I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Neptune's Tears by Susan Waggoner
Series: Timedance #1
Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers on June 25th 2013
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London, 2218 A.D. Seventeen-year-old Zee is an intern empath. She’s focused on her job, poised for a great career—until one day an attractive patient undoes her hard-earned calm. As an empath, she cannot afford such distractions, but neither can she stay away from David, even when she discovers he’s one of a mysterious alien race. As London comes under attack by anarchist bombings, and as Zee struggles to get a handle on her unusually strong psychic abilities, David starts pulling away. Although Zee’s sure he’s attracted to her, David has secrets he cannot share. But it’s too late for Zee. She’s losing her heart to the gray-eyed alien boy, and she’s determined to follow him—no matter how far it may take her.
This is going to be one of those rare times where my rating isn’t very indicative of my personal feelings of the quality of a novel. (Savor this moment because I don’t see it happening too often.) Here’s the thing about Neptune’s Tears: if you are a veteran Sci-Fi reader, chances are it will be lacking in complexity for you. However, if you are a noob to the genre or a younger reader or a reluctant reader, this novel may be perfect for you. Unfortunately, I don’t fall in the latter category and I don’t think I’m a part of the target audience for this book, but I can still see a lot of redeemable qualities for Neptune’s Tears.
– The writing isn’t bad at all. Even though I mentioned I think this book would be great for younger readers, I didn’t ever feel like Waggoner was talking down to the reader. This was especially evident with the science she used to set her world up and the descriptions. The world is described in a clear manner without info-dumping on the reader.
–Neptune’s Tears features a diverse group of characters. One thing I really love is when a book has other nationalities or cultures present. So many times in YA lit it’s the usual all white cast with the occasional token character. But this book takes place in London and has a variety of nationalities present. In fact, the main character even travels to Indonesia later in the book. It’s apparent that Waggoner wanted her book to be more of an accurate representation of the world in the future, and the best way to do that was to actually include the rest of the world.
– The plot moved along swiftly and the twist wasn’t predictable. Looking back at my reading experience, I’m a little surprised that I didn’t see the plot twist. There were a few times when I wanted to DNF Neptune’s Tears, but I was very interested in seeing what David’s big secret was, so that kept me reading until the end.
What didn’t work out for me:
– The pacing was entirely too fast. There were times when I long stretches of time had passed by, but I didn’t realize it because the story moved at such a rapid pace. This caused the most issues with the romance. One minute Zee and David are meeting and the next they are falling in love. At first, I thought it was insta-love and I HATE insta-love 99% of the time, but then I realized a few months had gone by later. I felt like the book could have used better transitioning and been smoothed out more in that department. Also because the pacing was so fast, there were pages where it should have been interesting but weren’t because the scene felt like it was stuck on a weird Fast Forward type setting. It was like I was skim reading a book without skimming. That, in turn, led to boredom.
– The world building wasn’t very complex. This is a personal preference, but in order for me to be fully sucked into a world, I need a lot more details. Neptune’s Tears gives the reader the basics, but I don’t feel it fully tapped into its potential. I would have liked more info on what it meant for Zee to be an Empath. How did this skill emerge in the future world? (Speaking of the future world, I would have like more info on that in general.) If falling in love was so discouraged if a person was an Empath because it negatively affected their job, why was Zee and David’s relationship seemingly the exception? There was so much that was left unsaid and the author generally stuck to things that only pertained to Zee. And that would probably be fine for some readers, but I require a little more.
– I couldn’t relate to the characters. I’m not sure what it was, but these characters did nothing for me. I think this might go hand in hand with things not being as fleshed out as I usually prefer, the characters included. Everything was strictly on a need to know basis as it pertained directly to the story and plot with very little wiggle room. I never really felt I got a good sense on who Zee was as a person. What were her likes besides her job and David? What did she like to do for fun? For me, there was no real substance. There were simply these characters and they live in this world and, oh hey, here is the plot. Bam, wham, thank you, Sam.
The bottom line? I really believe this novel could have used an extra 100-150 more pages and if things had been more detailed, I could have really loved this one. That being said, I do think Neptune’s Tears would be perfect for reluctant readers. It’s short, has a decent plot and not overly complex.
ARC was provided by the publisher. Thank you!