Sunday, July 16, 2023

Review - Not If I Save You First [AUDIO]

Not If I Save You First

by Ally Carter
Date: 2018
Publisher: Scholastic
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Length: 6 hours 55 minutes
Format: audio book [unabridged]
Source: library

Bestselling author Ally Carter returns with an exciting stand-alone novel, about a girl stranded in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness with the boy who wronged her . . . as an assassin moves in.

Maddie and Logan were torn apart by a kidnapping attempt when they were young. They were only kids -- Logan's dad was POTUS and Maddie's father was the Secret Service agent meant to guard him. The kidnappers were stopped -- but Maddie was whisked off to Alaska with her father, for safety. Maddie and Logan had been inseparable . . . but then she never heard from him again.

Now it's a few years later. Maddie's a teenager, used to living a solitary life with her father. It's quiet -- until Logan is sent to join them. After all this time without word, Maddie has nothing to say to him -- until their outpost is attacked, and Logan is taken. They won't be out of the woods until they're . . . out of the woods, and Maddie's managed to thwart the foes and reconcile with Logan.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I don't know why I do these things to myself...

It's been a while since I read a novel, but I didn't really feel like reading a novel, so I thought I'd find an audiobook instead. But... have you seen the length of some of those things? Fourteen hours just seems kind of intimidating. So when I found Not If I Save You First, which clocks in at just under seven hours, I thought I'd found a quick, fun read.


I don't know if it was just the narrator or if I would've felt the same way if I'd been reading the print version, but I could not stand Maddie. It's like she was supposed to be a statement against the "not like other girls" trope, but it went so far that the girl was insufferable. When you've just been kidnapped by Russians in the Alaskan wilderness, the last thing you should be thinking about is your hair. And even if the whole carefree valley-girl thing that she lapsed into whenever things got serious was some sort of defence mechanism, it was extremely annoying. I was honestly rooting for her to get pushed off a cliff by the end of the book.

Aside from the far-fetched story, this book has some other problems. In Chapter 14, there's suddenly all this weird, sexist talk that seems to come out of nowhere. It makes the book seem like it was written in the past. And yet, the male MC almost comes across as emasculated thanks to the insistence on Maddie solving all their problems (with a metaphorical flip of the hair and a cheeky, "Whatever!"). This particular book also doesn't lend itself very well to the audiobook format. It was fine when there was just one Russian. He had an accent, so it was easy to tell when he was talking. But then there were suddenly two Russians, and I had to back up a few times to try to figure out who was saying what because there weren't always dialogue tags to indicate it.

One of the biggest annoyances, though, was the author's insistence on continually using the characters' names... even when they were alone in a scene or when Maddie and Logan were by themselves. "She" and "he" would've been more than sufficient and a lot less distracting.

That was part of the problem. This book just didn't hold my interest, and I got distracted a lot. I couldn't tell you some of the finer plot points because I kind of zoned out, and there was even a bit near the end where I forgot where Logan was. By that point, though, I had so little investment in the story that I didn't bother to go back and re-listen. I just wanted to be done.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 1/5
Pace: 2/5
Performance: 2/5
Originality: 2/5
Enjoyment: 0/5

Overall: 1.5 out of 5

No comments:

Post a Comment