s ‘‘‘not like the others’’’.
If I were like the other girls at my school.
Fucking spare me.
And then there’s Amon. I don’t know why I thought that maybe, just maybe, he might be better, I guess I was naively optimistic. I shouldn’t have been because he turned out to be the single most exoticised foreign character I’ve come across by:
- speaking weirdly (if you’re going to portray an accent through syntactic means, do it correctly by researching the original language, otherwise just don’t bother)
- almost immediately conforming to modern society’s standards of beauty because we can’t have our YA Male Protagonist™ go around with a bald head for too long
- falling head over fucking heels for Perfect Liliana Young™ and telling her how special she is compared to other, ordinary, women.
Did you think I was joking with that last one? Because I was definitely not:
A desert lily need not turn jealous eyes toward the common violet.
I gagged when I read that, I really did.
You’d think they deserve each other, both being incredibly annoying and offensive characters, but no. They couldn’t just fall in love through insta-love or anything like that, Houck had to go the Stockholm Syndrom way with this one. Yes you read that right, the romance is actually Liliana having Stockholm Syndrom, which she even brings up herself in the book:
Was he really the most attractive guy I’d ever seen, or was he just manipulating me into believing that he was?
‘Calm down, Brigitte, Calm. Down. The computer did nothing to you’, I tell myself while writing this.
At this point, it hurts to even think of Reawakened, but that is not all! No! To top it all off, Houck also distorted a number of Egyptian myths, meshed together completely different periods of Egyptian history, and couldn’t even keep track of the alternate history timeline (or whatever) she’d created within her own book! A+ writing right here, people! If you want to know more about this, I suggest you all check out Thibaut Nicodème’s chapter by chapter analysis of Reawakened, where he points out all the historical and mythological mistakes (he did it for humanity and I am in awe of him).
I’m going to end this here because I’ve caused myself enough pain for a day by remembering this book.
Have you read Reawakened? What’s a tragically bad book you had the misfortune of reading?